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PLEASE NOTE: The application period has closed for this round of PhD studentships. Please re-visit our website in the coming months to discover future opportunities to join the NIHR Southampton BRC.

Four-year PhD to improve understanding of surgical risk: CIPHER (Continuous, Iterative, Perioperative, Holistic  Evaluation of Risk)

Four-year PhD to improve understanding of surgical risk: CIPHER (Continuous, Iterative, Perioperative, Holistic  Evaluation of Risk)



The project

Data is changing healthcare. We are seeking a talented individual to help transform diverse clinical data into risk models for patients undergoing surgery. These will dynamically predict risk based on a patient’s current circumstance, helping patients and clinicians make the right decisions together.

The NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) offers a world-leading environment for health data research, in partnership with a Digital Exemplar NHS Trust. This is an exciting opportunity to join a dynamic team in a fast-evolving area of medical research, with the chance to deliver real-world results.


The skills required

The NIHR Southampton BRC has an opportunity for PhD research working at the interface of modelling and medical care. You will be a team player who communicates well with the public and professionals from diverse backgrounds. You will be motivated to apply your strong numerical and informatic skills to understand disease mechanisms at the patient level. You may have experience in applying machine learning to healthcare data.


The candidate

Do you have a background in programming, machine learning/data science? Do you want to make a real difference to patients’ lives by improving surgical outcomes through better understanding of dynamic risk? Applicants will have or expect to obtain at least an upper second-class degree in biomedical sciences, biochemistry, computer science or mathematics with an interest or experience in bioinformatics as applied to machine learning. You will meet the University of Southampton’s person specification for PhD candidates, which incorporates a full equality, diversity, and inclusivity policy.


The supervisory team

Your supervisory team of world-leading clinical scientists will be led by Professors Denny Levett and Age Chapman, bridging the NIHR Southampton BRC, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. You will be based in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professors Denny Levett ( or Age Chapman (


How to apply

Complete the University of Southampton online application linked below. Please note:

  • You must state project code PCC2 and the Perioperative and Critical Care; Data, Health and Society themes in the Personal Statement section of the online application.

  • In the supervisor field on the application form please quote reference BRC/UoS/202223/842. You do not need to identify a supervisor.

  • The online application references an Application Assessment Fee which is not required for this BRC project as it is a postgraduate research degree.

  • Applicants must hold a 1st class or 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline and/or second degree with a related Masters. Only UK students are eligible to apply in this current round. 

  • Stipend will be at least equivalent to UK Research Council maintenance stipend rates (~£16,000). Self-funding students may also be accepted.


If you require further information, please contact Kay Mitchell, Senior Research Manager, at, or Karl Staples, Academic Career Development Lead, at Application enquiries can be directed to for the Faculty of Medicine.

Closing date for applications: Friday 15th July 2022

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