We have one three or four-year studentship joint funded by the MRC and the University of Bristol, to allow study of statistical methods in the economic evaluation of health interventions.
Two possible projects, to be supervised by Drs Chris Metcalfe & Will Hollingworth:
 The net benefit regression framework for estimating cost effectiveness in randomised controlled trials.
Incremental net benefit is a measure of cost-effectiveness that can be estimated using standard regression models. Consequently there is the potential to take those statistical methods developed within the regression framework and apply them to cost-effectiveness analysis. For example, it may be possible to obtain an unbiased estimate of cost-effectiveness in those patients who adhere to their allocated treatment, and to obtain accurate standard errors for data collected in cluster randomised trials.
 Optimising the statistical precision of economic evaluations conducted alongside randomised controlled trials.
The sample sizes of randomised controlled trials are almost always based on achieving statistical power for comparisons of clinical outcome rather than comparisons of cost-effectiveness. It is often assumed that randomised controlled trials are severely underpowered on economic outcomes, but there is little empirical evidence to substantiate this. Potential elements of this project include a post hoc examination of statistical power to detect an important difference in cost-effectiveness in published trials, and a prospective study predicting statistical precision in cost-effectiveness estimates based on pilot cost-effectiveness data.
The successful applicant will be based at the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol, and will work within the MRC funded ConDuCT hub for clinical trials methodology research. The four-year studentship allows a year of training in clinical trials research for a student moving from a different area of application.
For more details and the application procedure please see the ConDuCT Ph.D. programme prospectus, available under â€œOther funding opportunitiesâ€� on our postgraduate opportunities web page:
Please get your application to us by Tuesday 6th July to ensure an October 2010 start. Later applications will be considered if the studentship is still available.
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