Mathematical Modelling PhD Student Placements at UK Health Security Agency 2022

UKHSA are looking to recruit 7 PhD students for 3-month placements, with start dates between 1st January 2023 and 1st September 2023.

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Facilitated by the Isaac Newton Institute, funding will be provided to your host University to cover 3-months of stipend payments, allowing PhD deadlines to be extended accordingly.

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The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is a system leader for health security; taking action internationally to strengthen global health security, providing trusted advice to government and the public and reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health. They are looking to recruit 7 PhD students for 3-month placements in infectious disease modelling.

Working as an intermediary, the Isaac Newton Institute and the Newton Gateway to Mathematics are assisting the UKHSA throughout the recruitment process, as well as aiding in the institutional ‘buyout’ of the postholders’ PhD stipends for the duration of the internships.

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We are looking for candidates who can:

  • Work within a multi-disciplinary team of analysts with a range of analysis, assessment and product development responsibilities, often working to tight timelines
  • Deliver analytical skills (such as statistical analysis and mathematical modelling) and be adept at finding, analysing and manipulating large scale data sets
  • Communicate complex findings to non-technical experts and key stakeholders, from a variety of qualitative and quantitative sources
  • Assist communicable disease control, health protection and public health colleagues across the UK during major health protection incidents
  • Successfully manage your time and prioritise effectively, working under own initiative and responding to unexpected demands whilst maintaining a professional, calm and efficient manner
  • Engage with partners in wider government, academia and the private sector to gain access to new data sources and information
  • Establish and maintain positive relationships and collaborations internally and externally and contribute to the culture and development of the All Hazards Intelligence Directorate, the ECR programme and the UKHSA as a whole

The posts offer superb development opportunities and the chance to gain exposure across a broad range of policy areas and with senior officials at the heart of decision making in government.

The roles are available in the Public Health Science: Infectious Disease Modelling team within the All Hazards Intelligence directorate. This is a multi-disciplinary analytical directorate of more than 70 individuals, working at the forefront of the response to the ongoing COVID-19 and Monkeypox outbreaks.

There are 7 roles available, with start dates staggered throughout the year, with at least two ECRs in post during each placement phase. Phase 1 will begin in January 2023, Phase 2 in May 2023, and Phase 3 in September 2023. Depending on your skill set, preference and our needs, you could be placed into any of these phases.

The posts will provide scientific support in infectious disease modelling to the epidemiological investigation of incidents and outbreaks of COVID-19 and Monkeypox, in collaboration with partners. This will include technical and analytical aspects of epidemiological outbreak investigations and modelling. The posts will also provide scientific support to our developing work packages in modelling climate-sensitive infectious diseases, in collaboration with the Centre for Climate and Health Security and academia. This will include technical aspects of ecological modelling, epidemiological modelling, and geospatial data analysis.

The post holder(s) will take a lead role in epidemiological modelling, public health scientific analyses and writing reports on specific projects, regular and ad hoc commissions, and publications. This will include writing code, analysing data, and adhering to version control/software management practices.

Duties will include estimating and forecasting the state of the outbreaks, compiling evidence, including area and population context, developing novel methods, and data analytics. The post holder will be expected to run and calibrate statistical models, process and analyse data, and write reports for operational product delivery. They will also be expected to engage with partners in wider government, academia, and the private sector to gain access to new data sources and information. The post will enable the ECRs to develop their research and professional skills, as well as expand their professional network in health science.


UKHSA’s remit, as an agency with a global-to-local reach, is to protect the health of the nation from infectious diseases and other external threats to health. As the nation’s expert national health security agency UKHSA will:

  • Prevent: anticipate threats to health and help build the nation’s readiness, defences and health security
  • Detect: use cutting edge environmental and biological surveillance to proactively detect and monitor infectious diseases and threats to health
  • Analyse: use world-class science and data analytics to assess and continually monitor threats to health, identifying how best to control and mitigate the risks
  • Respond: take rapid, collaborative and effective actions nationally and locally to mitigate threats to health when they materialise
  • Lead: lead strong and sustainable global, national, regional and local partnerships designed to save lives, protect the nation from public health threats, and reduce inequalities

UKHSA’s immediate and most important priority is to continue the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the longer term, UKHSA will build on the legacy of the COVID-19 response to ensure resilient and scalable infrastructure to secure the UK in the strongest position to protect the public from future threats to health.

UKHSA mission is challenging, innovative and in the spotlight. To achieve our objectives effectively and fairly, we commit to representing modern Britain and all its diversity. UKHSA recognises that diversity of background and life experience brings different insights, creates challenge and encourages change and innovation. This in turn produces more accountable and trusted public services and better decisions; better because they are more attuned to the needs and interests of all our communities. Differences of thought and outlook are not only respected but expected. We want all our employees to feel that they can be themselves at work and that they are valued.

Please download the document below to find out more; it also contains details of how to apply. Deadline 5th December 2022.


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