The European Research Council funded GLASST Project http://www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/research/studies/glasst/ is pleased to offer two interdisciplinary studentships available for admission in October 2020.
Transport is a major determinant of population health. Adverse health impacts are greatest in lower and middle income cities. Research and policy models are being used to predict how changes in travel patterns and related exposures (e.g. physical activity, air pollution, and road traffic danger) might influence health outcomes (e.g. injuries, heart disease, some cancers and diabetes). However, current methods are not able to produce reliable or comparable results for the questions researchers and policy makers are asking. Results are needed for settings with limited data. Methods are needed to integrate with the separate discipline of transport modelling. There is a need to develop the next generation of transport and health impact models and tools that are academically robust and practically useful.
In GLASST we will be generating next generation of models through the following objectives:
- To develop methods and computer programs that allow researchers to compare health impact models and data. By collating and comparing models across many settings and scenario I will identify the circumstances in which variation in model structure and parameters makes an important difference to model results. This information will be used to create and test models for new settings and problems.
- To integrate health impact modelling methods with the models used by transport researchers. This will make health impacts visible to transport planners. I will investigate the added value that land use/transport models can bring to health impact modelling from improved spatial and temporal detail and following households’ residential location over time.
- To use the methods from (1) and findings from (1) and (2) to work towards developing a global city-level model and tool that utilises the best data available in any setting to create comparable exposure and disease estimates. Initially this will be based on archetypical cities for world regions. This will transform the opportunities for me and others to undertake modelling health impacts of transport policies and scenarios across the world.
The GLASST project is led by Dr Woodcock with collaborators at
- Prof Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, ISGlobal
- Prof Kavi Bhalla, University of Chicago
- Prof Rolf Moeckel, TU Munich
- Dr Christian Brand, University of Oxford
- Dr Anna Goodman, LSHTM
Prospective students are welcome to apply for any topic that fits within the overall objectives of the GLASST project. We particularly encourage applications for the following topics:
Integrating health into transport models
Travel demand models are widely used in transport research and practice. Activity based models simulate a high level of detail what people are doing and where they are doing it. Increasingly these models attempt to more accurately represent active travel (walking and cycling). However, most health impact modelling of transport has been based on city wide estimates and not represented spatial variation in where people are exposed (e.g. air pollution or injury risk), or the exposures they generate (e.g. emissions or road traffic danger). This PhD will work with the open source SILO, MITO, and MATSim models to develop methods that fully utilise the spatial and temporal detail of these models to estimate health impacts, and to compare this against simpler, aggregate approaches.
This PhD will co-supervised by Prof Moeckel, Technical University of Munich https://www.professoren.tum.de/en/moeckel-rolf/
Health impact modelling of transport in lower and middle income cities
The majority of city dwellers are in lower and middle countries. These cities vary massively in their levels of air and noise pollution, walking and cycling, and traffic injury risk. However, the vast majority of impact modelling studies of transport have been in higher income cities. The Public Health Modelling programme and our collaborators are leading the way in developing impact models for lower and middle income cities. This PhD will be an opportunity to improve existing and develop new health impact simulation models for a lower or middle income country or region. Applications are welcome for any region, either building on our existing work in Latin America, India, and sub-Saharan Africa or in another world region. We are most interested in applications to work across multiple cities rather than in one or two cities. Lack of traditional data (such as from travel surveys) is a major limitation in many settings and we welcome applications interested in working with new and emerging big data (e.g. satellite or Google Street View) and modelled estimates.
What is covered
A studentship will be sufficient to cover living costs, research expenses, and fees at the EEA level. Prospective students who are not EEA nationals are required to pay higher fees and should consider applying for additional sources of funding http://www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/work-and-study/studentships/student-finance/
What to do next
You can find out more about the MRC Epidemiology Unit at http://www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/work-and-study/studentships/. Prospective students with suitably strong CVs and a demonstrable interest in the topics should approach Dr Woodcock firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss their application.
All Cambridge applicants follow the University’s standard admission process. Applications for this studentship should be made to the MRC Epidemiology Unit. Please go to our Graduate Admissions Portal to start your application and ensure you indicate that you wish to be considered for GLASST funding in the Funding section of the online application form.
The closing date for applications will be Tuesday 7 January 2020.