The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a PhD Graduate Fellow to undertake research on Taenia solium control in small holder pig value chains in East Africa through an ex-ante impact assessment. The fellowship is hosted under ILRI’s One Health Research, Education and Outreach Center in Africa (OHRECA), Neglected Zoonoses theme.
Application Deadline: 15th May 2021
About the Award: The zoonotic tapeworm Taenia solium, as the aetiological agent of neurocysticercosis, is the leading cause of acquired epilepsy in endemic counties and has been estimated to have the greatest global burden of any foodborne parasite. The parasite has been identified as a target for control in the ‘Roadmap for Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases’ and the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution 66.12. We are ‘tool ready’ for successful control and the efficacy of a ‘One Health’ approach to control, combining interventions in the human and porcine hosts have been demonstrated through modelling approaches and within several large scale trials, including randomised control trials. Despite this success, we are still lacking robust evidence for the long-term effectiveness of interventions and to demonstrate that they are cost-effective, locally acceptable, sustainable and scalable. We also require a greater understanding of the wider societal implications of these control programs regarding the impact on other foodborne hazards & neglected tropical diseases (specifically Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminths) and on the productivity, profitability & equity of the pig production enterprises.
To date, models and intervention trials have demonstrated the need for targeting the parasite in the human and porcine host in order to achieve significant levels of control. Full engagement of pig farmers, including providing them with the responsibility and agency to deliver a safe and quality product to market, has not yet been considered in many T. solium interventions and without appropriate economic incentives farmers have demonstrated a lack of willingness to pay for the, highly effective, T. solium vaccine (TSOL18). Combining a T. solium specific intervention with a context-appropriate vaccination for production limiting disease was demonstrated to be cost-effective in Laos PDR and strengthening the meat inspection capacity to create a dis-incentive for farmers to present T. solium infected pigs to slaughter is hypothesised to have a positive benefit-cost ratio for farmers to take up a vaccine-oxfendazole intervention at their own cost.
Uganda has one of the largest pig populations in East Africa. The North-east of the country appears to be a high-risk area for T. solium transmission and studies have demonstrated neurocysticercosis in people with epilepsy in this region. This project will model different intervention options to determine the economic impact from the perspective of a range of different stakeholders to inform control programmes going forward.
Project Title: Taenia solium control in smallholder pig value chains in East-Africa – An ex-ante impact assessment.
The key responsibilities for this PhD fellowship are:
- Undertake a rapid assessment of the pork value chain in the districts of interest.
- Drawing on primary and secondary data sources, use system dynamics modelling to undertake an ex-ante impact assessment of T. solium control strategies.
- Assess options for private public partnerships and multi-sectoral collaboration and cost sharing for NZD control, including stakeholder perceptions and acceptability.
- Education and training
- Master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment in a relevant area to the proposed research project.
- 1st Class or 2nd class, (upper division) Bachelor’s degree.
- Ability to write and speak English to the requirements of the University of Liverpool which can be found here; https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/international/apply/english-language/postgraduate-entry/
- Experience and skills
- Previous experience of undertaking research.
- Experience of economics, public health, epidemiology, evaluation.
- An understanding of food systems, gender science and the sustainable development goals.
- Previous research experience in economic evaluation, system dynamics models.
- Previous experience of intervention trials.
- Ability to work for weeks/months in developing countries.
- Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully.
- Able to work in transdisciplinary project.
- African nationals are encouraged to apply.
- The selected candidates will be required to be present for an interview (online) which will be recorded as per University of Liverpool policies.
- The scholarship will commence June 2021.
- Willingness to engage in frequent field travel.
Eligible Countries: African countries
To be Taken at (Country): ILRI Uganda or Kenya (with extensive travel to Uganda).
Number of Awards: 1
Value of Award: ILRI will offer a monthly stipend to cover living expenses in the project location, medical insurance, research expenses and university fees. The successful applicant will be expected to register at the University of Liverpool.
Duration of Award: 3-4 years, full-time study.
How to Apply: All applications MUST include the following (applications not containing these documents will not be considered):
- A cover letter addressed to Head of Capacity Development, expressing interest in the fellowship position and the motivation. The position title and reference number (REF: GF/ILRI/AHH-OHRECA/07/2021) should be clearly marked on the subject line of the cover letter.
- CV including names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience.
- Academic qualification certificates/transcripts.
Applications must be submitted through our recruitment portal http://ilri.simplicant.com/ on or before 15 May 2021.
Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.
To find out more about ILRI visit http://www.ilri.org
- It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.