Funded PhD Opportunities

Towards a cost-effective approach for UK lung cancer screening using simulation

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK/International)
  • Department: Operations and Systems Management
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Huijing Chen, Professor Ashraf Labib, (External advisor: Professor Sally Brailsford)

Project code: ACEF3890218 

Project description

Lung cancer kills more people in the UK than any other cancer. The five-year survival rate is less than 13% and lagging behind Europe. This is mainly because the majority of patients are detected when the cancer are at advanced stages, when treatment has very little effect on survival. The US National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) showed a 20% reduction in lung cancer specific mortality for patients screened with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). The NEdelands-Leuvens Longkanker Screenings ONdezoek (NELSON) trial is the largest lung cancer screening trial in Europe, and it showed a reduction of lung cancer mortality of at least 25%. The pilot UK Lung Screening (UKLS) was not powered to evaluate mortality reduction, but nevertheless, the results showed that it was possible to detect lung cancer at an early stage using LDCT screening. Over 85% of lung cancers detected in the pilot study were stage I or II, and over 90% of these were able to receive potentially curative treatment. Although the results were encouraging and potentially life-saving for future lung cancer patients, the UK full screening study was not funded.

This is where simulation can be an effective tool in terms of time and cost to evaluate the effectiveness of lung cancer screening. In this proposed project, simulation will be used to model long-term cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screenings. Simulation experiments can provide insights into important decisions such as population selection criteria and alternative screening strategies.

The main aims are: (1) Comparing and developing lung cancer screening selection criteria, (2) Simulating the long-term health and economic benefits of lung cancer screening, and (3) Modelling human behaviour in lung cancer screening.

Supervisor Profiles

Dr Huijing Chen, Senior Lecturer

Prof Ashraf Labib,Professor of Operations and Decision Analysis

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Huijing Chen at (02392 844025) or Professor Ashraf Labib at (02392 844729).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

When applying, please quote project code: ACEF3890218.

Interview date: TBC.

Start date: October 2018.

Applications should include

  • a full CV including personal details, qualifications, educational history and, where applicable, any employment or other experience relevant to the application

  • contact details for two referees able to comment on your academic performance

  • a research proposal of 1,000 words outlining the main features of a research design you would propose to meet the stated objectives, identifying the challenges this project might present and discussing how the work will build on or challenge existing research in the above field.

  • proof of English language proficiency (for EU and international students)

All the above must be submitted by the 11th of February 2018. 

Funding notes

UK/EU students -  The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

International students - International students applying for this project are eligible to be considered for the Portsmouth Global PhD scholarships.

Research at Subject Group Operations & Systems Management

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