Research degrees

Advancing understanding on management of multimorbidity in ethnic minority populations and under-representation in associated clinical research

Qualification: PhD

Department: Health Sciences

Application deadline: 14 February 2022 - Interviews week commencing 21 February 2022

Start date: September 2022 at the latest



Project description

Multimorbidity is defined as the coexistence of two or more long-term health conditions and is associated with increased use of health services and a reduction in quality of life and life expectancy. The number of people living with multiple long-term health conditions continues to increase and meeting their needs will be one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS in coming years. Multimorbidity has been identified as a global research priority and as such this is an important and rapidly evolving field of research with the potential for significant impact.  

Despite the high priority of multimorbidity for health and social care researchers, and the well-evidenced greater prevalence of long-term conditions (i.e. diabetes, heart disease etc.) in South Asian and Black populations in the UK, the prevalence, impact and management of multimorbidity in ethnic minority groups is underexplored. Some limited research suggests multimorbidity may be higher in ethnic minority compared to White British groups.

In relation to management, it is not clear if effective interventions are generalisable to ethnic minority groups. Our previous work on representation of ethnic minority populations in cardiovascular outcome trials suggests external validity is likely to be low, and work may be required to increase recruitment and retention to clinical trials.

As such a core part of this doctoral studentship will include a focus on the identification of effective multimorbidity management interventions in ethnic minority populations, and the degree to which their findings are generalisable. This is particularly contemporary as the inequality in chronic conditions between ethnic groups in the UK contributed to the greater risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19 for ethnic minority populations in both waves of the pandemic. 

Additional areas of focus will include scoping major population-level databases to enable the candidate to answer contemporary research questions relating to mulitmorbidity in ethnic minority populations, and developing guidance for increasing ethnic minority representation in multimorbidity research.

This doctoral studentship will utilise a mixed methods approach. The learnings generated from this work could be used to inform the development and tailoring of multimorbidity management strategies for ethnic minority groups, and to develop best practice guidance for the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority populations in multimorbidity research.


The overall aim for the studentship is: To advance understanding on multimorbidity in ethnic minority populations and under-representation of ethnic minorities in associated clinical research. 

The objectives for this studentship are:

1. To systematically review the global evidence base to identify effective interventions to manage multimorbidity in ethnic minority populations, and to determine ethnic minority representation in these trials. To include quantitative studies only, with meta-analyses (e.g. meta-trial sequential analysis) where appropriate.

2. To access and conduct a scoping review of major population databases that include multimorbidity data (e.g. CPRD, UK Biobank, NHANES etc.) to examine representation (including trends in representation) of ethnic minority populations. 

3. To utilise representative pre-existing data (from objective 2) to examine a number of contemporary research question relating to mulitmorbidity in ethnic minority populations e.g. prevalence by ethnic group and associations with mortality.

4. To develop (with HCP’s and patients) best practice guidance for the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority populations into multimorbidity-related clinical research.



This 3-year PhD Studentship provides:

  • UK tuition fee waiver
  • Annual stipend at UKRI rates (£15,609 p.a. for 2021/22). TBC for 2022/23
  • Research Training Support Grant of £1,500 p.a. for 3 years

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • UK Bachelor's degree with at least 2:1 in a relevant subject (e.g. Public Health, Epidemiology, Health Sciences) or overseas equivalent.
  • UK Master’s degree in a relevant subject (e.g. Public Health, Epidemiology, Health Sciences) or overseas equivalent.
  • University of Leicester English language requirements apply (where applicable)

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project enquiries

Application enquiries

How to apply

How to apply

To submit your application, please use the 'Apply' button at the bottom of the page and select September 2022 from the dropdown menu.

Include with your application:

  • CV
  • Degree certificates and transcripts
  • Details of any study currently being undertaken
  • Personal statement
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (if applicable)
  • Enter contact details of two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload reference letters if already obtained
  • Enter the names of the project supervisors and the project title in the Research Proposal section (a research proposal is not required)
  • Specify that you wish to be considered for the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration East Midlands studentship



UK and EU applicants only

*EU students will be Home fees for 2021/2 intake. However, for EU students starting their study on or after 1 August 2022 and do not meet the Home Fees criteria the fees will be at the international rates.

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