Leicestershire Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Doctoral Training Programme

About the programme

This programme is based on challenging health inequalities in our vibrant multicultural region. 

It has two clear ambitions: 

  1. To tackle inequalities in healthcare provision;
  2. To address inequalities in academic opportunities for our Health Care Professionals.

Our vision is to create a vibrant, supportive, interdisciplinary and flexible training programme to attract underrepresented healthcare professionals and to become a beacon site for nurse, midwife and allied health professional led research nationally and internationally. 

Our community

Leicestershire’s social and demographic features, including the highest proportion of non-white residents (55%), in the UK, provides a genuine and exciting opportunity to address major health disparities across an ethnically and culturally diverse population. 

COVID-19 has shone a light on inequalities and highlighted the urgent need to strengthen action to prevent and manage ill health in ethnic minority communities. Evidence suggests that existing socio-economic inequalities, unequal access to healthcare services, lifestyle factors, and co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes play a key role. 

The grant

Funding provided by the PhD Programme for Healthcare Professionals (HCP’s) will cover three years’ salary for each Fellow, as well as experimental research costs and training, delivered in partnership with the University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester City Council’s Public Health team, and Leicester City CCG.

The Fellows will also benefit from well-established partnerships across the regional and national healthcare system, local government, industry and community groups in addition to the expertise at Leicester with the aim of developing a generation of innovative world-leading researchers in under-represented groups of health care professionals addressing important areas of health inequalities.

Our department

LHIIP sits within a rich local and national research and clinical infrastructure, including our NIHR BRC, the East Midlands ARC, a BHF Accelerator award, NIHR HPRU in Environmental Exposures and Health, primary care, public health, NCSEM, the CBMEH and industry partners. We are at the heart of national translational activity, having led the formation of three NIHR Translational Research Collaborations in cardiovascular, diet, activity and rehabilitation and respiratory. LHIIP fellows will have the opportunity to conduct studies and present their data at these national initiatives in experimental medicine. 

LHIIP is hosted by the College of Life Sciences, where world-leading impactful research covering the breadth of biological sciences through to clinical specialities and health sciences is undertaken. Research awards and outcomes are thriving due to our ambitious, interdisciplinary approach; underpinned by continued investment in facilities and infrastructure, building exciting research programmes that make a real difference nationally and internationally and engaging with the ethnically diverse surroundings that make Leicester so special. The £42M George Davies Centre for Medicine accommodates The School of Healthcare, responsible for training and education in Midwifery, Nursing, Operating Department Practice and Physiotherapy.

Two students laughing outside the George Davies Centre on Leicester campusWhy undertake your DTP with us?

Wellbeing and research culture

The University of Leicester is committed to the safeguarding of the wellbeing of their research students. During your postgraduate studies with us, you will have access to a wealth of resources, both internal to the university and external, to support you. 

A wrap-around service for mental health and wellbeing provision is supplied by the Students’ Union and 24-hour counselling and support services. All fellows will be allocated a staff mentor not involved in their supervision and a more experienced (student/ECR) mentor.

Building a research community

You will actively contribute to the development of your community. Our department, along with Doctoral College support, will encourage strong peer cohorts both within and across different intakes, DTPs and institutions. 

An integrated induction programme will facilitate your early integration into a strong and engaged cohort across all sites with shared experiences. Poster sessions with cohorts from previous years will expose you to the range of active research at both universities. The Speed PhD, during which you will aim to conduct and write-up a group mini research project within 3-days, will help you build bonds with your fellow researchers and expose you to new skills and different areas of research, giving you the opportunity to expand your horizons and bolster your CV. 

Social networking and training events, including facilitated networking, team exercises, monthly journal clubs, PhD-fellow conferences, annual away days and residential programmes will be organised with the aim of providing you with an enriched and lively PhD experience.

A designated physical space located in the George Davies Centre, along with the PGR library space, will support collaborative working alongside existing DTP cohorts. The ‘Graduate House’ home at Loughborough University provides social and workspace for PhD students. Joint academic clinical excellence meetings and shared mentoring, already used by the BRC, will further support PhD-fellows to interact between the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. These provide an opportunity for constructive engagement with project design, including ethics, funding applications and presentation practice.

Building your future

The LHIIP will integrate with programmes in the East Midlands, including the NIHR BRC and ARC, supporting healthcare professionals wishing to develop as clinical academics. For medically qualified clinicians, the programme will also align with the University’s NIHR Integrated Academic Training Programme supported by the HEE East Midlands Postgraduate Specialty School of Clinical Academic Training. 

For Allied Health Professionals, the programme will align with the equally successful HEE funded Post-Doctoral Bridging Programmes, overseen by the East Midlands Clinical Academics Careers Advisory Group. 

You will be supported by your clinical mentor to identify the best mechanism to maintain your clinical skills. You are permitted to undertake up to 0.2 FTE clinical work to maintain your critical skills - possibly more depending on your speciality.

We will provide tailored and flexible support for your transition back to clinical training or towards a clinical academic career. This will include:

  • Application to our post-PhD development support fund for short-term contracts and support with fellowships, grant development, training courses and travel, to assist you with your transition post-PhD.
  • Support of a LIAS virtual fellowship post PhD to establish academic credentials: refine and maximise outputs and impact, develop fellowship and funding applications, network and organise a research-related event to showcase yourself and your research to the wider academic community.
  • Access to Doctoral College career development, including access to symposia and guidance, advice and mentorship.

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