Building capacity in public health research

LiLaC has ambitious strategies to build capacity in public health research, including investment at all stages of the career pathway.

Doctoral training

  • Liverpool and Lancaster’s health-related research community includes more than 1,500 postgraduate research (PGR) students.
  • Liverpool currently has 65 registered PGR students in Public Health-aligned topics, with 104 graduating since 2014. At Lancaster, 19 students have been awarded a PhD in Public Health and in health economics since 2013.
  • Both Universities are members of the ESRC North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership, awarding over 60 scholarships annually.
  • We provide matched funding to support PhD studentships as part of NIHR’s SPHR, ARCNWC, Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs), and the CLAHRCNWC.

Early Career Researchers (ECRs)

LiLaC members supervise and mentor several post-doctoral fellows in public health, including through:

Links with local authorities, the NHS and Public Health England

We have long-established collaborations with the North West NHS Specialty Postgraduate Training Scheme in Public Health and with local authorities in the North West and beyond.

We provide:

  • Liverpool’s Master of Public Health (MPH) Programme to all NHS Specialty Registrars in Public Health in the NW region, as well as other local authority public health practitioners.
  • Lancaster’s novel blended-learning PhD programme which includes pathways in public health, health economics, mental health, ageing, organisational health and wellbeing and dementia studies, and attracts a diverse range of public health-related practitioners.
  • Short-term academic placements for public health trainees, and supervision of longer-term training posts, including 3-year clinical lectureships in public health.
  • Placement opportunities for PhD students to experience policy and practice environments.
  • Pre-doctoral fellowships and secondments for practitioners to bridge between service and academia.
  • A collaboration with Public Health England also enables PHE staff to further their PhD training at Liverpool while continuing with their PHE post part-time.

Examples of the impact of LILAC’s capacity development activities on students’ career progressions are illustrated below.

Sara Ronzi

Sara Ronzi

Sara Ronzi held an SPHR Doctoral Fellowship. In her research, linked to the evaluation of an Age-Friendly City in SPHR’s first quinquennium Ageing Well programme Sara developed the use of Photovoice. After graduating, she was employed as a PDRA by Liverpool on a NIHR grant, utilising her growing expertise in Photovoice in studies in Cameroon and Ghana. Most recently, Sara has been awarded a SPHR Launching Fellowship to develop a proposal for a national fellowship. View Sara’s SPHR profile.

Naoimh McMahon

Naoimh McMahon

Naoimh McMahon currently holds an SPHR launching fellowship. Previously she was awarded a doctoral fellowship in the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care North West Coast (CLAHRC NWC). Her thesis explored the different understandings of ‘health inequalities’ and particularly the notion of ‘upstream determinants’ amongst academics and health professionals. View Naoimh’s SPHR profile.
Listen to her Three Minute Thesis (3MT©).

Jack Higgins

Jack Higgins also held an SPHR Doctoral Fellowship in health economics.  His research focused on inequalities in access to services in coastal communities. Since graduation in autumn 2020 he has been employed on Covid modelling work in primary care and on a longitudinal analysis of inequalities in SPHR, whilst developing a submission for an NIHR PDR fellowship.
View Jack’s Lancaster University profile.