Ancillary Care PhD Studentship

PhD Studentship - The Social and Ethical Implications of Data-Prompted Ancillary Care Referral

We invite applications for a 3-year funded PhD studentship, starting September 2019, funded by the Global Health Bioethics Network.

We are seeking a full-time PhD student in social science to undertake this project on the social and ethical implications of data-prompted ancillary care, focusing on southern Africa.

The studentship provides an excellent development opportunity for individuals with strong social science skills who are interested in applying these skills to a study which combines document review and primary data collection.


The provision of ‘ancillary care’ is sometimes proposed as an important way in which global health researchers can meet their ethical responsibilities to the communities in which they conduct their research. The role of ancillary care in research raises ethical issues. The level of provision of medical care for research participants which is not a part of the study, nor required to make a study scientifically valid or address conditions or injuries related to the study, is of concern, particularly where referral to care is not an option, because local or national health services are limited or do not exist for certain conditions. Even where services do exist, the recommendation that ancillary care be provided through the local health care services can place a burden on local health facilities. The study team may be uncertain how to respond to ancillary care needs, particularly where there is no local care available, or care is only available privately and/or in some distant facility. This proposed study will investigate existing practice in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly southern Africa, and the social and ethical implications of the provision of ancillary care and contribute to the development of recommendations for how best care may be provided.

The study will have three components:

  1. Review of the literature

The successful candidate will begin by reviewing the ethics literature on ancillary care.

  1. Review of recent experience

 The successful candidate will then document recent experience from studies where screening associated with a study may have resulted in ancillary care need (for example a study on chronic conditions that screens for high blood pressure or diabetes). This may be the case for recent and on-going H3A projects, for example. Publications, and where accessible, project documents will be reviewed to provide an overview of the experience of screening and provision for ancillary care. The successful candidate will also review the ethics literature and guidelines on ancillary care.

  1. Qualitative research on experiences and perspectives of participants and stakeholders in two southern African countries

The successful candidate will conduct a qualitative component consisting of face to face key informant interviews with different categories of key stakeholders, for example: Department of Health officials and members of regulatory bodies, research teams, health workers in clinics associated with research projects but not necessarily part of the research team, and local community representatives. We will also undertake face to face interviews with selected research participants, chosen at random from those who participated in recent research projects associated with Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) and Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW).

AHRI and MLW will co-host this study.

The successful candidate will be responsible for collecting and analysing data and scientific writing up of the research performed for this project.

The successful candidate will be registered on the MPhil/PhD programme at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and will be supervised by Professor Janet Seeley and Dr Nicola Desmond, a Senior Lecturer at MLW and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. The successful candidate is expected to complete and defend a PhD thesis/ or PhD by publication within 4 years.

Research environment

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is an internationally recognised institute for global health. The School hosts epidemiologists and statisticians across numerous clinical and methodological disciplines, giving students access to a wealth of knowledge and advice.

The project will take place in the Department of Global Development in the Faculty of Public Health and Policy, linked to the Africa Health Research Institute in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, in Blantyre, Malawi. So, not only will the successful candidate be mentored by the supervisory team, but s/he will also gain essential skills through engaging with other social scientists at the School and other researchers in South Africa and Malawi. The successful candidate will be affiliated with the Global Health Bioethics Network, and benefit from the network of researchers in Africa and Asia, as well as Oxford, who make up its membership. The Faculty of Public Health and Policy at LSHTM has a strong track record of internationally recognised research in the social sciences. Thus there is a vast expertise available to the successful candidate to enlist as needed during his/her studentship.


This award covers
- tuition fees; and
- an annual tax-free student stipend*; and
- necessary travel & conference costs, as approved by supervisors,
for three years.
* The value of the stipend will depend on where the award recipient is based and will be confirmed at the time of award (up to a maximum of the UKRI National Minimum Doctoral Stipend rate for periods of study in London).

This 3-year award is only available on a full-time study/registration basis.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain by summer 2019, a 1st or 2.1 honours undergraduate degree and a Masters degree in social science.

In addition, applicants must have at least 2 years of professional experience in social science research.

It is crucial that applicants have proven independent research experience. Experience with the following is an advantage: working with a (international) research institution, evidence of (co-)authorship of peer-reviewed publication(s), data management and qualitative analysis skills, quantitative research skills.

Applicants should expect to be based in South Africa and/or Malawi for the majority of their MPhil/PhD studies.

Preference will be given to applicants who are resident in southern Africa.

How to Apply

Applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Janet Seeley for an informal discussion prior to submitting a formal application. Please state clearly the PhD studentship name in the heading and text of the email.

Applications should be submitted via the LSHTM Admissions Portal.

  • Applicants are advised to read through the research degree application information before starting.
  • This application will be for a PhD in the Faculty of Public Health & Policy.
  • In the Funding/Scholarships Section of the application applicants should indicate application for this funding by typing: “Ancillary Care PhD Studentship”.
  • Applicants’ research proposals should build upon the project summary in this advert.
  • Applicants should show that they meet the eligibility requirements for this studentship funding by providing information about relevant experience and/or uploading suitable additional documents, where applicable in the Admissions application.

By submitting an application for this funding applicants agree to its Terms & Conditions.

The deadline for applications is 23.59 (BST) on Wednesday 1 May 2019.