Postdoc Datasets for Health System Infrastructures and Resources
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed shortcomings in the basic functions of every health system around the world. Future stressors such as accumulating effects of financial constraints and burned-out workforce could result in worse outcomes. There is no doubt that we need to improve the infrastructures of our health systems - in any country - to a lesser or greater degree. To aid health systems improvement, the WHO has recently launched a conceptual framework to assess health system performance. This is a general framework to help policy-makers identify where to put their resources to improve health system performance.
However, this WHO conceptual framework is only a start. The current guidelines focus on health system functions, rather than assessment of what is an acceptable, good, or insufficient level of performance. Further, no guidelines have been developed for how to collect this data, leaving gaps with respect to comparability, generalisability, security, and responsible data standards. Lastly, while there are pockets of information accessible, currently no global database exists that allows researchers to answer health system performance related questions, that would then aid policymakers to prioritise their resources to achieve the outcomes they desire.
This position aims to address these gaps by:
(1) identifying the relevant health system indicators and thresholds for assessing health system performance in terms of its infrastructure and resources (including, for example, workforce availability, critical medical devices and equipment supply chain, drug availability, health technology management, data and informatics infrastructure). The WHO conceptual framework and related literature will be used as a starting point, further informed by key informant interviews and expert consultations (conducted together with the research team)
(2) develop a data collection method for gathering data on the above indicators (including, for example use of routine data in different contexts, surveys, key informant interviews). Importantly, the method will respect responsible data standards, and perform in resource-sparse areas.
(3) pilot collecting the data for the dataset in a number of different countries, and – if possible – over time via appropriate methods (by the postdoctoral researcher themselves, and supported by PhD candidates and MSc students as part of their final thesis projects)
(4) analyse the data for selected questions to assess and compare health system performance objectives by using techniques such as self-organizing maps to identify similar countries or patterns; or principal component analysis to identify vulnerabilities of the health care system (other or additional innovative methods welcome)
(5) develop a plan to extend the data collection to more countries and multiple points in time (leading to a longitudinal dataset). This needs to be made available in an open-source form for researchers and policymakers worldwide to be able to access for their own purposes.
Following the new multi-annual strategy 2022-2025, ‘health’ is now a core domain focus for our faculty. You will be joining an existing community of researchers and educators bringing innovative and scientific breakthroughs to solving the complex socio-technical challenges within health systems. You will be supervised by Dr. Saba Hinrichs-Krapels; Prof. Alexander Verbraeck and Prof. Tina Comes, and work in a multi-disciplinary team in close collaboration with other leads in health systems (Dr Katerina Stankova, Dr Samantha Copeland and Dr Irene Grossmann), while supporting communication and networking activities to strengthen the ‘health’ domain in the faculty.
- You are a highly motivated and enthusiastic researcher (F/M) with the ambition to conduct high-quality interdisciplinary research bridging qualitative and quantitative methods;
- You have a PhD in Data Science, data analytics, managing databases, or related discipline (essential);
- You have experience in data collection, using any appropriate method (essential);
- You are an independent and original thinker with a creative mindset (essential);
- You thrive in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment and look forward to interacting with researchers and experts on different domains (essential);
- You have an excellent command of spoken and written English and good communication skills (essential)
- You have excellent study results, and academic writing skills are regarded as assets (essential);
- You have experience of identifying methods for collecting data in contexts where data collection is challenging or poor routinely collected data exists (desirable);
- You have knowledge of health systems (desirable) as well as solid programming skills (desirable).
Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.
At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.
Challenge. Change. Impact!
Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.
For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and there is an international primary school.