Project Description

On average, there is a gap of almost 19 years in how long people can expect to live in good health between the most and least deprived localities of England, as well as inequalities in health between different groups (e.g. gender, ethnicity). These health inequalities arise because of avoidable differences in people’s living and working environments and levels of income. Inequalities are also shaped by wider factors such as discrimination and the amount of control that people have over their lives.

To tackle these inequalities it is important that people employed by universities, local authorities and the NHS, design their research, policies and services in a way that address the causes of inequalities. However, existing research has found that this is not always the case. One of the reasons is because researchers and practitioners can have different understandings of health inequalities. In addition, individuals and communities affected by disadvantage are not always involved when researchers, policymakers and practitioners make decisions about whether or how to address health inequalities in their research and practice.

The ARC-NWC is a partnership between researchers, practitioners working in local government, and community and voluntary organisations, and the public living in the north west coastal region. The ARC-NWC has committed to making sure that health inequalities is central to all its research. The planned project will look at whether the approach that the ARC takes to encourage researchers and practitioners consider ‘health equity’ more fully, leads to research becoming more equity focused. It will also investigate whether greater attention to ‘mainstreaming’ health equity also leads to changes in how practitioners working in the NHS and local authorities consider health inequalities in their work, how this may have an impact of the quality of research/services and health outcomes and how this can be strengthened in the future.

In this PhD project, the candidate will work with the ARC-NWC Health Equity Team to investigate whether and if so, how, the Health Equity Mainstreaming (HEM) strategy is bringing about a transformational shift in the way of doing applied health research that is sensitive to health inequalities. It will also produce learning about how a HEM approach can be strengthened for future research and practice.

This PhD will adopt qualitative methods (probably ethnography), including interviews, textual analysis, and observation of the sites where HEM is enacted, for example, training sessions or meetings where core staff or Partners discuss the introduction and operationalisation of HEM in their respective projects or organisations.

The PhD will be based at the Centre for Health Equity Research (CHER) internationally known for its work on intersectionality, stigma, participation & power, epistemological approaches to health inequalities research.

Funding Notes

The studentships will be for 4 years full-time (subject to satisfactory progress) covering tuition fees at Home/EU rates. A stipend in line with the UK Research Council rates. Please note that funding is only available for the first 3 years but a 4th year is unfunded for writing up.

How to apply

Application is by CV and covering letter which details your interest in the studentship, related experience and training and suitability for the position. Applications are to be sent to Dr Ana Porroche-Escudero,


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