PhD Scholarship Opportunity - Statistics

Job No: GEORGE166
Location: Newtown, Sydney

The George Institute is 700 people around the world, all focused on improving the health of millions of people worldwide. As a medical research institute affiliated with leading universities and with projects in approximately 50 countries, we are challenging the status quo in healthcare to:

  • Find better treatments for the world's biggest health problems
  • Transform primary health care to support better health for more people
  • Harness the power of communities, governments and markets to improve health

Our innovative commercial enterprises help maximise our impact. Please visit our website to read more about how we are addressing the world's biggest health problems.

A scholarship is available for a suitably qualified candidate to undertake a 3 year full-time PhD, based at The George Institute for Global Health / University of New South Wales.

Clinical trials are costly and often take a long time to reach completion. Interim monitoring, and, more generally, adaptive designs, use accumulating trial data to make decision about changes to the trials while it is ongoing. These changes include, but are not limited to, stopping an arm for early efficacy, stopping an arm for futility, changing the random allocation ratio to favour more promising arms, changing the endpoint. The ability to make robust early decision based on accumulating evidence has the potential to reduce the trial duration, the number of patients exposed and ultimately the cost. The goal of this research is to assess the impact of a consistent application of interim monitoring methods including the potential economic impact to the health system.

After reviewing existing methods and performing a review of interim monitoring methods applied to intensive trials to date, we will apply selected methods to several trials previously completed by the George Institute. This application will tell us what would have happened to the trial (e.g. stopped early for efficacy, stopped early for futility) under a range of approaches. Following this, we will try and model the potential economic impact on the health system. Finally, we would apply recommended approaches to the design of a new prospective trial.

The student will gain expertise in the design and implementation of innovative clinical trials that have the potential to decrease the cost of clinical research and influence the future conduct of clinical trials in Australia and internationally. This is an opportunity to work with a large, well-established internationally renowned research team of experts in clinical trials, statistics and critical care.

Funding Body

University of New South Wales / The George Institute for Global Health


Assessing the scientific and economic impact of interim monitoring and trial adaptation in intensive care trials.


  • Associate Professor Laurent Billot, The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Sydney, Australia
  • Professor John Myburgh, The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Sydney, Australia
  • Professor Martin Gallagher, The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Sydney, Australia
  • Professor James Wason, Newcastle University, UK
  • Professor Stephen Jan, The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Sydney, Australia

Research Areas

Clinical Trials, Biostatistics, Critical Care

Award Type



  • van Werkhoven CH, Harbarth S, Bonten MJM. Adaptive designs in clinical trials in critically ill patients: principles, advantages and pitfalls. Intensive Care Med. 2019 May;45(5):678-682.
  • Flight L, Arshad F, Barnsley R, Patel K, Julious S, Brennan A, Todd S. A Review of Clinical Trials With an Adaptive Design and Health Economic Analysis. Value Health. 2019 Apr;22(4):391-398.


  • Masters degree in statistics
  • Experience in statistical design, programming, analysis and reporting for biomedical and / or health research
  • Experience in conducting methodological research applicable to biostatistics
  • Working knowledge of R software
  • Well-developed written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills

Award Amount

The scholarship stipend is $40,000 per annum per year for 3 years. Students will be supported to apply for competitive scholarship funding.

Application Guide

Applications to include a cover letter, current CV, copy of academic transcripts and the names and contact details of at least two referees.

Closing Date


Our big and bold mission to improve the health of millions of people worldwide needs a diverse and innovative team to deliver it. So we foster a dynamic, inclusive and flexible workplace where each individual can bring their best selves to work.

Everyone is encouraged to apply, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with a disability, LGBTIQ people and mature-aged adults.

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