The Bloomsbury Colleges | PhD Studentships | Studentships 2013 | From Agricultural to Non-Agricultural Ways of Life
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From Agricultural to Non-Agricultural Ways of Life - What are the Impacts on Non-Communicable Disease? A Mixed-Methods Approach Using the Apcaps Cohort Study

Principal supervisor: Dr Sanjay Kinra (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

Co-supervisor: Professor Bhavani Shankar (School of Oriental and African Studies

The rise of non-communicable disease (NCD) in low and middle income countries is widely recognised as a threat to sustainable economic development.

The research community recognises the need to explore the drivers and risk factors associated with the NCD epidemic, particularly. The Bloomsbury Colleges are particularly interested in the role of non-health sectors such as agriculture on NCDs. Alongside the development and analysis of macro-level policies there is a need to understand how related changes at the community level affect health outcomes.

In Andhra Pradesh, India, under the guidance of researchers at LSHTM and the National Institute of Nutrition, a trans-generational cohort study (APCAPS) has tracked a rural community since 1987. Until now the focus of research has explored the early life nutritional and genetic determinants of chronic disease but the richness of data presents an exciting opportunity to investigate hypotheses concerning the relationships between lifestyle factors, NCDs and environmental changes associated with agriculture. Taking advantage of unique data from a 'natural' intervention in rural India this research will provide a rich picture of the impacts of agricultural shift on the health of individuals in India.

Aims and Objectives:

To examine the shift from agricultural to non-agricultural ways of life on lifestyle factors and NCDs.

i) To examine the associations between occupational status and lifestyle factors and NCDs.

ii) To compare the food and activity environments of communities that are predominantly agriculture and non-agricultural.

iii) To understand the perceptions and attitudes of the changing food and activity environment in both agricultural and non-agricultural groups.


This studentship would execute a mixed-methods programme of research that combines quantitative analysis of the existing APCAPS dataset with a programme of qualitative research.

Essential requirements

1. Masters in a Public Health or related social science field

2. Good knowledge of statistical and qualitative analysis methods

3. Willing to spend 12-18 months based in India during the PhD, and work/stay in a rural setting

4. Understanding of environmental drivers of NCDs in India


1. Experience of living and working in India, preferably in a public health context and a rural setting

2. Experience in non-communicable disease prevention research or programs

3. Experience of data analysis of large quantitative datasets using STATA software

4. Experience of using qualitative methods

5. Experience of environment characterisation or use of mapping software

Key References

EntEngelgau MM, Karan A & Mahal A (2012) The Economic impact of Non-communicable Diseases on households in India, Globalization and Health, 8/9 doi: 10.1186/1744-8603-8-9

Report of an LCIRAH Workshop (2012) The Role of Agricultural and Food Systems Research in Combating Chronic Disease for Development, London July 2-3 2012, London

Dangour AD, Green R, Barbara Häsler B, Rushton K, Shankar B & Waage J (2012) Linking agriculture and health in low- and middle-income countries: an interdisciplinary research agenda, Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 71/2 pp 222-228 DOI:

Hawkes C, Turner R & Waage J (2012) Current and Planned Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition: A Mapping and a Gap Analysis: A Report for DFID; Accessed online 15/10/2012:

Further details about the project may be obtained from:

Principal supervisor: Sanjay Kinra,,

Co-supervisor: Bhavani Shankar,,

Further information about PhDs at LSHTM is available from:

Application forms and details about how to apply are available from:

or via The Registry, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, United Kingdom, Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7299 4646, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7299 4656, email:

Research Degrees Administrator: Jenny Fleming,, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7927 2491

Those interested in being considered for this studentship should:

1. Indicate on page 10 of the LSHTM application form that they wish to be considered for this award

2. Submit all of the following documents by the application deadline:

  • Completed application for LSHTM Research degree study
  • The supporting documents listed under the checklist on page 10 of the LSHTM application form, including CV and two references

If you are not entitled to the lower Home/EU fees, please state how you plan to fund the balance of the fees.

Closing date for applications is 5 April 2013