Studentship opportunity

Modelling Short- and Long-Term Effects of Air Pollution and Temperature on Population Health and Mortality

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

University of St Andrews
Health, Families, Relationships and Demographic Change
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
10 April 2019

Project details

Climate change will result in more frequent, more intense and longer lasting extreme weather events, such as heath waves, cold spells and flooding. Negative environmental effects on individuals’ health will be pronounced in rapidly ageing societies. The aims of this project are: First, to investigate short- and long-term effects of air pollution and extreme weather events on health and mortality across population subgroups in Britain. Second, to develop a multilevel survival model to study the effect of time-varying contextual factors on individuals’ health and mortality. The project will use individual-level data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) and the ONS Longitudinal Study (LS) linked to environmental data. The project will improve our understanding of how extreme weather events and air pollution interact in influencing health and mortality of population subgroups in Britain. The developed method could be applied to study contextual effects on other domains of individuals’ behaviour (e.g. migration, fertility, employment).

About the institution

The successful applicant will become a member of the Population and Health Research Group (PHRG) at the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The PHRG research covers a wide range of population topics including the analysis of health and mortality; family and fertility dynamics; life course choices; internal and international migration; ethnicity and minority populations; and population inequalities. The group combines expertise in advanced techniques of demographic, longitudinal and spatial analysis. For further details about the research group, please see:; The group is part of the ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC) ( and the International Max Planck Research School for Population Health Data (IMPRS-PHD), a Europe-wide PhD training network, which will be launched in 2019.


Applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • A first class or an upper secondary undergraduate or master’s degree in any area of social, environmental and health sciences (including statistics and applied mathematics)
  • Interest in developing and/or applying advanced quantitative methods in social sciences
  • Interest in working with spatial and longitudinal data
  • Coding skills are an advantage (e.g. in R, Stata or SAS), but not required
  • The scholarship is open to UK and EU students. EU students who do not fulfil the ESRC’s residence eligibility criteria will be entitled to a Fees Only award (please check the ESRC’s residential guidelines which can be accessed at
  • The University of St Andrews provides, on a competitive basis, maintenance stipends at the Research Council rate for EU PhD students who have been awarded a Research Council fees-only scholarship (and who start their degree in the academic year 2019-20).

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training.  This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2019.  It includes:
  • An annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2019/20 rate £15,009 full-time)
  • Fees at the standard Home/EU rate
  • Students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Other information

How to apply

  1. Applicants register on GradHub and fill out EO data (this is a requirement of the application process)
  2. Applicants download and complete the Word-based application form (download here)
  3. Applicants complete the GradHub application form and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:
  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • References
  • CV
  • Academic writing sample – provide a recent text you wrote (e.g. your MSc thesis or a paper your wrote for your modules)

In the application form, please specify your interest in environmental effects on human health and in applying advanced quantitative methods in social science research

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by mid-April 2019. Interviews will take place in the week commencing 22nd April 2018; Skype interviews are possible. All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission within the University of St Andrews.  Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to a PhD programme in Geography (Science) after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

Prof. Hill Kulu