Vacancy: PhD Candidate for the SPRINGS Project

 We are looking for a PhD Candidate with a strong computational background to help us with the SPRINGS Project. You can find the full details below including the submission procedure and due date.

 

PhD Candidate – M/ F/ X (40 hours)
Modelling the impact of climate change on future diarrheal disease burden
The SPRINGS project, https://www.springsproject.eu

 

The position

Background This 4-year, fully funded PhD position is embedded in the EU project SPRINGS “Supporting Policy Regulations and Interventions to Negate aggravated Global diarrheal disease due to future climate Shocks”. SPRINGS aims to better understand the impact of climate change on the burden of water-borne infectious disease. It is an extensive international and multidisciplinary project, with involvement of climate scientists, microbiologists, medical professionals, and social scientists from all over the world. Diarrheal disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in young children globally. Climate change threatens to reverse decades of global health progress in reducing diarrheal disease burden. The pathways by which climate hazards, including increased precipitation, flooding, and drought will alter diarrheal disease incidence in the coming years are insufficiently understood, hindering prioritization of future policies and interventions.

The objective of this PhD is to develop a model to simulate pathogen-specific diarrheal disease to assess and prioritize varied interventions to prevent climate-sensitive increases in diarrheal disease burden.   The PhD project will specifically focus on mechanistic microsimulation techniques (such as spatial agent-based models) to forecast disease burden emerging from bottom-up human-pathogen, human-human, and human-environmental interactions under future climate scenarios. The model will be used to test and prioritise (based on value assessments) interventions designed to reduce diarrheal diseases across future climate shocks in varied geographic settings. The disease progression will depend on an individual’s level of exposure (based on climate, hydrological and microbial modelling by another PhD in the consortium), sensitivity and adaptive capacity based on preventive behaviour from past experiences and social science surveys conducted within the consortium, alongside infrastructure, co-morbidities, care-seeking behaviour, and other relevant factors. The model will capture epidemic statistics such as daily counts of new infections, symptomatic, mortality, morbidity, QALY overall and by context-specific demographic groups. Please see some of the relevant reviews below:

  • Mellor, J. E., Levy, K., Zimmerman, J., Elliott, M., Bartram, J., Carlton, E., … & Nelson, K. (2016). Planning for climate change: The need for mechanistic systems-based approaches to study climate change impacts on diarrheal diseases. Science of the Total Environment548, 82-90.
  • Ogwel, B., Mzazi, V., Nyawanda, B. O., Otieno, G., & Omore, R. (2024). Predictive modeling for infectious diarrheal disease in pediatric populations: A systematic review. Learning Health Systems8(1), e10382.

Skills

We are looking for someone with a strong computational background and an education in complexity science, computational science, economics, statistical physics or similar.

Tasks and responsibilities

  • Scoping review of mechanisms in pathogen-specific diarrheal disease dynamics
  • Develop a mechanistic model of diarrheal disease dynamics, resulting in academic publications in peer-reviewed international journals.
  • Contribute to data collection relevant for modelling.
  • Research visits to UVA and LSHTM to collaborate with partners.
  • Contributing to the preparation and reporting of deliverables of the SPRINGS project related to the PhD research.
  • Active participant of the SPRINGS PhD network with regular meetings and with consortium members, participation in consortium meetings and case study meetings
  • Presenting the project results at national and international conferences and symposia.
  • Contributing to the department education programmes and SPRINGS educational network by mentoring and supervising Bachelor and Master theses and tutoring students.
  • Writing and successfully defending a PhD thesis.

Requirements

  • MSc in computational science, behavioural economics, statistical physics, epidemiology;
  • Strong background in complex system analysis
  • Experience in developing and analysis of mechanistic models such as agent-based models, system dynamics model.
  • a strong understanding of key simulation concepts such as multiscale dynamics, robustness checks, calibration, validation, and global sensitivity analysis.
  • Strong programming skills with R/Python.
  • Flexibility, curiosity, openness, and readiness to participate in interdisciplinary cooperation and multidisciplinary development (focused on collaboration with other disciplines) across multiple geographic settings.
  • Ability to learn, assess and integrate key medical and global health concepts in pathogen transmission, host immunity, and sociodemographic determinants of disease.
  • Professional command of English.
  • Ability to work independently, pro-actively and in collaboration with others.

Supervision

  • You will be hired by the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.
  • You will be enrolled and graduate at the University of Amsterdam. You will receive co-supervision and have a joint appointment at the Amsterdam University Medical Center’s Department of Global Health.
  • You will collaborate with researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine (UVA) focusing on epidemiological modelling and at the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) focusing on Public Health and Policy

 

AIGHD Offers

We offer a PhD candidate position within a creative and interactive team for 40 hours per week for 4 years.

We believe in the strength of an inclusive culture and think it is important that everyone can be themselves.

  • A gross monthly salary is in accordance with CAO-VSNU, in a scale with a range between EUR 2.867 and EUR 3.676 based on a fulltime contract (40 hours per week), depending on year of work experience and expertise.
  • An excellent job opportunity in a cutting-edge working environment in global health and development
  • 27 holidays per year based on a fulltime workweek of 40 hours.
  • Yearly holiday allowance of 8%.
  • An attractive collective pension plan.
  • A comprehensive collective health insurance scheme.
  • Working 50% hybrid: complete equipped ergonomic home workplace with a screen and chair.
  • Training & development opportunity’s.
  • The possibility to work a few weeks on remote abroad.
  • Reimbursement living and work permit (VISA) costs.
  • The opportunity to attend research meetings with interesting topics.

About Us

The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) strives for equal opportunities for health and well-being for all.

The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health & Development (AIGHD) is a collaborative institute of various faculties and schools of the Universiteit of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam with a mission to address challenges in global health and development through research and education. AIGHD conducts collaborative interdisciplinary research on major health themes of global importance in relation to human development and aims to educate and inspire the next generation of global health leaders at undergraduate, post-graduate, and professional levels. AIGHD aspires to accelerate progress on global health objectives by sharing knowledge and insights with global agencies, governments, NGOs, and the scientific community.

Do you recognize yourself in the profile and do you want to contribute to AIGHD’s mission? Please send your motivation letter and resume to Cindy Sardjoe, hrsupport@aighd.org, before Friday 26 July 2024. We will only process applications that include a motivation letter.

More information on AIGHD and our projects can be found on www.aighd.org.

Contact

Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact:

  • E: Debraj Roy, Assistant Professor, D.Roy@uva.nl
  • E: Vanessa Harris, MD PhD, Assistant Professor, v.c.harris@amsterdamumc.nl
  • T: +31 20 566 9111, secretariat infectious diseases or +31 20 210 3960, AIGHD

 

No agencies please