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PP3-001: Patient and carer involvement in personalization and measuring treatment efficacy

Start date

1st October 2023


3-year full-time PhD Studentship funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), through the Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)


Understanding the views of therapy end users is vital for translating clinical evidence into services. This PhD will test procedures that can be built into trials to discover barriers vital for implementation. The Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London has championed the employment of service users as researchers, we are now taking an extra step to encourage people with appropriate qualifications and who have used mental health services to apply for this PhD.

The views of service users and healthcare professionals are vital for implementing novel treatments. We need to know how to understand the benefits, especially when they rely on a single primary outcome. Service users and healthcare staff may want to balance all potential outcomes when judging whether to receive or provide the treatment. The proposed PhD will investigate the variety of views on a range of outcomes using mainly quantitative methods, but also adding some qualitative information to provide context. It should aim to develop Multi-Criterion Decision Modelling to allow the views of service users and staff to be considered in judging the benefits of a treatment. We are also interested in Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) in mental health that will aid the choice of primary outcomes before a trial begins as an method of considering the most appropriate benefits. Both techniques are relatively novel in mental health and will be important in developing the personalisation of treatments and services in the future.

Candidates should have a 2.1 or equivalent degree in a suitable subject. The PhD will be registered in King’s College London and be part of the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre which offers extra support and training.

Objectives / project plan: 

(1) Focus groups to determine questions for a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE) survey, (2) A DCE to discover what attributes service users will accept and avoid using trade-offs of stratification elements, (3) multi-criterion decision modelling (MCDM) with service user and healthcare staff participants who rank outcomes to produce weights for a more nuanced outcome decision. We can use these weights to [re]interpret the results of a large trial. All studies will investigate whether ethnicity, gender or subjective medication side effects influence the results.

Year 1:  Systematic review of methods (DCE, MCDM), Study ethics and R&D completed, focus groups to develop the DCE questionnaire, Qualitative research methods training. Publication 1.

Year 2:  DCE survey, analysis Recruitment to MCDM using primary and secondary outcomes of a completed trial Publication 2 Complete MCDM and analyse Publication 3.

Year 3:  Publication 3 MCDM, Thesis write-up and further publications prepared.

The successful candidate will have a background in a science that provides quantitative and/or qualitative training from any background but those who have used mental health services are highly encouraged to apply.


Professor Dame Til Wykes & Dr Hannah Belcher (co-supervisors)

Entry requirements

Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) a Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours (or Overseas equivalent). A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters with Merit.

Award types and eligibility

Home students will be fully funded for three years full time, to include home tuition fees, an annual stipend and some research and travel costs. Overseas applicants may apply but will need to cover the difference in fees.

To be treated as a Home student, candidates must meet one of the following criteria:

  • A UK national (meeting residency requirements)
  • Settled status
  • Pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements)
  • Indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further information

Further information about the studentship (

About the IoPPN (link to

Studying at the IoPPN (link to

Research degrees at the IoPPN (link to

How to apply

Applying to this programme is a three-stage process.

Stage One

To apply for this studentship at Stage One please send the following to with the by 23:59 BST on Sunday 4th June:

  • CV – including both educational and professional history
  • Personal statement – on why you are interested in this project
  • Academic references – all applications require at least one supporting reference. If the applicant is relying on their referees to submit a reference directly to the College after they have submitted their admissions application, then the applicant must ensure that (1) their chosen referee is made aware of the funding deadline (i.e. 7 days from application deadline) and (2) that the reference needs to be sent from an institutional email address.
Stage Two

Successful candidates will be invited to attend a panel interview in June.

References will be requested if not already supplied at Stage 1.

Interviews are taking place on 28th June.  All interviews will be held online via MS Teams.

Following interviews, candidates will be contacted via email and informed of the outcome of their interview.  The successful candidate will be required to complete Stage Three.

Stage Three

The successful candidate will be asked to submit an application and Project Approval Form (PAF) via King’s Apply where final checks on academic qualifications, English language requirements and fee status will be made.

This will need to be completed by the first week of July.

Providing all checks at Stage Three are successful, the candidate will be sent a formal offer letter confiirming their programme of study and funding. 

Please note there is no need to include a research proposal in your application as the project has already been set. You are welcome to email Professor Dame Til Wykes ( for more information regarding the project and studentship.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact the Education support team at

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Closing date

Sunday 4th June 2023


Wednesday 28th June 2023


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