PhD Studentship: The Ethics of Community Effectiveness Research in Developing Countries

Department of Philosophy, Institute of Child Health, and Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre.

University College London

The Centre for International Health and Development at the Institute of Child Health carries out research into the effectiveness of community-level interventions in developing countries, including Nepal, Malawi and rural India. Often the research is carried out by means of ‘cluster randomized trials’ where, for example, a number of villages or regions receive an intervention, while others are treated as controls and do not gain the benefit of the programme if it turns out to be efficacious (at least during the trial period), but are also saved any risks associated with it. Furthermore in some cases the programme offers what could be called a ‘second-best solution’, below a standard or recommended package of care, in view of resource constraints in the area under study. This work, and similar work by other research groups, raises a host of ethical questions, especially concerning the circumstances in which using a cluster randomized trial is legitimate, and when it is acceptable to offer a second best solution. The successful candidate will be expected to write a PhD thesis on one or more the ethical questions that arise in the context of such work.
Applicants should have a background in philosophy at undergraduate or masters level, and be able to demonstrate an interest in health issues in the developing world. The first year of the project will include taking a number of Masters level courses in international health and development and research methods in health to provide the necessary grounding for the research project as a whole.

Eligibility
Potential candidates must satisfy two main eligibility criteria: academic and residency. The academic requirement is the equivalent of at least an upper second first degree, or an MSc. The residency requirement is that all British and European (EU) citizens are eligible. Non-EU citizens are not eligible (unless they have indefinite leave to remain from the UK Home Office). If in doubt about this please contact the department.

Applications close: 30 May 2010
Studentship start date: September 2010

Full details here.

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