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Declaration of interest regarding PhD project: Screening for cardiovascular effects of prescription medication

Clinical Pharmacology, Pharmacy, and Environmental Medicine at the Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health, University of Southern Denmark, is offering a fully financed position as PhD student. The position is to be filled from March 1st, 2022, or at the earliest convenient date thereafter.

The PhD project is funded by the Danish Independent Research Council and the University of Southern Denmark and is part of an overarching project entitled ‘Hypothesis-free screening for adverse events: A new approach in drug safety research’. The abstract for the full project is included below, and a brief video explanation is available here

The specific project for the PhD student will correspond to ‘work package 1’ in this project. Specifically, it will involve setting up a large-scale hypothesis-generating screening of the associations between prescribed medicine and cardiovascular safety outcomes, as well as two methodological projects (testing the system’s capacity to detect the known cardiovascular safety signal with rofecoxib and testing the feasibility of implementing high-dimensional propensity scores in screening studies). Finally, the PhD student will be involved in the replication activities around potential findings from the hypothesis-generating screening.

The PhD student will be part of the pharmacoepidemiological research group within our department. This highly multidisciplinary group is led by professors Jesper Hallas and Anton Pottegård and comprise approx. 30 individuals that focus on registry-based research covering all aspects of drug use, effect, and safety. The group is highly recognized within pharmacoepidemiology and has a very large international network. Further, the group collaborates extensively with the rest of the department and other groups, including both clinical and basic pharmacology research.

Our group has been successful in attracting and training excellent young researchers and supporting the next generation of pharmacoepidemiologists is a priority to us. We will therefore give preference to candidates that have demonstrated an interest in research and that we find will be able to contribute to the development of the department as well as pharmacoepidemiology in general. We offer a strong internal training program and experienced supervisors, including the main supervisor Anton Pottegård, who have strong track records in training young researchers and for whom supervision and training are central priorities. You will be part of a larger group of PhD students from different fields with a strong tradition for collaboration and support between peers, and will be trained not only in pharmacoepidemiological methods, but also project management and other meta skills that we consider crucial to becoming a top-tier researcher.

Fluent English (both written and spoken) is required. You can expect to be involved in additional projects across the department, also outside the core activities outlined above. Experience with epidemiology and in particular programming using statistical software is considered a strength, although it should not be viewed as a requirement to apply.

For questions and clarification regarding this position, you can reach out to Professor Anton Pottegård at 0045 65503024 or

Abstract for the overarching project – Hypothesis-free screening for adverse events: A new approach in drug safety research
Use of medication has increased dramatically over the last decades and consequently the burden from adverse events associated with use of medication is also increasing. Still, the cornerstone of drug safety surveillance, the analysis of spontaneous adverse event reports, remains largely unchanged. This is highly problematic due to several well-established limitations to this system, hindering timely detection of many adverse events or leaving them unrecognized altogether. Efforts to improve the current system provide only incremental improvements, as the core limitation relates to the underlying type of data: The single spontaneous adverse event report. There is an urgent need to develop and test new methodology to utilize other data sources in proactive drug surveillance. With this project, I wish to address this knowledge gap by developing methodology allowing hypothesis-free screening of real-world healthcare data in drug safety research. Specifically, I propose four work packages tackling (i) design challenges related to the detection of adverse cardio-vascular events, (ii) use of ‘active comparators’ to reduce confounding, (iii) prioritization of signals, and (iv) automated external replication of potential safety findings. Together, their successful completion will transform drug safety research by establishing hypothesis-generating screening studies as a new approach, which can ultimately change pharmacovigilance practices worldwide.

Applications must include:
• At letter stating the interest, motivation and qualifications for the project (max. 2 pages) - upload under “Application form”.
• Detailed CV, including personal contact information
• Certified copy of diploma (Master’s degree in a relevant field)

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online".

Attached files must be in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb.

Project description: please upload a blank file. The chosen candidate will make their own project description.  

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. This also applies to reference letters.

Closing date January 30th 2022
Successful candidates will be asked to send an application to the PhD Secretariat, Faculty of Health Sciences, to be enrolled as PhD students.

The PhD programme will be carried out in accordance with Faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order).

The terms of employment as a salaried PhD Research Fellow are stated in the Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC).

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Send application
Deadline 2022-Jan-30

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Health Sciences by completing the application form