Scientific Positions

Phd Position in Register-Based Psychiatric Epidemiology at the National Centre For Register-Based Research, Aarhus University 932695

Mental disorders are now recognized as major contributors to the burden of disease worldwide. The Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study estimates that the contribution of mental disorders to the total worldwide burden has increased from 3.5% in 1990 to 5.5% in 2015 with depressive disorders ranked as the top-5 most burdened cause of years lost living with disabilities.

The National Centre for Register-based Research (Aarhus BSS) are looking to appoint a PhD candidate (PhD student – a 3-year appointment) in the field of psychiatric epidemiology, with a focus on register-based studies of the burden of mental disorders in Denmark. The PhD candidate will join a multidisciplinary team funded by a Niels Bohr Professorship (Danish National Research Foundation), awarded to Prof. John McGrath.

Danish health registers provide a remarkable opportunity to estimate health metrics related to the burden of disease (e.g. prevalence, age of onset, mortality). In collaboration with researchers from the University of Queensland, and the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (Washington University, Seattle), the PhD candidate will apply developments from the Global Burden of Disease project to Danish mental health estimates. In particular, the candidate will explore patterns of comorbidities linked to mental disorders, and how these impact on outcomes such as disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

The PhD candidate will also explore known gaps in Danish registers (e.g. under-reporting of mild depression) and explore ways to impute these estimates based on community-based surveys. The candidate will learn about contemporary health metrics and data visualization techniques, and will have the opportunity to spend time in Australia and/or the USA working with our international collaborators.

Notice that we are advertising a PhD in Health Economics related to the same project - please see above.

The successful candidate should have a strong academic background. Prerequisites are:
≥A completed degree in mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, human medicine, biomedical sciences or public health.
≥Fluency in spoken and written English. Danish is an advantage
≥A strong interest in psychiatric epidemiology and in the application of novel statistical methods in large-scale datasets
≥An inquisitive mind-set and the ability to plan, organise and execute work independently

Strong assets include:
≥A completed MSc-level thesis
≥Authorship of peer-reviewed publications
≥Experience in using Excel and statistical software such as SAS, R or Stata
≥Experience with the presentation of research results

The successful candidate will be employed in a fixed-term position at the National Centre for Register-based Research (NCRR), Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University (AU), Denmark. The candidate will work in close collaboration with Prof. John McGrath (AU and University of Queensland), Dr. Kim Moesgaard Iburg (Department of Public Health, AU), Prof. Harvey Whiteford (University of Washington and University of Queensland), Prof. Thomas Munk Laursen (AU), Dr. Oleguer Plana Ripoll (AU), and with senior staff from the National Centre for Register-based Research.

Information about PhD at Aarhus University can be found here: As a PhD student, you will be remunerated according to the relevant basic salary scale of the collective agreement depending on whether or not you have been employed after completing your Master’s programme. For PhD students without any seniority, the start salary per 1 April 2017 amounts 26,073 DKK per month (3,503 EUR) including supplements. In addition to the salary, a PhD student is eligible for a pension plan under which pension contributions corresponding to 17.1 per cent of the salary will be paid in.

The PhD fellowship project must be ready for application for the February 2018 application round at The Graduate School of Health, Aarhus University ( with an expected start on the PhD programme from May 2018. It is a requirement that the successful candidate applies for and is approved for enrolment as a PhD at Aarhus University. The application for enrolment is separate and will have to be submitted in accordance with the open call of the Graduate School, Health, Aarhus University. This open call can be accessed here:

For further information, please contact John McGrath ( or Kim Moesgaard Iburg (; +4587168031).

Applications must contain the applicant’s CV, motivation letter, list of grades, plus name, address and phone number of at least 1 referee, and must be sent by email to Oleguer Plana Ripoll ( by October 31st, 2017 at the latest with title “PhD position in register-based psychiatric epidemiology”. Interviews will be held during November in person or via Skype.


All applications must be made online and received by:

Please apply online here

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