3 Year, funded PhD
Evidence synthesis methods for 21st-century chemical risk assessment
Assessing risks to health posed by chemical substances to human health and the environment requires careful scrutiny of toxicology, epidemiology and chemical fate & behaviour studies.
The problem is, current methods for gathering and appraising this evidence result in important studies being missed, individual findings being over- or under-played, and results of studies being synthesised using inappropriate statistical or qualitative techniques.
The end result is that risks of harm to health from exposure to chemical substances is either over-estimated (in which case, safe chemicals end up being banned) or under-estimated (which means harmful substances stay on the market).
Lack of transparency in methods means that chemical controversies are perpetuated, with nobody really sure which substances should be banned and which not, nor who to believe when there are conflicting opinions about whether or not a substance is safe for use.
This PhD project, linked to the consultancy ‘The REACH Centre’ (TRC), will research and develop systematic review (SR) techniques, normally applied in medicine for assessing the efficacy of healthcare interventions, for novel application in the field of chemical risk assessment.
Depending on the strengths and interests of the candidate, the project could include:
- Conducting case study systematic reviews of health risks posed by chemical substances
- Developing and testing the validity of “rapid review” techniques to increase efficiency of SR processes
- Developing evidence-mapping and linguistic analysis techniques to automate SR processes
The candidate should be a methodical and independent thinker with an appetite for desk-based research. Candidates with any good quality degree will be considered, although familiarity with any systematic review methods, meta-analytical techniques, statistics, toxicology, chemistry and/or evidence-based policy-making would be an advantage.
By conducting high-impact research of important practical value, interfacing with industry, academic and regulatory collaborators, the successful candidate will enjoy strong future employment prospects.
This doctoral research project will be supervised by Lancaster University (Dr Crispin Halsall and Mr Paul Whaley) and The REACH Centre. TRC is one of the leading international providers of regulatory guidance, scientific and analytical services, and training to industry in the field of chemicals management and risk assessment. TRC’s integrated services ensure customers are able to effectively manage and comply with current and future chemicals legislation.
9th October 2016 (with a view to commencing the project at the start of January 2017)
Application details: http://www.globalecoinnovation.org/graduates/projects/the-reach-centre/
By joining the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation you will receive £15,000 tax free per year, have your postgraduate tuition fees paid for by your partner business, worth £4,121/year (fees for Non EU/UK graduates are subsidised from £17,085/year to £12,964/year), become part of a cohort of graduates working with an award-winning team on business-led R&D, and finish in a strong position to enter a competitive job market in the UK and overseas. This post is subject to confirmation of European Union funding.