Dr Thandie Hara

Dr Thandie Hara

Sophie Dodman BMedSci

Sophie Dodman BMedSci

The Three Degrees

No – not the female vocal trio from Philadelphia! … but the two PhDs and one Batchelor of Medical Sciences degree, awarded to current or former ESMI staff and students at the university’s summer graduation last week.

At the ceremony in the Great Hall on the 19th of July, we are proud that Sophie Dodman received her BSc, with 1st class honours, in Medical Sciences. Sophie had spent the third year of her four-year degree on a Professional Training Year placement as a researcher in the PenTAG research group, producing health technology assessments for NICE.

This experience has clearly inspired her, as she has landed a great job with Evidera - a consultancy firm which conducts analyses to demonstrate the effectiveness, safety, and value of biopharmaceutical and biotechnology products. We thank Dr Jo Varley Campbell and others in PenTAG who pursued the opportunity to have Sophie join us, and mentored her while she was a member of the team.

At the same ceremony, former ESMI student Thandie Hara was awarded her PhD, which recognises the high quality and originality of her research into the implementation and sustainability of public health programmes (supervised by: Rob Anderson, Mark Pearson, Sarah Dean). The core of her research showed how public health programmes can become sustainable in the longer term. But sustainability is not simply long-term implementation; it relies on the consistent presence of five ‘mechanisms of sustainability’ - credibility, simplicity, marketability, contextualisability, and justifiability - which interact with progressing stages of the implementation process.

Thandie’s achievement is all the more admirable because she completed her PhD while bringing up a young family.  Thandie has recently started a job with the University of Oxford as their Senior Regional Knowledge Exchange Officer.

And the third degree, unfortunately awarded on Friday in his absence, was for Chris Cooper’s PhD in the field of information science.  Chris’s PhD was entitled Improving literature searching in systematic reviews: the application of tailored literature searching compared to ‘the conventional approach’ (supervised by Ruth Garside, Nicky Britten, and Chris Hyde). Chris was Senior Information Specialist at PenTAG and then ESMI from 2009 to 2017, and much of his PhD research built on innovative searching techniques that he had pioneered on systematic reviews on public health and health technology topics.

We all know that getting a good degree is hard work. They are also in part a reflection of the unstinting support of partners, families and friends. So all of us at ESMI also pass on our congratulations to Alun Gwernan-Jones (you would never guess … the husband of our delightful ESMI and EST colleague Ruth Gwernan-Jones) for gaining his BSc in Medical Imaging on the same day!

We bask in the glory of your achievements, and wish you all well with your exciting careers! Be sure to stay in touch now.

Want to study for a PhD with us?

If you are interested in doing a PhD in any of our fields of research and methods (systematic reviewing, evidence synthesis, evidence-based policy, economic modelling, technology assessment, information science) please contact any of our senior researchers or academics to make an enquiry. Or if you are unsure who to ask, call or e-mail Rob Anderson r.anderson@exeter.ac.uk to discuss your specific research interests and career ambitions.