PhD Studentship in Comparative Effectiveness of Cervical Cancer Screening Policies in Zambia
University of Bern Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine

PhD Studentship Position in Comparative Effectiveness of Cervical Cancer Screening Policies in Zambia - A Mathematical Modeling Approach

The Center of Excellence in Decision-Analytic Modeling and Health Economics Research (CoE-DAMHER) at the Swiss Institute of Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine (sitem-insel), led by Dr. Rowan Iskandar, and the HIV, Hepatitis, and Tuberculosis Research Group at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, led by Prof. Dr. med. Matthias Egger, offer this PhD studentship opportunity.

Period: PhD contract (100% funding) for 3 years with a starting date no later than July 2022
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. med. Matthias Egger and Dr. Rowan Iskandar
Place: University of Bern

The PhD project aims to assist policymakers in Zambia in deciding on the optimal cancer screening policy for women living with HIV. The project will be nested within the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS Southern Africa collaboration (IeDEA-SA) consortium.

Under the supervision of Prof. Egger and Dr. Iskandar, the student will engage in method research, specifically, in the development of (1) a modeling framework that is amenable to various data sparsity situations and (2) a stochastic model to emulate the transmission dynamic of HIV and HPV and cervical (pre-)cancer progression. The method work will draw upon approaches from quantitative disciplines such as stochastic process, simulation modeling, and epidemiology. The student will also conduct cost-effectiveness analyses of different cervical cancer screening policies. In addition, the student is expected to liaise with project partners in Zambia, contribute to ongoing activities within IeDEA-SA, present work at international conferences and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals.

  • Master's degree in Operations Research, Applied Mathematics, Engineering or Statistics,
    a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics/Statistics and a Master's degree in a quantitative discipline (eg Epidemiology, Economics, or Data Science)
  • Strong interest in global health and public health research
  • Familiarity with the concept of mathematical modeling for chronic and infectious diseases
  • Knowledge of infectious disease epidemiology
  • Strong mathematical foundation for acquiring necessary skills in advanced modeling methods
  • Experience with R and/or Python for modeling and statistical analyses
  • Excellent English proficiency in writing and speaking
We offer
  • Inter-disciplinary research environment addressing pertinent public health topics using mathematics, clinical epidemiology, and biostatistics
  • Highly connected global research network within the University of Bern and sitem-insel
  • Salary according to the pay scales of the Swiss National Science Foundation for PhD students
  • Enrolment in a graduate school of the University of Bern ( or
Application requirements
  • CV
  • A letter of motivation highlighting your relevant experience and skills for the PhD project (max. two pages)
  • A writing sample
  • Official transcripts from bachelor and master programs
Please send the above documents as a single PDF to For informal inquiry about the opportunity, please contact Dr. Rowan Iskandar (

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