PhD studentship (ref: PhD2019TRAPS)

The Department of Health Sciences, University of York, is inviting applications for a fully funded PhD studentship, available on a full-time basis to start in October 2019. The successful candidate will be part of the University of York Wellcome Trust Transformative Research on Alcohol industry, Policy and Science (TRAPS) research programme

This means joining the TRAPS team of five staff members and four existing PhD students, working with external collaborators and alongside a similarly sized alcohol research programme also led by Professor Jim McCambridge. The aim of the this PhD project is to further understanding of how alcohol industry actors influence science, policy or the use of science in policy within the Transformative Research on Alcohol industry, Policy and Science (TRAPS) research programme. On the basis of our research findings, this work will contribute to strengthening the ability of public health scientists and policy actors to manage alcohol industry influence, and so help preserve the integrity of science and policy. 

Project details

The TRAPS programme is organised in three main inter-related research topic areas; industry engagement with science (evidence production); the science/policy interface including the use of evidence within policy making; and industry involvement in alcohol policy making. There is also an underpinning set of objectives concerned with better understanding the nature of the alcohol industry, including economic interests underlying scientific and political activities, cross-cutting themes and a commitment to research translation. Applications will also be considered for how alcohol industry actors work with actors in other corporate sectors which contribute to rising public health problems such as tobacco and gambling. We would particularly welcome applications from those interested in science and the science/policy interface. Research proposal ideas concerning other topic areas that are relevant to developing understanding of how alcohol industry actors influence science and/or policy in line with the aims of the research programme will also be considered.

The award

The scholarship is open to UK/EU citizens on a full-time basis only. The studentship provides a tax free stipend per annum for UK/EU citizens in line with Wellcome Trust standard rates (£19,919 in year 1, then increasing up to £23,298 in year 3) for 3 years, plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Prospective students from elsewhere may also apply, though would be expected to provide evidence of the ability to fund the difference in tuition fees applicable to UK/EU and international (non-EU) students respectively. See for further information.

Essential requirements

Applicants will normally need to hold, or expect to gain, at least an upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in a relevant social or public health sciences subject.
Applicants are required to submit a short research proposal (max 500 words) outlining their ideas for studies in one or more of the areas above. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Professor Jim McCambridge to discuss proposal ideas before applying (contact details under Informal Enquiries below).

For students whose first language is not English there is a minimum requirement of an IELTS score of at least 6.5 in each component of the test and an overall score of at least 7.

Desirable requirements

A Masters degree in social sciences (e.g. political sociology, STS, sociology, anthropology, social policy, policy analysis, political economy, politics, business/management studies) or in a relevant historical or public health subject, with a strong element of research methodology. Any research experience in a relevant subject gained in formal employment or study in a university environment will be assessed for equivalence to masters level training if there is no masters degree.

Process for application

Applications should be received no later than Monday 15th July 2019 before 16:00h UTC. Applications will not be considered for the studentship after this date. Applications should be made using the Department of Health Sciences on-line application process which can be accessed using the following link.

When completing the electronic form, applicants will need to state that they are applying for the advertised studentship and include ref: PhD2019TRAPS under the ‘How studies will be funded’ section, in order to be considered for the scholarship.

Shortlisting: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and shortlisted applicants will be notified promptly.
Start date: October 2019.


Individuals with the strongest academic record, experience, and research proposal ideas will be shortlisted and invited to interview in late July. Interviews will be conducted face-to-face or via Skype or similar communication tools, if required.

Informal enquiries

For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Jim McCambridge

Department of Health Sciences

The Department of Health Sciences includes over 280 academics, teachers, researchers and support staff engaged in delivering research, professional development, education and training. Our core aim is excellence in research and teaching, while contributing to improving health and healthcare through the application of our research to policy and practice. We are a multidisciplinary department, involving clinicians from a range of health professions including medicine, nursing and midwifery alongside disciplines such as statistics, health economics, health services research, psychology, sociology and epidemiology. In the most recent assessment of research quality in the UK (the 2014 Research Excellence Framework), the Department was ranked equal first nationally for its research environment and all aspects of our research environment was judged to producing research of world-leading quality in terms of vitality and sustainability.
Our research activity is organised around six core themes: mental health and addiction; trials and statistics; public health and society; cancer epidemiology; cardiovascular health; and health services and policy. Within the Mental Health and Addiction Research Group, Professor Jim McCambridge leads research on alcohol policy, and corporate actors and public health. See and

The successful candidate will join a vibrant community of over 200 postgraduate students in our Graduate School, including over 40 PhD students. Our PhD students are embedded in one of our research groups and have the flexibility to tailor their studies to pursue their own research interests, and a bespoke training programme is designed in conjunction with the supervisory team to support the development of essential subject-specific and transferable skills for their future careers.

The University

The University of York is one of the foremost Universities in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of leading UK Universities. It has an outstanding record of research, teaching, and training across a full range of disciplines. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, The University ranked 10th on the impact of our research and 14th overall. The University has a particular strength in health-related research.

The main campus is a 200-acre landscaped park, with colleges and academic buildings within walking distance of each other. Proximity to the historic city of York makes the University a popular choice and provides a pleasant working environment. Transport connections to York are fast and effective.