Postgraduate research

Investigating the association between cardiometabolic health and labour market outcomes using administrative health data sources

Qualification: PhD

Department: Population Health Sciences

Application deadline: 31 May 2024

Start date: 1 October 2024



The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on health and work [1]. The risk of negative long-term labour market and health impacts remain, and there are future risks associated with the millions of people who were furloughed, exited the labour market, or who had reduced access to non-urgent healthcare during the pandemic [1].

To understand the emerging inequalities in health and employment outcomes through recovery from COVID-19 and beyond, we need much more granular, robust data and improved information on personal and household characteristics than can be provided through a single data source or administrative dataset.

This proposed project will aim to bring together electronic health records and data from HMRC  linked at individual level to analyse the relationship between labour market outcomes (employment, in-work earnings progression, and transitions into and out of work) and cardiometabolic health outcomes (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular diseases). The relationship is likely to be bidirectional: the risk of developing cardiometabolic problems is likely to be affected by labour market outcomes, and vice versa. The relationship may also vary  by personal characteristics, such as disability status, ethnicity, sex, and low-level geography.

The overarching aim of the PhD will be achieved by the following objectives:

  • Investigate how do the labour market outcomes (employment, earnings) compare across protected characteristics or for those with cardiometabolic diseases and multiple long-term conditions
  • Examine the geographic analysis of areas with poorer health and employment outcomes, and the relative rebound effect given reductions in labour market activity
  • Undertake a series of statistical analyses investigating the association between labour market outcomes and different morbidity/mortality outcomes, exploring the role of age, sex, ethnicity, and deprivation
  • The role of cardiometabolic disease treatments and management impact on labour market outcomes

The student would jointly work within the Leicester Real World Evidence Unit, University of Leicester, and the Office for National Statistics, with access to several national datasets that both organisations have access to. The project will predominantly aim to utilise linked Office for National Statistics data via the secure ONS Trusted Research Environment (TRE). The project objectives will be addressed using linking and cleaning independent data sources and applying a diversity of statistics analyses, including imputation, time series regression modelling, causal inference methods, and advanced survival modelling.

The project has been designed to add value to existing programmes of research across both organisations which are funded by our industry partners. It also aligns to the aspirations of the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and NIHR Applied Health Collaborations – East Midlands (ARC-EM), consolidating collaboration across the organisations investigating health inequalities. The project will help support the continuation or expansion of this funding in the future.


  1. Johnson P, Joyce R, Platt L (2021). The IFS Deaton Review of Inequalities: a New Year’s message. IFS Deaton Review report.

Please refer to the eligibility criteria below before applying.



This is a partnership studentship and is jointly funded by the University of Leicester and Office for National Statistics.

This 3.5-year PhD studentship provides:

  • UK tuition fee waiver
  • Annual stipend at UKRI rates (currently £19,237 for 2024/25)
  • Some funding for travel and training over the course of the studentship.

Please refer to eligibility criteria.

If you meet the eligibility criteria but don't meet the criteria for UK fees you will be required to pay the difference between UK and overseas fees for the duration of study. For 2024/25 year this will be £18,864 pa.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent.

Relevant subjects include but are not limited to: epidemiology, statistics, bioinformatics, public health or economics.

Experience of statistics/epidemiology and coding is essential (ideally R or Python).

An MSc in a relevant quantitative subject is desirable.

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.

There are nationality requirements for this studentship - see eligibility.

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

For project enquiries please contact Dr Cameron Razieh (

Application enquiries to

How to apply

How to apply

To apply please use the apply button at the bottom of the page and select September 2024 intake.

With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement explaining your interest in the project, your experience and why we should consider you
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable
  • In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available
  • In the funding section please specify PHS Razieh ONS studentship
  • In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisors and project title (a proposal is not required).




Because this studentship will require the successful candidate to access sensitive data within the Office for National Statistics secure analysis environment, security clearance will be required.

The appointed individual will be subject to National Security Vetting at “SC Cleared” level for this post. To allow for meaningful checks to be carried out applicants will normally need to have lived in the UK for the 3 consecutive years immediately prior to applying.

A lack of UK residency in itself is not always a bar to security clearance.

This studentship is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities with settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and family members of those nationalities who have made a valid application for settled or pre-settled status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • individuals with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain who were eligible to apply for EUSS on or before 31 December 2020
  • Turkish nationals, and certain family members of Turkish nationals, who have accrued the right to work in the Civil Service

If you hold EU settled or pre-settled status please email us a share code so we can verify your status (the one we need starts with S) or if you are unsure if you are eligible please email a copy of your passport, immigration status and CV. Email to

If you are in the group above but do not meet the criteria for UK fees you will be required to pay the difference between UK and overseas fees.

Application options

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