Te Pūnaha Matatini Scholarships

Mapping antimicrobial use

Mapping antimicrobial use

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine, used to treat infectious diseases and prevent infection in vulnerable humans and animals. A 2014 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that within a decade, antibiotic resistance will make routine surgery, organ transplantation and cancer treatment life-threatening.

In this project, we will build a picture of antibiotic use in New Zealand which includes both human and agricultural use. Such a map will highlight potential breeding grounds for antibiotic resistant bacteria that should help in the development of policies to tackle antibiotic resistance.

The project will be part of Te Pūnaha Matatini (TPM), which is the New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems, Data and Networks, and will be co-supervised by TPM investigators with various backgrounds. Student background and interest could determine some directions for the project, which will be located at the University of Auckland.

Eligibility
This project would suit either a mathematician/computer scientist with an interest in infectious diseases, or a microbiologist/molecular biologist with an interest in computing. Some fieldwork may be involved. Applicants will need to meet the eligibility criteria for the University of Auckland.

Total value
The three-year scholarship covers PhD tuition fees (for a domestic or international student) and a stipend of NZ$27,300 per annum.

How to apply
For more information contact and to apply, please contact:
Dr Siouxsie Wiles
University of Auckland
New Zealand
s.wiles@auckland.ac.nz

The science of science funding

The science of science funding

A PhD scholarship is available for supporting a mathematics, computer science, economics or theoretically inclined physics graduate to study the science of science funding.

Are public research funding mechanisms effective or not? This project involves developing econometric models of the research process that include researchers and projects, with measures of:

  • team formation, by looking at the evolution of collaborations using network analysis;
  • effects of public funding on research outputs, by comparing funded and unfunded projects, controlling for selection bias using referee scores and other evaluation measures;
  • research impact, by linking identified funded projects and researchers to appropriate metrics and indicators of impact.

The PhD project will be carried out under the supervision of Prof Shaun Hendy at the University of Auckland and Dr Adam Jaffe at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, as part of Te Punaha Matatini, which is the New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems, Data and Networks.

Eligibility
Applicants should ideally have a First-Class Honours degree in Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics, or Physics (or an equivalent 4-year degree qualification) and satisfy the University of Auckland’s entry requirements for PhD study.

Total value
The three-year scholarship covers PhD tuition fees plus a non-taxable living allowance of NZ$27,300 per annum. The starting date can be anytime from 1 November 2017.

How to apply
For further information and to apply, please contact:
Prof Shaun Hendy
Te Pūnaha Matatini
University of Auckland
New Zealand
shaun.hendy@auckland.ac.nz

Investigating prioritisation strategies and effects in patient pathways

Investigating prioritisation strategies and effects in patient pathways

Patient pathways are complex, involving many steps and the use of resources that are often limited, e.g., surgical teams, or required by many different pathways, e.g., imaging and diagnostics. Prioritising one patient pathway’s access to a resource may have adverse effects for other pathways that also need that resource.

Determining effective prioritisation strategies for patients requires modelling of the complexity of patient pathways, their use of resources, and the effect of different prioritisation strategies. It also requires the consideration of appropriate metrics, in order to define a “good” prioritisation strategy. One of our particular interests is in accumulating priority queues where both acuity and waiting time contribute to a patient’s priority.

Feasible accumulation rates can be chosen to satisfy specified performance objectives for each class, where the objectives are in terms of percentage of patients seen within a prespecified time (metrics common to several health systems, including those in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). However, such objectives may incentivise bad behaviour, particularly, the “dropping” of patients who have breached the threshold. There is, therefore, also the question of what are the “right” metrics for patient pathways.

This project will develop a portfolio of possible metrics for health care provision and within each metric, develop analytical methods for modelling the system performance and optimising patient flows. The aim of this work is to provide recommendations on prioritisation of patients, both tactical (how to route) and policy-based (how to measure) for patient pathways.

Eligibility
This project requires a strong mathematical background, with knowledge of probability and stochastic processes.

Total value
The three-year scholarship covers PhD tuition fees plus a non-taxed living allowance of NZ$27,300 per annum. The starting date can be anytime from 1 November 2017.

How to apply
For further information and to apply, please contact:
Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins
Department of Statistics
University of Auckland
New Zealand
i.ziedins@auckland.ac.nz

Econophysics

Econophysics

A PhD scholarship is available for supporting a theoretically inclined physics or applied-mathematics graduate to undertake a study of information flow in the innovation system.

More specifically, advanced models for network growth will be utilised to study patent-citation dynamics and advanced statistical tools will be applied to patent data sets, with the aim to develop models for the dependence of patent-citation rates on inventor or firm proximity effects.

The PhD project will be carried out under the supervision of Prof Michele Governale and Prof Ulrich Zuelicke at the Victoria University of Wellington and Dr Dave Maré at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, as part of Te Pūnaha Matatini, which is the New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems, Data and Networks.

Eligibility
Applicants should ideally have a First-Class Honours degree in Physics or Applied Mathematics (or an equivalent 4-year degree qualification) and satisfy Victoria University’s entry requirements for PhD study.

Total value
The three-year scholarship covers PhD tuition fees plus a nontaxed living allowance of NZ$27,300 per annum, which is a comfortable living salary in Wellington. The starting date can be anytime from 1 November 2017.

How to apply
For further information and to apply, please contact:
Prof Michele Governale
School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand
michele.governale@vuw.ac.nz
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/scps/