Fully Funded PhD based in the School of Natural and Built Environment, QUB “Cohort Life Chances 1991-2011” using the Census Longitudinal Studies

The project

Suitably qualified candidates to undertake research leading to a PhD using the NILS and at least one of the other UK longitudinal studies on the general theme of cohort life chances 1991-2011 are sought.  Applicants are at liberty to develop and to suggest topics within this general research area.  Ian Shuttleworth (i.shuttleworth@qub.ac.uk) would be happy to discuss these informally as they are developed but some general guidance is useful as a starter.  Life chances may include health, labour market or educational outcomes as well as premature mortality.  There may be differentials in these by demographic sub groups (eg ethnic or religious background), parental background, or geography (eg residents of some large cities such as Belfast, Glasgow and Liverpool may fare very differently to people brought up in the rural South of England). Analyses might follow the fortunes of young people in 1991 through time or alternatively could trace the trajectories and life paths of older age cohorts.  There are a number of possibilities and the suggestions above are by no means exhaustive.  Strong applications would explore these or similar topics and how they could be investigated using the census longitudinal studies, grounding them in the literature on social inequality, neighbourhood context, and life chances. Ideally, they would also address policy questions.

The application process

Applicants are invited to write a short A4 four-page (maximum) research outline (font size no smaller than 11) which gives details of:

  • The project title
  • The context for the research question(s) in terms of relevant literature and policy

And which:

  • Shows how the longitudinal studies can be used to answer the chosen research question
  • Outlines some possible appropriate analytical approaches

This should be accompanied by a CV showing academic qualifications and experience.  Candidates may be called to an interview based on a short PowerPoint presentation and questions and answers.  Applicants should have a least a first degree at 2:1 or higher in a subject such as Geography, Sociology, Economics, or Public Health and some experience of statistical methods.  A postgraduate qualification such as a master’s degree is desirable especially if it involved independent research and statistical methods. The closing date for applications is May 18th 2018 at 11pm by email to Dr Shuttleworth.  A project start in Autumn 2018 is envisaged for this fully-funded studentship which gives an opportunity to work in an established research community in Northern Ireland and networked across the UK.

The data

The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) is a 28% sample of the Northern Ireland population. The NILS links administrative and census data together for research purposes.  It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and the Public Health Agency (PHA).  These data are accessed in a secure environment maintained by the NILS Research Support Unit (NILS-RSU) which is supported by the ESRC.  The NILS is a member of a wider UK family of similar longitudinal studies with the ONS LS for England and Wales and the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS).  Information on the data held by the NILS and the other UK longitudinal studies can be found at https://calls.ac.uk/ls-units/ as well as outlines of current and past research projects using these resources.


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