New Multimorbidity PhD programme

Tuesday 16 November 2021


The School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews joins a consortium of Scottish universities led by the University of Glasgow to deliver a new PhD programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust with additional support from the Universities – which will seek to address some of these real-world issues by training a new generation of healthcare professionals with expertise in multimorbidity research.

Multimorbidity is defined as the presence of two or more long-term health conditions, and is a global public health problem of increasing prevalence. Multimorbidity causes reduced life expectancy, results in more complex healthcare needs and leads to poorer quality of life and higher mortality.

To date, research focuses on adult multimorbidity, but multimorbidity also exists in children and young people; and is associated with lifelong impacts on individuals, their health and families, as well as social services. Multimorbidity is complex, and is linked to multiple factors, including biology, lifestyle and social circumstances.

However, despite its prevalence and serious outcomes, multimorbidity – its causes and how best to treat it – is still not well understood and is one of the most significant healthcare challenges in both the UK and globally.

The doctoral training programme, which also involves the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh, will recruit PhD Fellows from a range of clinical and health professional backgrounds. They will benefit from this rich institutional partnership and have the opportunity for clinical research across a range of specialisms, from data science and epidemiology, to applied clinical research in a unique collaborative training environment.

Prof Colin McCowan, Director of the Doctoral Training Programme, said “This programme across four Scottish Universities builds on existing world leading research and will allow us to train the next generation of health care professionals researching multimorbidity.”  Director of Research, Prof Frank Sullivan added, ‘This DTP will be a cornerstone in the development of clinical academic training in St Andrews and our collaboration with NHS partners, particularly NHS Fife’.

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