About the Role
A 4-year, fully funded (UK tuition fees and stipend) project commencing in October 2021. This PhD studentship is delivered as part of the prestigious Industrial Cooperative Awards in Science & Technology (iCASE) EPSRC programme. 

In this project, the student will use routinely collected NHS data from one if the UK’s largest primary care databases (https://orchid.phc.ox.ac.uk/) to study the usage and predictive validity of tumour markers. 

Over-diagnosis (false positives) and under-diagnosis (false negatives) of cancers are sources of significant burden for patients and the NHS (cost and resources). Tumour markers measured from blood are increasingly used but have limited accuracy and predictive validity. The student will develop and validate predictive models for more accurate diagnoses of cancers using routinely collected NHS healthcare data. We will improve the understanding of the predictive value of tumour markers in relation to clinically relevant outcomes – e.g. the need for treatment. In the future, this could improve the usage of NHS resources and patient care. 

Primary care and hospitals are developing large clinical datasets that could become powerful tools to support clinical decisions. This is a rapidly evolving area because the quality and volume of healthcare data is increasing. The University of Surrey with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the tow strategic partners (University of Oxford and STFC) will provide, academic environment, expertise, access to data and innovative approaches that are required for the successful delivery of the project.

This is a collaborative project. The student will be predominately based in the Faculty of Health and Medical Science, University of Surrey with three months a year placement at NPL.

The student will develop skills in:
-Curation and analysis of large routine healthcare databases 
-Predictive modelling
-Novel applications of machine learning to healthcare data

Supervisory team: Dr Agnieszka Lemanska, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, and Dr Nadia Smith, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Teddington, UK.

This is a 4-year project. The start date is flexible with no application deadline; recruitment will continue until a suitable candidate is employed.
About You
Entry requirements
-Applications are assessed on an individual basis, taking into account academic qualifications and relevant experience. Applicants must have a UK first class honours degree, or its international equivalent, in an appropriate subject; or a UK 2:1 honours degree plus a UK Master’s degree, or their international equivalents; or relevant qualifications and experience. 
-Programming skills. Experience of R will be an advantage 
-Strong interest in healthcare and in cancer
-Experience in the analysis of healthcare data and a healthcare background will be an advantage
-Excellent communication and organisational skills
-Ability to work independently and as part of a team
-Previous research publication track record will be an asset 
-English language requirements: IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.5 in each band.

Applications should be submitted through the University of Surrey website: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/health-sciences-phd# apply. Applicants are welcome to contact the primary supervisor Dr Agz Lemanska, a.lemanska@surrey.ac.uk, for informal enquiries before applying for the studentship.

About The Company

NPL and BEIS have strong commitments to diversity and equality of opportunity, and welcome applications from candidates irrespective of their background, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or age, providing they meet the required criteria. Applications from women, disabled and BAME candidates in particular are encouraged. All disabled candidates (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) who satisfy the minimum criteria for the role will be guaranteed an interview under the Disability Confident Scheme.

We’re transforming. As a national laboratory, we’re exploring even more commercial routes to market and that’s presenting us with greater opportunity – for you and us. Our success relies on the diversity and talent of our people, we strive to nurture and respect individuals to ensure everyone feels valued and supported to excel in their chosen field. This value is at the core of our organisation.

We believe in a culture of fairness by treating everyone on the basis of their own individual merits and abilities regardless of their own or perceived identity, background or any other factor irrelevant to a person’s work. At NPL we are committed to the health and well-being of our employees. Flexible working and social activities are embedded in our culture to create a positive work-life balance, along with a broad range of benefitsNPL’s values are at the heart of what we do and they shape the way we interact, develop our people and celebrate success.

As part of our commitment to diversity & inclusion, we signed up to the Institute of Physics' Project Juno in 2015 as a Juno Supporter. NPL were proud to be awarded Juno Practitioner status in 2018. NPL also joined Stonewall as a Diversity champion in 2015, participating in their annual Workplace Equality Index for the equality of LGBT+ community at NPL. In 2018, NPL became a member of the Business Disability Forum and joined the disability confident scheme as level 1 committed employer.

To ensure everyone has an equal chance, we’re always willing to make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process. If you would like to discuss, please contact us.