Funded PhD opportunities

Evidence based dentistry and efficiency: modelling allocative efficiency in NHS children’s dental services

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK students only)
  • Department: Dental Academy
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Kristina Wanyonyi, Prof Dylan Jones, Prof Chris Louca

Project code: UPDA4050218

Project description

Oral conditions affect 3.9 billion people (Marcenes et al., 2013), yet dental diseases are preventable (Petersen, 2008). Tooth decay remains one of the most common diseases of childhood (Selwitz et al., 2007). Thirty one per cent of children across England under the age of 5 suffer tooth decay (Public Health England. National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England, 2016). The impact of poor oral health in childhood is felt throughout the life course (Bernabe and Sheiham, 2014).There are recommendations to prevent dental disease in children such us twice a year application of fluoride varnish (Public Health England et al., 2014). In a study by Wanyonyi et al., (2015), only 13.% of course of care in England administered to children involved fluoride varnish application. Considering the recommendation from the Delivering Better Oral Health Toolkit of Prevention (Public Health England et al., 2014), this is low. In addition, the NHS cost of £3.4 billion annually with majority of children in England attending for these dental services (NHS England, 2014).

Evidence suggests that prevention is a low priority (Batchelor and Sheiham, 2002, Pearce and Catleugh, 2013). Wanyonyi et al., 2015, modelled scenarios which tested how delegation of prevention to dental care professionals could potentially increase evidence based practice in state funded dental care. However, a more encompassing model that also includes health outcomes and cost-effectiveness has been proposed as a follow-up to that modelling exercise. This is the subject of this study. To utilise operational research and health economics to outline an efficient model that considers patient risk factors, evidence based practice, workforce, treatment demand and cost- effectiveness. Health economics techniques such as data envelopment analysis have been used to consider technical efficiency in dentistry (Hill et al., 2017). However describing technical efficiency does not manage evidence based quality care as part of efficiency. This project will employ mixed method research and operational research techniques to model an efficient evidenced-based state funded dental service. A combination of the operational research techniques and operational modelling techniques will be used to measure efficiency, analytical hierarchy processes to elicit stakeholder preferences, and extended goal programming to suggest improvements and investigate regional and stakeholder disparities will be used.

The study will address the question of what improvements need to be made in order to bring the inefficient practices in evidence based dental care to an efficient level, and what is the most cost effective way of doing so?

Supervisor profiles

Dr Kristina Wanyonyi

Prof Dylan Jones

Prof Chris Louca

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 Kristina Wanyonyi at (02392 845746) or Prof Dylan Jones at (02392 846362).

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: UPDA4050218.

Interview date: TBC

Start date: October 2018.

Funding notes

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.

The above applies for Home/EU students only.

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