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CITI-GENS DTP Employing Data Analytics to inform the development of innovative Cost-Effectiveness Cancer Screening Models in the COVID-19 era

School of Mathematics and Physics | PHD

Applications are now CLOSED
Reference Number
Application Deadline
10 July 2020
Start Date
1 January 2021


Cancer screening is a critical component of our armamentarium against cancer, facilitating identification of citizens at risk of developing the disease at the earliest stage, thus informing effective health management of the newly-identified patient when cancer is at its most vulnerable. However, cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) must be included in any screening model, to ensure the best use of often-limited resources and deliver sustainable solutions.

This project is part of the MSCA COFUND CITI-GENS Doctoral Training Programme, for more information including detailed project descriptions, funding and the application process please visit .

Please note that the funding and application information on the tabs within this page are not applicable to this particular programme and you must visit the website above to ensure you follow the correct procedures to be considered.

Striving for optimal health resource utilisation is particularly relevant in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, with COVID-19-repurposing of our health service leading to unintended de-prioritisation of non-COVID-related activities, including cancer screening. Developing robust COVID-era cancer screening requires new, more precise data-enabled modelling approaches, which will have relevance locally, nationally and globally.

Embedded within an interdisciplinary intersectoral team comprising researchers from Schools of Mathematics and Physics (SMP) (Lamrock), Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences (SMDBS) (Lawler, McFerran), the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency(PHA) (Owen), regional clinical pathology network (Loughrey) and involving collaborators in London (Turnbull), Dublin (O’Mahony) and Rotterdam (Lansdorp-Vogelaar), the doctoral student will employ advanced machine/deep learning and CEA methodologies to develop a new precision modelling approach to cancer screening.

The project provides unrivalled opportunities for an ambitious student to thrive in an interdisciplinary, intersectoral milieu by drawing on the proven expertise of the individual team members in big data analytics, cancer systems/cancer screening research (McFerran & Lawler, BMJ 2020), health economics analysis and health-service planning.

This nurturing environment will empower the student to build/apply innovative robust models that investigate the complex interplay between cancer development, cancer screening methodologies, health economics and health service implementation, evaluated within several scenarios that mimic different degrees of the adverse impact of COVID-19 on cancer screening, This iterative research will permit the derivation of the most optimal robust model for cost-effective cancer screening, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding Information

The programme covers the tuition fees and salary, please visit for information on eligibility and salary

Project Summary
Dr Felicity Lamrock
Mode of Study

Full-time: 3 years

Part-time: N/A

Funding Body
This project is cofunded by the Horizon 2020 progr
Apply now Register your interest

Mathematics overview

The Mathematical Research Centre conducts world-class research in the following areas: Algebra, Analysis, Operator Algebras, Algebraic Topology, Topological Data Analysis, PDEs, Survival Analysis, Bayesian Networks, Data Analytics and Operational Research. It maintains vibrant international links with a large number of researchers around the globe and regularly hosts international conferences and research visitors.

List of researchers, their interests and upcoming PhD projects can be found at:

Mode of study / duration
Registration is on a full-time or part-time basis, under the direction of a supervisory team appointed by the University. You will be expected to submit your thesis at the end of three years of full-time registration for PhD, or two years for MPhil (or part-time equivalent).

Mathematics Highlights
Industry Links
  • The School has many industry links, some of which are with Seagate Technology R&D, Andor Technology and AVX Ltd. Many of our graduates take up positions with these companies in posts such as Statistical Analysis Programmer, Trainee Accountant, Financial Engineer and Business Analyst.
Career Development
  • Graduates from the School take up employment through a number of companies such as Allstate, AquaQ Analytics, Citigroup, Deloitte, PwC, Randox, Seagate and UCAS.
World Class Facilities
  • Since 2014, the School has invested over £12 million in new world-class student and staff facilities. Maths and Physics students now have their own teaching centre that opened in 2016 housing experimental physics laboratories, two large computer rooms for mathematical simulations and student study plus a student interaction area.
Key Facts

  • Students will have access to our facilities, resources and our dedicated staff. The School of Maths & Physics is one of the largest Schools in the University. Staff are involved in cutting-edge research that spans a multitude of fields.
Brexit Advice

Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

Course content

Research Information

Research Themes
Information on the research interests and activities of academics in the Mathematical Science Research Centre can be found at These interests fit into the themes: Algebra, Analysis, Data Science, Optimization and Operational Research, Partial Differential Equations, Statistics, Topology and Geometry.

Career Prospects

Mathematical and statistical skills are in great demand in the economy, particularly the advanced skills developed at the PhD level.

Employment after the Course
As well as continuing in research careers, our PhD graduates have also gone on to work in finance, computing, data analysis, management and teaching. Our advisors will be happy to provide further information on the career prospects arising from your chosen research area. Further information on careers can be obtained from the School and the Faculty.

People teaching you

Dr David Barnes
Postgraduate Advisor - Mathematical Sciences Research Centre


Professor Ivan Todorov
Director of Research - Mathematical Sciences Research Centre


Learning Outcomes

Course structure


Students will enjoy the benefits of modern practical laboratories, extensive computer facilities and interactive spaces.

Entrance requirements

The minimum academic requirement for admission to a research degree programme is normally an Upper Second Class Honours degree from a UK or ROI HE provider, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information can be obtained by contacting the School.

International Students

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

  • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
  • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) £4,407
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,407
Other (non-UK) EU £4,407
International £16,950

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Mathematics costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

Additional course costs

All Students

Depending on the programme of study, there may also be other extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies . Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £100 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges. Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen. There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, and library fines. In undertaking a research project students may incur costs associated with transport and/or materials, and there will also be additional costs for printing and binding the thesis. There may also be individually tailored research project expenses and students should consult directly with the School for further information.

How do I fund my study?
1.PhD Opportunities

Find PhD opportunities and funded studentships by subject area.

2.Doctoral Training Centres at Queen's

Queen's has eight outstanding competitive Doctoral Training Centres, with each one providing funding for a number of PhD positions and most importantly a hub for carrying out world class research in key disciplines.

3.PhD loans

The Government offers doctoral loans of up to £26,445 for PhDs and equivalent postgraduate research programmes for English- or Welsh-resident UK and EU students, £10,000 for students in Scotland and up to £5,500 for Northern Ireland students.

4.International Scholarships

Information on Postgraduate Research scholarships for international students.

Funding and Scholarships

The Funding & Scholarship Finder helps prospective and current students find funding to help cover costs towards a whole range of study related expenses.

How to Apply

Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Find a supervisor

If you're interested in a particular project, we suggest you contact the relevant academic before you apply, to introduce yourself and ask questions.

To find a potential supervisor aligned with your area of interest, or if you are unsure of who to contact, look through the staff profiles linked here.

You might be asked to provide a short outline of your proposal to help us identify potential supervisors.