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Welcome to PHIRN

The aim of PHIRN is to increase the quantity and quality of public health improvement research that is relevant to policy and practice.

We aim to achieve this by increasing the number of natural experiments within the roll-out of new initiatives; developing high quality collaborative research proposals for research grant funding; developing high quality collaborative research proposals linked to emerging initiatives; and developing a critical mass of specialised methodological capacity in the design and conduct of community based trials of complex interventions.

Supported by: Cardiff University, Welsh Government and National Institute of Social Care and Health Research.


Call for abstracts: Quality in qualitative research and enduring problematics

Event date: Tuesday 27th January 2015
Deadline for abstract submission: Monday 22nd September 2014

The Qualitative Methodology Forum at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath, is holding a one-day symposium entitled: Quality in qualitative research and enduring problematics.

The symposium will take place at the University of Bath on 27 January 2015. They invite abstracts on the topics below or other related issues. Contributions from all disciplines within the social sciences are welcomed. The papers (duration:15 minutes) should aim to:

  • offer a clear and rigorous conceptual navigation through the issues raised
  • provide engaging illustrations from real-life experiences
  • suggest a way forward, for example in the shape of proposed consensus statements, good practice guidelines and future research.


Is there room for hypotheses in qualitative research design?
What is the role of theoretical knowledge and imagination in qualitative research design? Is there a dichotomy between theoretically informed/driven and inductive design? To what extent is inductive design a possibility? What level of pre-conceptualisation and hypothesizing is compatible with emergent analysis and discovery?

Theorising: ‘mystery as method’?
How do qualitative researchers theorise from data? What is the adequacy and defensibility of abductive reasoning as a method? What are the practices for documenting and reporting the theorising process? What still needs to be achieved to open the black box of theorising? Is there ever a good reason for not theorising from empirical data?

A ‘good round number’? In search of a rationale for sample sizes.
Is there a ‘right’ sample size in qualitative studies (interviews, recorded interactions, setting and frequency of observations, focus groups, documents, etc.)? If there is, how is this established? How important is sample size to the applicability of emergent theoretical insights?  How useful is the idea of saturation to determining sample size? How might the tension between methodological requirements and practical constraints be addressed?

The quest for quality in qualitative research
What are the key challenges to methodological rigour in qualitative research design and conduct and how should these be addressed? What needs to be done to expound the credibility and usefulness of qualitative research in the worlds of academia, policy and practice? Does the perceived value and credibility of the qualitative paradigm vary between disciplines and policy areas?

Suggestions for related topics not included in the brief are also welcome. Please send your abstracts to: z.tomlin@bath.ac.uk
More details can be found at: http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/events/news_0073.html

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath would like to develop a database of qualitative researchers within the GW4 collaboration and UWE who are interested in methodology and may want to be involved in future events and initiatives. If you are not submitting an abstract but would like to be added to the list, please contact one of the organisers below.

Selda Ulucanlar (z.tomlin@bath.ac.uk)
Jenny Hatchard (j.hatchard@bath.ac.uk)
Fiona Fox (f.fox@bath.ac.uk)
Susan Johnson (s.z.johnson@bath.ac.uk)

2 day short course – Health Economics for Public Health Practice and Research

Date: 4pm, Monday 23rd- 2:45pm Wednesday 25th March 2015
Location: Management Centre, Bangor University

Bangor university will be running a 2 day short course in March 2015 looking at health economics for Public Health Practice and Research, led by Professor Rhiannon Tudor Edwards.

At the end of this short course delegates will have gained an appreciation of the concepts, methods and application of health economics to public health, be able to critically appraise a published economic evaluation of a public health intervention and feel confident in speaking about potential return on investment from public health programmes in the NHS and other settings such as schools and work places.

The course will cover:

  • Public Health Preventative strategies
  • An overview of Health Economics and Economic Evaluation
  • Challenges of Applying Health Economics to the Public Health
  • Can we use RCTs in the Economic Evaluation of Public Health Interventions?
  • Decision Modelling for Economic Evaluation and Application to Infectious Diseases
  • Decision Modelling in Public Health
  • The role of pharmacists in Health Promotion
  • Cost Benefit Analysis in Public Health
  • Social Return on Investment (SROI)
  • Programme Budgeting Marginal Analysis (PBMA)

Registration closes 31st January 2015
Cancellation fee 10% prior to 31st January 2015, 50% cancellation fee after this date)

If you would like to register and pay, please contact:

Mrs Ann Lawton, Tel: 01248 382153 or Email: cheme@bangor.ac.uk

For credit card payments please click here.

Research Associate Vacancies at Queens University Belfast

Deadline for applications: Monday 28th July 2014

Due to the successful attainment of research funding there are 2 vacancies for Research Associates at Queens University Belfast.

The successful applicants will be working on a large NIHR funded cluster RCT investigating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a novel physical activity loyalty card for behaviour change. The posts are due to start in September. The application deadline is 28th July 2014.

For more information about the 2 roles, please follow the links below.

A: 42 month post doc in physical activity:


B: 2 year post doc in behavioural economics:


If you have any queries, please contact Ruth Hunter on 028 906 32947 or e-mail ruth.hunter@qub.ac.uk

Vacancy within DECIPHer – Research Associate (Community Trials)

As DECIPHer continues to develop it’s research team, a new vacancy for an additional Research Associate has become available. Please see the job advert details below.

Deadline for applications is Tuesday 22nd July 2014.

Post Reference Number 2281BR
Job Title Research Associate (Community Trials)
Job Category Academic – Research
Career Pathway Research
School / Directorate SOCSI – Cardiff School of Social Sciences
Advert The post is an ideal opportunity for a postdoctoral researcher keen to develop a career in public health intervention research and the postholder will be supported in developing their own research portfolio. The successful candidate will work with senior colleagues in DECIPHer in writing and submitting research funding applications. In particular, the postholder will be a key member of teams taking forward methodological research in  the development and evaluation of complex interventions. The appointee will be expected to conduct and lead work in the context of transdisciplinary research teams and will play a core role in PHIRN (Public Health Improvement Research Network).

This is a full-time post of 35 hours per week and is fixed-term until 31 March 2015

Salary:  £30,728 to 36,661 (grade 6) per annum

Date Posted: Monday 30 June 2014

Closing date: Tuesday 22 July 2014

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Simon Murphy or Dr Adam Fletcher (Tel 029 2087 9609 EmailMurphyS7@cardiff.ac.uk or FletcherA@cardiff.ac.uk))

To view the full job description and person specification please click here and search for job reference 2281BR.

Healthy Ageing: The importance of a healthy lifestyle Conference and Public Lecture

Date: Thursday 30th October 2014
Conference: 1.00pm to 5.30 pm
Public Lecture: 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm
Venue: All Nations Centre, CF14 3NY

The Background:

Wales has been described as ‘the sick man of Europe’. The Wanless Report ‘Securing Good Health for the Whole Population’ stated that health services are unsustainable in their current form unless members of the public are ‘fully engaged’ and take responsibility for their own health.

The Evidence:

A thirty years research study in Caerphilly has shown that the following of a healthy lifestyle is associated with reductions of over 60% in a number of chronic diseases, including dementia, together with the postponement of disease for up to 12 years. Yet, when the study was set up in 1979, less than one percent of the subjects in the study followed a fully healthy lifestyle, and thirty years later the Welsh Health Survey, commissioned by the Assembly, shows that this proportion has not changed.

The Conference

The healthy behaviours – non-smoking, a low body weight, regular exercise, a healthy diet and drinking within the guidelines – will be examined. Possible ways of increasing uptake , and possible new initiatives will be considered.

The Conference will be chaired by Julie Williams, Chief Scientific Officer, Wales and speakers will include: Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, Professors Longley, Steve Rollnick, Colin Dayan, Rhodri Martin, Tony Bayer, John Gallacher and Peter Elwood.

The Public Lecture

Professor Mark Drakeford AM, Minister of Health and Social Services will give the evening Public Lecture:‘HEALTH – our responsibility’. The Minister will describe his strategy for the improvement of public health throughout Wales, and will present new initiatives which will, given acceptance by the people in Wales, transforming health across Wales.


To register for this event, please visit:

Abstract submission open – Welsh Public Health Conference 2014

Deadline for submissions: 1st August 2014

Abstracts are now being accepted for posters at the Welsh Public Health Conference 2014 – A Prudent Approach to Healthier, Happier, Fairer Wales, 6 and 7 October 2014.
The main themes are:

  • Reducing harm and minimising avoidable harm
  • Tackling inequalities at a local and a national level
  • Promoting equity between the people who provide and the people who use services
  • Achieving better value in healthcare by doing some things less
  • Avoiding unnecessary interventions

For further information on how to apply, visit the Public Health Conference website: http://www.publichealthwales.org/publichealthconference#poster 

Welsh Health Survey – Have your say!

Consultation deadline: Wednesday 13th August 2014

The Welsh Health Survey (WHS) provides unique information about the health and health-related lifestyle of people living in Wales.  The Welsh Government is consulting to seek views of WHS users on the future approach to the survey. The consultation runs until 13 August, details can be found at the link below.


A short user event was held during the consultation on 2 July, at Cathays Park, Cardiff. This provided an overview of WHS and some key results, examples of how users have used information from the survey, and an outline of the key questions being asked by the consultation and the chance to give your views on some of these.

Running alongside this consultation is a wider review considering future options for carrying out large-scale surveys in Wales, including WHS, which will consider whether there is scope to combine or streamline some surveys. Information from the WHS consultation will be considered alongside this wider review of surveys to determine the future approach.

The Welsh Health Survey Team hope you will take the opportunity of this consultation to let us know your views and help shape the future direction of the survey.

Call for applications to the Tenovus PhD Studentships 2015

Deadline: 4pm, Wednesday 15th October 2014

Tenovus are pleased to announce that they are continuing our tradition of supporting young and early career researchers by inviting applications for PhD studentships in cancer research, both in the laboratory and in the social sciences. They are looking for projects that address the issues faced by people affected by cancer today, and the best methods of preventing and treating cancer in the future.

These studentships are scheduled to commence in October 2015 and will be for a period of up to four years at a maximum of £30,000 per annum for laboratory based projects, and £20,000 per annum for non-laboratory projects.

Where can I find more information?

For further information about the call, please download and read the PhD call document. If you would like additional advice, please contact phd@tenovus.org.uk or call Anita Howman on 029 2076 8895.

How can I apply?

Applications must be submitted using the online form by 4pm on Wednesday October 15th, with decisions expected by March 2015.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD application and would like to work with DECIPHer then please contact us decipher@cardiff.ac.uk or 02920 879053.

To see some examples of current Tenovus PhD projects, click here.

UK Congress on Obesity

Date: 16th & 17th September 2014
Venue: University of Birmingham

The Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) will be holding its first two day annual national congress at the University of Birmingham between September 16-17th 2014.
The Association invites all colleagues in the field of obesity prevention and treatment, research, practice and policy to participate in this two day UK Annual Congress on Obesity.

Deadline for symposia submissions is NOW CLOSED.

Event registration and booking details can be found here.

The Provisional programme can be found here.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Professor Ian Macdonald, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Julian Hamilton-Shield, University of Bristol
  • Dr Giles Yeo, University of Cambridge
  • Professor John Blundell, University of Leeds

For more information please visit the ASO website.

Alcohol Research UK Small Grants Scheme now open!

Deadline for receipt of applications – Wednesday 16th July 2014

Funding of up to £5000 is available for various activities that are directly relevant to Alcohol Research UK’s priorities. See the funding criteria below.


Small grants could fund small research projects or pilot studies up to £5,000 in total. The following criteria are used to judge all applications for small grants:

  • Does the project address one of our priorities?
  • Does the project have the potential to make a significant new contribution to the alcohol evidence base, either in its own right or as a precursor to a larger project?
  • Are the aims well defined and achievable?
  • Are the methods clear, appropriate and realistic?
  • Is there a sound evaluation component to check whether aims have been achieved?

Preference will be given to projects that will have a demonstrable impact.

Alcohol Research UK is unable to contribute to the running and general costs of organisations, make donations or fund ongoing service provision.

Small Grant Application Form for a Project


Applications may be made for a contribution towards running a suitable conference of up to £1,500 subject to the following criteria:

  • The conference would help to disseminate important new evidence or theories;
  • It has clear relevance to our current priorities; and
  • There would be some post event evaluation regarding the influence on policy and practice, Alcohol Research UK would be provided with a conference report and the support of Alcohol Research UK would be clearly acknowledged in conference literature/publicity.

Small Grant Application Form for a Conference

Presenting at a Conference:

Applications may be made for up to £300 to present at a conference findings that are directly relevant to Alcohol Research UK’s priorities.

Small Grant Application Form for Presenters

For more information visit the Alcohol Research UK website.