Development of a core outcome sets for stillbirth research in LMICs

Location: Zimbabwe   

Registration: Women’s University of Africa    

This project will focus on developing a core outcome set (COS) for stillbirth research in LMICs. COS are defined as an agreed standardised set of outcomes that should be measured and reported, as a minimum, in all clinical trials in specific areas of health or health care. 

COS can enhance the relevance of research by ensuring outcomes of importance to health service users and other people making choices about health care in a particular topic area are measured We will tackle some of the methodological questions experienced within low-resources settings (including outcomes for economic evaluation) based on established priorities. Including 1) Understanding the challenges and best practices of developing a COS within a low resource setting, with particular emphasis on moving forward global patient and public involvement in research through knowledge exchange activities. 2) Capturing novel methods and processes in high quality research undertaken in these challenging settings with respect to core outcome set development. 3) Adding a global component or consideration to core outcome set development methodology to ensure the results are more broadly applicable, and to bring the experience in these challenging settings to ensure widening participation of COS development across LMICs.

Where does the project lie on the translational pathway: T2(human/clinical research)

Workstream outputs: Tools (guidance packs) to appropriately design and implement Global COS development studies with sufficient LMIC representation; 2) A paradigm shift in COS development practices by empowering researchers to consider LMIC in their designs, increasing COS scope and reducing research waste; 3) Engagement with diverse knowledge user groups, including the Global Health Network and the International Public and Patient Involvement Network as knowledge brokers in the co-production of research in a wide range of countries, stakeholder groups with different cultural, democratic and political contexts; 4) To produce the first generation of COS development experts from an LMIC setting.  

Training opportunities: Evidence synthesis, COS methodology, expert consensus including Delphi, qualitative approaches. Participatory and mixed methods. Community engagement and involvement, dissemination skills.

Skills required: Understanding of current context and adverse perinatal outcomes in LMICs. Previous experience of systemic review and qualitative data collection. Midwifery or public health background would be desirable. Previous experience of participatory approaches would be an asset. Strong communication and organisational skills. 

Funding Package and Study Route

Successful candidates will study as a full-time, the PhD student registered at WUA. This studentship opportunity will provide funding for the duration of 36 months from the date of registration. This equates to:

  • Full time PhD registration fees at WUA
  • Stipend to cover living costs at local rates
  • Travel, accommodation and subsistence allowance for selected in-person Unit meetings and networking
  • Funded visit (year 2 TBC) to UK to meet with UK supervisors and wider research teams 

Eligibility & Entry requirements:

Nationality and right to study requirements

Fellowship funding is ONLY available to nationals of countries and territories that are eligible to receive Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). A list of countries and territories that are eligible for ODA is available here.

We are unable to accept applications from candidates from high income countries as stipulated above. Nationality and location will be determined via the information provided within your application. Candidates must also be able to demonstrate that they have right to study in the country that the project is based for which they wish to be considered at the time of application. Applications from candidates that do not meet nationality and location requirements will be rejected upon receipt.


  • Obtained (or expected to obtain) an honours degree (minimum Upper Second) and/or a master’s degree in a relevant subject (International qualifications need to be of equivalent standard, as defined by NARIC)
  • OR in exceptional cases Professional registration (e.g. Midwife, Nurse or Allied Health Professional) and substantial, demonstrable work at postgraduate level (including research methods training) undertaken for the equivalent of one-year full time 

English Language

The PhD programme at WUA is delivered in English and you must ensure that you meet WUA’s English language entry requirements so that you have the skills to pursue your chosen course of study successfully and can participate in all aspects of academic life.

Other requirements

PhD programmes will offer combination of in person and remote learning, to maximise flexibility but are offered on a full-time study basis. Therefore, students must also demonstrate in their application the time and commitment for PhD study:

  • Full time hours availability for the three-year programme
  • If seconded from employment, support, and approval from your employer for study time
  • Consistent computer and IT access
  • Internet connection, up to date windows software, webcam and microphone 

Application Procedure

Interested candidates should go through the following procedures:

  1.  Access the following link to the application system:
  2. Attach and e-mail or post the following documents by 30th of September 2021 to:

Email address:

Postal address:

The Admissions Office
Women’s University in Africa
P.O Box GD 32 Greendale

Or hand deliver at:

Women’s University in Africa
Number 549 Arcturus Road, Manresa Park

a) Research proposal (2000-3000 words) –The research proposal should contain:

  • Title of Project
  • Introduction and Background of the study
  • Statement of the problem
  • Research objectives/questions or hypothesis
  • Justification of the study
  • Research Methodology

b)      Research plan – Briefly outline when and where the different components of the research project shall be carried out.

c)      Simplified budget – Please provide a budget outlining each cost associated with carrying out the research project and a rationale for each expenditure.

d)      Personal Statement (see application form)

e)      Detailed CV

f)       Certificates


1. Closing date for submitting a research grant proposal:  30th of September 2021

2. Notification to applicants of the Selection Committee’s decision: 29th of October 2021

3. Commencement of PhD studentship: January 2022 (TBC)

Further information: For informal discussion prior to submitting your application please email the following:

Prof Jamie Kirkham (    
Dr Unice Goshomi –   or
Prof B. C. Chisaka-  or