ESRC PhD Studentships

The ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (SGS-DTC) Competition is now inviting submissions for studentships. Please note that the applications have to be developed by prospective students. Students may only apply through 1 of 10 Scottish universities but can submit through multiple pathways (e.g. Health, Geography, Economics). All applications will have to be made through the university’s ESRC DTC Contact. Details of the application process can be found here

Please note, acceptance by the ESRC does not guarantee admittance to the university. The SGS-DTC has no role in this.

The first deadline is 22 February 2013 (Registration). The second is 8 March 2013 (Full application submitted).

Moreover, the ESRC SGS-DTC has allocated up to 9 awards for collaborative studentships.

In 2013 there will be an expectation that collaborative studentships will normally include an element of monetary co-funding. The target amount is 10% of the studentship package, which is approximately £1,820 per annum for a standard studentship. A collaborative studentship can be a 1+3 or a +3 award.

SGS-DTC funding is limited to the standard ESRC studentship package: fees, maintenance, RTSG, overseas travel allowance. Additional funding requirements including travel, subsistence, and accommodation in connection with visits to the collaborating partner, will not be funded by the SGS-DTC.
It is not a requirement that applications identify a named student although they can do so. Where applicants do not identify a named student candidate, they should clearly identify when and how they plan to advertise and recruit a student to carry out the studentship.

Applications for collaborative awards can be submitted by prospective supervisors based within recognised SGS-DTC pathways. The SGS-DTC has designed an application form which will be available on the SGS-DTC website for download and completion.

There are two deadlines:
11 February 2013 – Completed applications to be submitted to the SGS-DTC Directorate.
11 March 2013 – Decisions to be communicated by the SGS-DTC Directorate.

Webinar “Secondary datasets in disability and health: tools for researchers using United States datasets” now available on line

A recording of the SDHI webinar “Secondary datasets in disability and health: tools for researchers using United States datasets” is now available on line or to download.


Arun Karpur (Research Faculty, School of Industrial & Labor Relations
Employment & Disability Institute, Cornell University, New York


William Erickson, Research Specialist Employment & Disability Institute
Cornell University, New York

National survey and administrative datasets continue to be a rich resource for generating national-level statistics for people with disabilities in the United States. Heterogeneous definitions of identifying individuals with disabilities as well as the
varying sampling framework limit the use of secondary datasets. Additionally, there are no good tools for comparing datasets to facilitate making an informed choice to employ the best alternative data set for use in public health research. This presentation introduces a unique web-based resource developed by the Employment and
Disability Institute, Cornell University, providing researchers access to meta-data on publicly available datasets consisting of information on employment, compensation, and health outcomes for people with disabilities. In addition, to the metadata, the presentation also provides an introduction to online data directories built for providing a deeper
exploration of key data elements of the secondary data sets focusing on variable related to disability characteristics, employment, compensation, and health outcomes.

This work has been funded by a sub-contract to and in partnership with the Cornell University ILR School Employment and Disability Institute through funding from
the The National Institutes of Health – National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (No. R24 HD065702) a grant funded to the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Center for Rehabilitation Research using Large Datasets

Multi-stakeholder event highlighted challenges in using standardised patient-reported outcome measures (PROMS) with low literacy and learning disabled populations

On Friday, 23 November hosted a well received dissemination event for a project funded as a Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP). The project was conducted in partnership between Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Universities of Glasgow and Dundee. We have reported previously about this project and also presented a Webinar.
This project explored people’s views on ‘Patient Reported Outcome Measures’ (PROMs). These measures are health questionnaires patients complete in a clinic about their symptoms, health condition and current emotional Wellbeing. The NHS in England is using this set of very disparate measures to ascertain patient reported pre-post intervention effects for acute procedures such as knee and hip replacement surgery. The rationale is that these routinely collected data sources will inform decisions about health care improvement planning. Our project specifically focused on the accessibility of PROMs for people with low literacy and learning disabilities.
The research team has developed a guide that will help professionals to reflect about the appropriateness of using PROMS and how to administer them with assistance to avoid excluding people who may find it difficult to complete complex questionnaires. The guide is based on our discussions with patients and professionals about how PROMs could be made more accessible and easy to use. Eventually, the guide will be available on the NHS Knowledge Network website.
The event was used to launch the guide. We invited all stakeholders from many backgrounds, including service users with learning disabilities, health care practitioners, academics and policymakers. Around 30 people attended and listened and discussed four presentations, which were held by Richard Norris, Scottish Health Council; Deepa Jahagirdar, KTP Associate, Glasgow; Dr Eddie Duncan, University of Stirling; Dr Phyllis Easton, NHS Tayside and SDHI. The speakers focused on the role of PROMS in the context of Scottish Health Policy and Quality Improvement, the use of standardised outcome measures by clinical professionals, the invisibility of low literacy, and the PROMS project itself. We used several tools to ensure this event was accessible, inclusive and beneficial for everyone. For example, everyone had red and green cards. Attendees could use the red cards to stop speakers and ask questions and green cards to indicate the presentation was clear. Attendees were free to stop the presentations at any point, discuss the issues that were raised, and clarify points. This informality sparked interesting and informative discussion.
The dissemination event raised awareness about the NHS’ plans to use PROMs and the potential exclusion of people with low literacy and learning disabilities.