Weight-management: Understanding services, public needs and developing programmes for evaluation

2 asian female students 800x533

Centre for Public Health

PhD Funded Studentship

Weight-management: Understanding services, public needs and developing programmes for evaluation

Project Description

Increasing levels of obesity are a major public health concern. In the latest Health Survey for Northern Ireland data (November, 2018) 64% of adults were classified with overweight (37%) or with obesity (27%) that is, having a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2 or 30 kg/m2 respectively. Obesity carries significant risks to health such as an increased risk of liver and heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers and mental health conditions.

Behavioural (or lifestyle) weight management programmes (BWMPs) have risen in popularity as a treatment for obesity, targeting behaviours such as diet and physical activity. This is because substantial health benefits can achieved from weight loss in the region of 5-10% of current weight.

The aim of this research will be to comprehensively understand weight-management services and the obesity care-pathway provided across Northern Ireland in comparison with other countries. It will involve mapping of existing services, examining existing lifestyle weight management programmes for effectiveness and consulting with the public on their perceptions of obesity and their needs regarding weight-management support. It will also involve the adaptation, implementation and evaluation of lifestyle weight management programmes in NI via pragmatic trial methods


*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website

Entry Requirements 

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant public health, psychology, economics or social sciences subject

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:
• IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
• TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
• A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
• A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
• A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU http://www.qub.ac.uk/tefl/


Dr Laura McGowan 

Prof Jayne Woodside

Closing Date

Closing date for application is: Sunday, January 20, 2019

How to Apply

Please refer to 'Entry Requirements' for specific admissions criteria.

Apply online via the Queen's on-line application portal .  Guidance is available on the University’s Prospective Student pages.

When applying for a project, please choose ‘MEDICINE’ as your subject area/School.

Please ensure you adhere to the closing dates.

If you have any further queries please contact:  pgoffice.smdb@qub.ac.uk  or +44 (0) 28 9097 2619/2042.

Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Public Health, website for further details about the Centre

Queen's University Belfast is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.

Queen's University Belfast is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101788
VAT registration number: GB 254 7995 11