Improving data accuracy for economic evaluation

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Health economic evaluations provide information that support resource allocation decisions. Cost data is one of the key components and precise and reliable cost estimates form the foundation of the outcomes. Despite the importance of cost estimates, the inclusion and quality of these estimates are frequently lacking and seldom addressed in the literature.

While many studies have moved to using linked administrative data to improve accuracy, there are several cost components that cannot be collected from this source including costs such as non-prescription medicines, and costs borne by society such as productivity losses. Cost diaries – based on self-reported resource use and associated costs - are frequently used to supplement cost data. Many of the health economic evaluations conducted by the Menzies health economics department use cost diaries.

Whilst cost diaries have been widely used, there are several limitations of these, including missing data, excessive participant burden and recall bias. To date, despite their common and deficiencies, no study has quantified the quality of the data from cost diaries, evaluated the deficiencies or methods to improve the usefulness and accuracy of data collected in this way. As such the aims of this PhD project are to:

  1. Identify methodological approaches to the development and use of cost diaries;
  2. Assess the accuracy of data collected in cost diaries; and
  3. Co-design a cost diary template

To address aim 1, a systematic review will be conducted to summarise the content, domains, structure and delivery approaches, along with response rates.

For aim 2, the accuracy of cost diary data will be evaluated through triangulation of three Menzies-based datasets that use cost diaries linked to administrative datasets: the Australian Multiple Sclerosis Longitudinal Study (AMSLS), Quality of LifE and Costs AssociaTed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Study (QUIET-IPF) and the Epidemiology and Health Economic Aspects of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ANCHOR Project) datasets.

For aim 3, the evidence generated from the two previous studies.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Barbara de Graaff


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Background in health economics and/or public health

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Barbara de Graaff l to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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