Tackling health inequalities is the target of a bold new £11.6 million programme of research from City, University of London and Queen Mary University of London, and which will train 32 healthcare PhDs over eight years.
Funded by Wellcome, together with support from The Medical College of Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital Trust, Barts Charity, City, University of London, Barts Health NHS Trust and East London NHS Foundation Trust, the Health Advances in Underrepresented Populations and Diseases (HARP) PhD Programme recognises that if groups of people are not represented in research, then discoveries from that research are less likely to be relevant or of benefit to them.
Most research studies identify participants through clinics or other health settings, meaning groups of people who encounter difficulties in accessing healthcare are often the same groups who are underrepresented in research, making the health differences worse.
Co-director of HARP, William Alazawi, Professor of Hepatology at Queen Mary, outlines the remit of the new programme:
HARP co-director, Edel O’Toole, Professor of Molecular Dermatology at Queen Mary, adds:
HARP director, Márta Korbonits is a Professor of Endocrinology at Queen Mary, and leads a research programme into rare endocrine diseases. She has found similar challenges in her area of work, saying:
HARP is open to any health professional, regardless of background and the directors are particularly looking for people who bring a fresh new perspective to research.
The programme also offers support for clinicians who have not previously had the opportunity to gain research experience. They will receive 12 months’ salary, and funding for research costs, in order to gain insight into research and improve their chances of success in competing for a PhD fellowship.
Professor Leanne Aitken, co-director of the programme and Associate Dean of Research and Enterprise at the School of Health & Psychological Sciences at City, University of London, shares:
Fellows will receive financial support from Barts Health NHS Trust and East London NHS Foundation Trust for a year after their PhD to remain academically active and continue to benefit from mentoring support from the HARP Faculty for two years.
Social Action for Health, a community-based health charity which works with local communities to address health and well-being issues most affected by health inequalities, have pledged to support HARP researchers’ learning in community engagement.
Ceri Durham, CEO of Social Action for Health comments:
How to apply
Candidates can apply to HARP at the harpphd.org website.
The deadline for September/October 2022 entry is Monday 31st January, 2022.
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