LISS Research Assistant Internship – Improving how we support people in self-isolation

For thousands of years, self-isolation has been one of the cornerstones of any public health response to an infectious disease outbreak. Preventing people from passing on their illness to others can slow, or entirely halt, an outbreak. TheCOVID-19 pandemic saw millions of people enter self-isolation. More recently, the monkeypox outbreak in the UK has seen people being asked to isolate for up to three weeks. But self-isolation only works, if people adhere to it. We do not have good data on rates of adherence, but some evidence suggests that they may be low, with people leaving isolation for exercise, to go to the shops, or even to go to work. Why is this? And what can we do about it?Answers to these questions are urgently being sought by Government departments and public health agencies. This project will review the literature, provide the answers and develop a best practice guide for public health teams and policy makers. It is a collaboration between senior scientists at King’s College London, the University of Cambridge, and the UK Health Security Agency – interest in the results has already been expressed at very high levels.

The student will work as part of a larger team on a systematic review of the literature relating to self-isolation. They will conduct the literature search, quality appraisal of the literature, and synthesis of the results. We expect the student to co-author the eventual paper(s), the final report to UKHSA, and to present the findings to senior colleagues. We’re happy to discuss exact roles and to develop the work to support the student’s progression.

By the end of this project, the student will: a) have developed experience in conducting a rigorous systematic review; b) have experiencing liaising with public health, policy and academic teams, and developed an understanding of the role of applied science in shaping policy; c) co-authored publications and expert reports; d) gained experiencing communicating behavioural science to interested, intelligent audience with no experience in the field; e) gained experiencing working in a high-impact team used to working rapidly in response to public health crises.

The student will report to Professor James Rubin OBE. James is the Director of the Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response, and will lead this review. They will work with a small team of post-doctoral staff and PhD students also allocated to the project, drawn from the two partner organisations that run the Unit: King’s College London and the UK Health Security Agency.

Experience working on a systematic review would be helpful, but is not essential.

For more information and how to apply please contact

Closing date for student enquiries about the internship: December 2022