Home Mental Health & Well-Being White Rose ESRC Doctoral Training Collaborative Award in Sociology/Science and Technology Studies

White Rose ESRC Doctoral Training Collaborative Award in Sociology/Science and Technology Studies

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Title: A sociological analysis of medicines development and the role of patient charities

Supervisors: Professor Andrew Webster, SATSU, Department of Sociology, University of York and Dr Daryl Martin, Department of Sociology, University of York

Collaborating Organisation Supervisor: Jill Gallagher, Clinical Development and Regulatory Manager, Parkinson’s UK

Application: Applicants must first apply for a place on the PhD programme, and then apply for the ESRC DTP studentship separately.


This social science PhD project examines three linked processes central to the development of new patient-centred medicines: (i) the role of patient-centred/led innovation; (ii) the implications this has for pathways to the clinic; and, (iii) the production, marshalling and integration of diverse forms of patient data.

The main patient charities are now playing a major strategic role on all three fronts, helping develop new disease models, trials design and regulatory change through their central participation in pre-competitive consortia. In collaboration with Parkinson’s UK, this project has been co-designed to examine the influence of such consortia and their role in changing the drug development landscape and biomedical innovation pathways.

This will especially include a consideration of the patients’ voice in development and in delivery in the clinic of novel interventions. The student will work closely with members of Parkinson’s UK in the collaboration with York’s Sociology Department. The PhD is linked to related work by the Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU) in the Department which has explored the dynamics of health innovation, standardisation and clinical delivery. The project is grounded in a medical sociology/science and technology studies (STS) approach The collaboration with Parkinson’s UK would provide the student with an excellent opportunity to develop a career within the patient charity sector, academia or more widely in policy-related research.

Funding notes

Depending on experience, this studentship is available as either on a +3 or a 1+3 basis. Please see the WRDTP Studentship FAQs 2017–18 (Q15) for further information on required training for a +3 studentship. Funding will cover:

  • a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14, 553 in 2017–18)
  • research training support costs
  • tuition fees at the UK/EU rate

Full studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the ESRC residency requirements (for further details see the ESRC Funding Guide, page 9 and Annex 1). Students from EU countries who do not meet the ESRC residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Your eligibility for the studentship will be assessed once you submit a formal application.


Essential: BA/BSc in a Social Sciences or Health Sciences degree at 2:1 or above and a Master’s in Social Science, with an excellent project/dissertation mark (completed or expected by October 2017)

Desirable: Strong interest in medical sociology and/or science and technology studies in relation to innovation processes and patient-centred medicine; specific interest in the medical charity sector; broad interest in the pharmaceutical sector.

Other information

This PhD project is part of the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership. By combining the expertise of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, the DTP delivers excellent supervision, first class training and vibrant intellectual environments for postgraduate research students.

Selection process

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview at the University of York in late September.

Informal enquiries can be made to Andrew Webster, SATSU.

Deadline for applications: 08 September 2017

Source: University of York


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