Collaborative (CASE) Studentships- projects & applications

LISS DTP’s Collaborative (CASE) Studentship competitions promote partnerships between social scientists at King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College and end-user, non-academic organisations (public or private or third sector ‘partner institutions’).  A CASE studentship is a PhD studentship in which the student enhances their training by working closely with the non-academic partner in the development of their research project.  They are a great way to initiate longer-term partnerships and to ensure the ‘impact’ of doctoral research.  These studentships will cover tuition fees plus a stipend.  There will also be opportunities to apply for additional funding in aid of the student’s training development and research activity.  There are a mix of +3 (PhD only) and 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) opportunities, which represent some of the broad range of interdisciplinary social research themes being investigated by LISS DTP staff and students.

The CASE competition will run on a yearly basis for the duration of LISS DTP, with initial calls for proposals from academics within the LISS DTP partnership launching in September and closing in November.  Successful projects to be funded will then recruit students, if a named student is not already linked to a project, from December through to March.

Students applying for CASE studentships must meet the ESRC eligibility guidelines in terms of UK/EU residency status and academic qualifications, specifically core social science research methods training that must already have been undertaken (for +3 awards) or will be undertaken at Masters level (for 1+3 awards).  Please check these guidelines, particularly those for residency, before making an application.

Our CASE studentships to start October 2020 are now recruiting students; please see the opportunities below. You can also see CASE studentships that LISS DTP has funded to date.

Please contact academic leads directly or follow the link for further details to find out more about individual projects and the application process and documents. Projects must complete the student selection process by the 15th March 2020, but will set their own application deadlines.  LISS DTP (liss-dtp@kcl.ac.uk) can answer any general questions regarding the application process, core methods training requirements etc.

2020 Projects Recruiting Students

Institution: Imperial College London

Academic LeadDr Caroline Howe

Partner: United Nations Environment Management Group

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the Imperial  MSc in Environmental Technology

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: tbc

Application deadline: 16th February 2020 11.59pm

Project summary:

The world is a complex place that cannot be simply understood through the study of one system or working within one sector. In 2015, the United Nations released the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 inter-related global goals that provide a blueprint for peace, prosperity and environmental protection. Unfortunately, despite the holistic nature of these goals they are often considered independently, both in terms of how they are implemented and how progress towards them is monitored. In particular, how the environment interacts with economic and societal goals is very difficult and not well-understood. At the same time, the UN system itself is not uniform in its approach to the implementation of the SDGs and how it tackles environmental issues. Consequently, different agencies within the UN system have their own mandates with respect to environmental issues and the SDGs more broadly, and there is limited collaboration across the UN. In 2014, the UN System Wide Framework of Strategies on the Environment (SWFS) was proposed as a collaborative framework to support the wider UN system in delivering on the environmental dimensions of the SDGs. To date, however, this has had little success and the aim of this project to support the improved development of the SWFS and also provide data to demonstrate how environmental issues underpin the delivery of the SDGs as a whole. The project will explore the relationships between the environment and wider sustainable development goals and explore how different UN agencies interact, particularly within the sphere of sustainable development and environmental management. Ultimately, the project will deliver an improved SWFS alongside a test-case report evaluating the applicability of this new system. The project will draw on quantitative and qualitative data collection and analytical techniques and work across both the academic and policy-making sectors. Overall, the outcomes of this project will feed directly into how the SDGs are delivered across the UN system and consequently, across the world.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead Juliet Foster

Partner: Student Minds

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the King’s MSc in Mental Health Studies.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: https://www.smarten.org.uk/peer-support-phd  

Application deadline: 16th February 2020

Project summary:

A recent large-scale international study identified that 31% of students screened positive for at least one common mental health disorder in the past year (Auerbach et al., 2018). As the number of students reporting mental distress and seeking support from University support services increases, organisations including Universities UK and Student Minds are advocating a settings-based approach, considering mental health across the whole institution. This approach favours grassroots participation (Muntaner et al., 2000): peer support can be conceptualised one such ‘organic’ approach. Bringing together students with similar experiences to share knowledge for mutual benefit is expected to allow people to give and receive help (Mead, Hilton, & Curtis, 2001) and reduce loneliness (Solomon, 2004), building the form of social support that is protective against the development of depression (Hunt & Eisenberg, 2010).

This project will evaluate the efficacy of peer support groups for depressive symptoms, comparing outcomes for students who do and do not engage with groups. This is ground-breaking research; while there has been extensive research into the efficacy of interventions focused on the individual student, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, peer support in universities has received minimal attention.

The project will use a mixed methods approach. Mental health and wellbeing outcomes will be compared for students who do and do not attend peer support groups. Qualitative research, including interviews and focus groups, will be undertaken to build a deeper understanding of the impact of peer support as an ‘organic’ settings-based approach.

As part of their collaboration with the project, Student Minds will offer the holder of the studentship a three-month work placement, to gain an understanding of support and policy activity. The project will link into other relevant work being undertaken by the UKRI funded Student Mental Health Research Network (SMaRteN).

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead Juliet Foster

Partner: Student Minds

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the King’s MSc in Mental Health Studies.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: tbc

Application deadline: tbc

Project summary:

Organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2011) and the Higher Education Policy Institute (2016) have raised concerns about the mental health of university students. The number of students reporting distress is rising (Neves & Hillman, 2017), as is demand for professional support services (Institute for Employment Studies, 2015). It is suspected that less than a third of students who report experiencing distress are receiving support (Wadman et al., 2019). Policy makers recognise that expanding professional support is not a viable solution; it would perpetuate a deficit model and maintain the assumption that the solution to mental health problems rests within the voluntary scope of the individual. A settings-based approach, that considered mental health across the whole institution has been advocated (e.g., Universities UK, 2017 and Student Minds, 2018). An ‘organic’ settings-based model takes the assumption that while health problems predominantly seen to lie within the wider system, the solution lies in the multitude of day-to-day processes and practices that constitute the whole (Whitehead et al., 2001). This approach favours grassroots participation (Muntaner et al., 2000), where activity focuses on strengthening collective participation and action (Beattie, 1987). Peer support can be conceptualised as an ‘organic’ approach. Bringing together students with similar experiences to share knowledge for mutual benefit, is expected to allow people to give and receive help (Mead, Hilton, & Curtis, 2001) and reduce loneliness (Solomon, 2004), building the form of social support that is protective against the development of depression (Hunt & Eisenberg, 2010). By supporting non-professionals to develop skills to foster better mental health, peer support builds community resilience. While there has been extensive research into the efficacy of interventions focused on the individual student, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, there are substantive gaps 3 / 12 in the data for more holistic approaches (What Works Wellbeing, forthcoming). Peer run programmes for depression have been shown to produce significant reductions in depressive symptoms and perform as well as professional-led interventions and significantly better than no-treatment conditions (Bryan & Arkowitz, 2015; Pfeiffer et al., 2011). This project will assess whether these findings replicate among university students. Working with our charity partner, Student Minds, the project will evaluate the efficacy of peer support groups for depressive symptoms, comparing outcomes for students who do and do not engage with groups. Outcomes will also be monitored for students who start groups but subsequently drop out. Qualitative research to build a deeper understanding of the impact of peer support as an ‘organic’ settings-based approach.

Institution: Imperial College London

Academic Lead: Dr Weston Baxter

Partner: IOTA Foundation

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only). Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: tbc

Application deadline: tbc

Project summary:

Without understanding ownership, we can’t fully appreciate what it means to steal, lend, buy, sell, gift or borrow. The infringement of privacy as well requires that we first have something (personal space, information, etc) which is shared with others that are not intended. Many of these issues have been resolved for at least the past century as the idea of ownership has been an implicit part of much of daily lives and a backdrop to what we do. This is largely because innovation was happening in line with our traditional socio-technical interactions. Such interactions have been challenged in recent years through advances in technology enabling services that challenge traditional notions of ownership which has brought the principle to the fore. What does it mean to own one’s data resulting from internet use, the hot desk that changes each day at work, the car you only use for an hour to run to the shop or the appliance you have on a long-term lease? All these scenarios are service innovation cases enabled through technological advances that have subsequently challenged the way we transact. In many cases, the foundational technology has been solved to roll out these new models but tensions remain around the proper understanding and implementation of ownership. The result includes calls (and actions) to upend the business models of technology giants through legislation, push against trends within corporate offices, limit the adoption of car sharing and realise the promise of IoT-enabled business models. Critically, in these and other examples, the issue is not who legally owns something but the extent to which a person feels that something is theirs. It is this experienced ownership that needs to be understood to enable service innovation. Issues around ownership within service innovation arise for at least two reasons. The first is that companies discount the importance of ownership as it is seen from a legal perspective and is subsequently reduced to utilitarian use rather than the broader experiential value gained. The second reason that issues arise is that the implicit role ownership plays in many interactions leads to it being overlooked. If we are to achieve much of the promise of service innovation for smarter cities and social transformation, we need to rethink how to place ownership at the core of what we do and explicitly design for it. This project explores experiential ownership to enable 3 / 10 digital innovation in contexts such as sharing within smart cities. Specifically, the project develops a framework for designing for ownership of digital objects such as one’s data and explores the outcomes of high and low ownership for such objects (e.g. trust, stewardship). This new understanding will form the basis of how companies can then integrate digital technologies such as digital ledgers, the internet of things and more to support service innovation.

Institution: Imperial College London

Academic Lead:  Dr Fei Teng

Partner: Baringa Partners LLP

Studentship type +3 (PhD only).  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details:

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/ (Imperial College London PG Application Link)

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/f.teng (Primary Supervisor, Dr Fei Teng)

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/r.green (Co-supervisor, Prof Richard Green)

Application deadline: 15th February 2020

Project summary:

The future power system will be characterised by increasing amounts of intermittent renewables, distributed resources and consumer participation. As a result, market agents and operators will face a more complex, volatile and unpredictable electricity market. Simultaneously, the EU’s transparency regulations are providing a growing repository of publicly accessible market and physical system data. AI tools, such as algorithmic trading and reverse-engineering algorithms, present a promising avenue for market participants and system operators to increase gross margin, reduce trading efforts, and increase accessibility. Despite these potential benefits, the impact of the changing market dynamics is not fully understood and in other industries similar changes have led to collusive outcomes. In particular, having in depth knowledge of competitors’ bidding strategies through reverse engineering could allow an agent to exercise market power. Reverse-engineering other market actors’ trading strategies also raises important questions regarding the ethics of AI and its implications for intellectual property rights. However, reverse-engineering these bidding strategies can also help detect collusive behaviour.

In order to understand these impacts on electricity markets, this PhD studentship proposes to answer the questions “to what extent publicly available data on the energy system can be used to reverse-engineer trading strategies?”, “how agents may behave in a market with varying conditions to today’s market”, “what impact having such information would have on the functioning of the market?” and “how regulation needs to be developed to facilitate the applications of AI”. The student will investigate the AI techniques for energy market applications, develop a multi-agent assessment framework, quantify the market impact of AI applications and inform the development of market and regulatory framework.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic LeadKia-Chong Chua

Partner: South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only) .  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: https://twitter.com/zZread/status/1217031579110989824

A fully funded PhD studentship (tuition fees plus stipend) is available for supporting an outstanding candidate to embark on a project that addresses knowledge gaps in generating evidence for quality improvement in healthcare. The candidate should have a strong foundation in quantitative social science. They must have an interest to develop interdisciplinary scholarship in psychometrics, health economics and quality improvement. The candidate will work closely with the central quality improvement unit and actively engage Trust-wide senior management of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. At the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, they will be hosted by a vibrant academic faculty with world leading expertise in implementation and improvement science.

Informal inquiries to kia-chong.chua@kcl.ac.uk  

Application deadline: tbc

Project summary:

The CASE PhD studentship project will develop a measurement system for evaluating return on investment (ROI) of quality improvement projects in mental health services of the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Foundation Trust. Quality improvement in healthcare has seen a surge of investment amidst times of austerity in the UK. Very little guidance exists for evaluating return on investment, particularly in mental health NHS Foundation Trusts. This impedes communication with healthcare leaders and boards regarding the extent quality improvement is achieving its full potential within the organisation. A robust ROI measure will make it possible to generate regular reports for healthcare leaders. These routine reports can provide a big picture to give healthcare leaders strategic insights about the extent resource commitments in quality improvement paid off. On this basis, decisions can be made about investment strategies for capacity building and training. We would also be able to compare NHS Foundation Trusts in terms of ROI of their organisational strategies and quality priorities. By generating insights on ROI, the routine use of this measure can also foster a culture of organisational learning that is pivotal for a learning healthcare system. The research will involve integrating knowledge and methods from psychometrics, health economics, and the interdisciplinary social science fields of implementation and improvement sciences. The first priority is to clarify the concept of ROI so that we have an appropriate basis to generate insights for healthcare leaders. The links between ROI and Value Based Healthcare will be of particular interest. Across King’s Health Partners, Value Based Healthcare is established as a key approach to achieve better outcomes and experiences for every person with the equitable, sustainable and transparent use of the available 3 / 12 resources. We will explore these links in the research literature as well as through individual/group interviews with the executive leadership team (e.g., Chief Medical / Financial / Operating Officer) as well as the senior management team (e.g., Clinical / Service Directors). Based on these initial insights, we will develop field-test version of a ROI measure through group consultation in various stages. The groups comprise both the executive leadership and senior management teams who will review content validity and item design, as well as debate on implementation issues like acceptability, reach, and sustainability of routine ROI reports. The newly developed ROI measure will be field-tested with data from three psychiatric hospitals of SLaM (Bethlem Royal Hospital, Lambeth Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital). The validation study will refine the field-test version and derive a final version that can be embedded in routine evaluation to inform organisational decision making on quality improvement investments.

Institution: Queen Mary University of London

Academic Lead: Dr Gabriel Gari

Partner: UK Department for International Trade

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the  MRes in International Law

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: to follow

Application deadline: 2nd March 2020

Project summary:

This project is concerned with the impact of technological changes on trade governance. Multilateral trade rules were originally designed to facilitate trade in goods in the 1940s and last updated to cover trade in services in the early 1990s. New digital technologies are changing the means for trading, the content of trade and the traders themselves. Data localisation measures and internet access restrictions are replacing tariffs and quotas as the new barriers to trade. The aim of the project is to assess the extent to which current trade rules are suitable for securing an open and non-discriminatory, but also safe and trustworthy digital market. A combination of desk research, qualitative interviews with relevant stakeholders and doctrinal analysis of relevant literature on trade governance, will be used to (a) identify policy measures affecting digital trade; (b) compare rules for digital trade included in recent Trade Agreements; and (c) find international rules and standards other than trade rules relevant for the governance of digital trade. The project will be undertaken with the support of the UK Department of International Trade, QMUL’s CASE partner for this project, giving the researcher access to a wealth of knowledge and practical experience on the negotiation of trade rules for the digital economy.

Institution: Imperial College London

Academic Lead:  Firat Guder

Partner: Hubbub Foundation

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the Imperial  MRes Business

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details:

Please submit a cover letter, CV, two letters of reference (these will be needed for your College admission too) along with the application form (can be downloaded here: tinyurl.com/grg-app) to guder@imperial.ac.uk. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. We are looking for a candidate with a background in Electrical Engineering and knowledge of chemistry who is also interested in behavioural studies concerning the interaction of humans with novel technologies.

See also:

LinkedIn Post: https://tinyurl.com/grg-opening

Twitter Post: https://tinyurl.com/yjtykpon

Application deadline: 25th February 2020

Project summary:

The freshness of packaged foods is estimated by the “use-by” date that appears on the packaging. This date, however, does not reflect the actual state of freshness of the consumable, because it is dependent on, in addition to formulation and packaging, the storage and processing conditions. “Use-by” dates, which are approximations, lead to substantial food waste by consumers as they do not provide information concerning the actual freshness of the product in real-time.

The Guder Research Group at Imperial College has recently developed a new sensor technology (Barandun et. al., ACS Sens. 2019) that can measure food freshness in real-time and could replace the “use-by” dates to prolong shelf-life, reduce food waste and foodborne illnesses caused by spoiled foods. The sensors are printed paper-based electronic labels, that are applied to the packaging containing the fresh product, and detect gases released due to microbial spoilage of food in real-time. The sensors can be interrogated using near-field communication (NFC) enabled smartphones wirelessly and do not require additional hardware.

 

The project involves continued engineering development and testing to study how the technology would be used and its potential impact on food waste.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead: Dr Kate Schreckenberg

Partner: International Institute for Environment and Development

Studentship type:  +3 (PhD only) .  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/esrc-case-phd-studentship-the-contribution-of-equitable-governance-of-protected-areas-to-achieving-effective-biodiversity-conservation/?p117925

Application deadline: 14th February 2020

Project summary:

Protected areas (PAs) are a key tool for combating extreme rates of biodiversity loss. We have almost reached the 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas which Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) mandates should be conserved in ‘effectively and equitably managed … protected areas’ by 2020. However, concern is growing that, in the rush to meet targets, there has been less focus on whether PAs are either effective or equitable. This study contributes to an exploration of the ‘instrumental’ (as opposed to the moral) argument that more equitable governance results in better biodiversity outcomes. It builds on an international effort led by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to develop and roll out a practical tool – ‘Site-level Assessment of Governance and Equity’ (SAGE), which provides data that is useful for resolving local equity issues and may also allow for some higher-level comparison.

 

The studentship aims to explore the contribution of equitable governance of PAs to the achievement of effective biodiversity conservation. It will do so by (i) assessing the extent of the correlation between equity and biodiversity outcome scores for around 30 SAGE pilot sites; (ii) developing a framework for conceptualising and analysing the instrumental pathway(s) from more equitable governance through management activities to improved biodiversity outcomes; and (iii) exploring in-depth one or more of these potential pathways in two PAs representing ‘shared’ governance between local-level stakeholders and national-level state actors. Fieldwork is likely to be in Sub-Saharan Africa (e.g. Kenya and/or Namibia, though other sites are also possible). The PhD will involve collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners working to achieve more equitable and effective conservation, with a focus on contributing to decisions of the CBD meeting in 2022.

Institution: Queen Mary University of London

Academic Lead:  Tessa Wright

Partner: Maternity Action

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the MRes Work and Organisation.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: tbc

Application deadline: tbc

Project summary:

This project examines the physical and mental impact of women’s experiences of fertility, pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding on employment, highlighting gaps in employer expectations and provision for pregnant women and women returning to work after childbirth, which may prevent women from accessing maternity-related employment rights. In partnership with Maternity Action, this study will examine the dissonance between employer expectations and women’s lived realities and seek to locate more precisely where intervention could bring about change. Through a mixture of methods, including a possible survey of employers and employees, focus groups and semistructured interviews with women, facilitated by Maternity Action, this project will explore the tensions that arise for women when trying to access their employment rights as a result of, for example, fertility treatment, pregnancyrelated illness, health and safety concerns in pregnancy, and birth and birth-related concerns as well as breastfeeding. According to data shared by Maternity Action, at least 12% of calls to its support line relate to women facing difficulties accessing such rights, pointing to tensions between what employers believe the effects of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding ought to be, and the provisions they should consequently reasonably be expected to make, on the one hand, and women’s lived experiences of the transformation of their bodies during pregnancy, birth and through breastfeeding on the other hand. This is in line with the small but growing literature on the maternal body at work which points to the ways in which maternal bodies are treated as abject, leaky, messy, fleshy and unpredictable things, contrasting with the rational, cool and measured associations we have with work, and subsequently marginalized. This project will seek to bridge the gap between employer perceptions and expectations and women’s experiences, and will work with Maternity Action’s extensive network of policy makers, employers, NGOs, trade unions and legal experts to develop recommendations based on the research findings for interventions in policy and practice. The project will strengthen the relationship between 3 / 11 Maternity Action and the Centre for Research in Equality and Diversity (CRED) in the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary – of which the two supervisors are Co-Directors. CRED undertakes critical scholarship in equality and diversity, underpinned by principles of social justice and inclusivity, and seeks to engage with the nonacademic community to produce impact from research. This collaboration will bring theoretical understanding and debate on equality, inequalities and diversity to bear on an important current area of public policy concerning the improvement of maternity rights, increasing fathers’ involvement in childcare, and balancing motherhood with employment.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead:  Dr Juan Baeza

Partner: Pembroke House

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the MSc Public Policy & Management OR  MSc Medicine, Health & Public Policy OR MPH/MSc Public Health

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/business/research/phd-pages/liss-dtp-case-studentship-pembroke-house 

Application deadline: 10th February 2020

Project summary:

The Settlement Movement in England began in the early 1880s to provide a space where an active partnership could be developed, where the university educated ‘well-to-do’ could live within poor communities to develop a social solidarity in order to build a better neighbourhood together. The settlements provided neighbourhood services such as education, training, home medicine and recreational activities. Various settlements were established in the east end and south east London. Pembroke House is one of the few surviving residence-based settlements that was founded over 130 years ago by students of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge (https://pembrokehouse.org.uk/about-pembroke-house/). During the 20th century many of the welfare services that settlements provided became municipalised and declined with the advent of the Welfare State. Most of those that continued lost their feature of ‘residence’, however, Pembroke House, still retains residence as a central feature and provides accommodation to six residents, the PhD student will become one of these. Today, Pembroke House is a hub for a number of community activities, as well as hosting many of these it also acts as an honest broker that brings various organisations and agencies together to develop innovative community initiatives. With an increasingly pluralist social welfare landscape consisting of state, charity, social enterprise, not for profit and private sectors there is a desperate need for these type of organisations that can bring disparate organisations together to do social good and a corresponding need to investigate how this might be done and what role a settlement such as Pembroke House could play. This proposal will investigate how the settlement concept fits into neighbourhood action in the 21st century. The study will investigate the following questions: 1. How does the settlement interact with other organisations and agencies? 2. How does leadership work in a settlement? 3. How can a settlement work as an honest broker? 3 / 12 4. What does the settlement concept offer to a local neighbourhood? 5. How is the settlement perceived by the local community, both users and non- users? 6. How can a settlement be sustainable? 7. What is the appropriate size for a settlement? 8. Which geographical contexts are appropriate for this type of community organisation? 9. What role does the concept of ‘residency’ provide? An integral aspect of this research is that the student will be imbedded in the research space by living within Pembroke House as a resident. This provides the perfect context for the student to carry out an ethnographic study and “tell the story of Pembroke House”. The single case study approach will allow the researcher to build a rich and in-depth narrative of the work of Pembroke House. The student will be an integral member of the Pembroke House team and will share and exchange knowledge and experiences during the research process.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic LeadDr Jonathan Reades

Partner: British Library

Studentship type: 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the MSc Urban Informatics OR MSc Data Science

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: tbc

Application deadline: tbc

Project summary:

In spite of a wide range of diversity and inclusion reviews, women remain systematically under-represented in academia, with fewer progressing from PhD to Professor than their (overwhelmingly white) male colleagues. Even in the absence of a moral case for tackling systemic bias, this represents not just an enormous waste of talent, but an undermining of the quality and extent of innovation at a time when government priorities—including a proposed increase to R&D spending of £60 billion—imply recruiting 260,000 more researchers by 2027. This project therefore seeks to enhance our understanding of how a ‘gendering’ of the research pipeline might offer insight into the challenges (and, hopefully, opportunities) faced by women as they make the transition to independent researchers. We know quite a bit (though not nearly enough) about the kinds of negative personal experiences that drive women out of academia, and we have useful snapshots of the overall composition of the academic workforce, but we know next-to-nothing about the research environment formed by the combination of discipline, institution, and department, and of how this shapes doctoral research and researchers. Natural Language Processing (NLP)—using computers to extract data from text—and Data Science (DS) approaches give us a way to bridge this gap: structured metadata on more than 520,000 completed PhDs collected by the British Library (BL) in order to promote public access to doctoral research can give us insight into who was studying what, where, and when. We propose to use this—together with data extracted from the unstructured text of more than 240,000 full theses held by the BL and Institutional Repositories—to develop a picture of the research landscape that allows us to estimate gender effects in doctoral research. We recognise that this is just one aspect of a much larger problem: the challenges faced by BAME students, LGBTQ+ students, and the intersectional challenges encountered by, for instance, women of colour, are profound. The scale and complexity of this issue lies beyond the scope of a single PhD. The project will also raise, and must actively engage with, the ethical issues implied by the need infer gender from input features—together with the uncertain impact on any conclusions that this implies—but this represents an opportunity for wider public engagement with the limits of 3 / 14 ‘ethical AI’. The focus on women in this work with ‘data exhaust’ therefore represents only a first step, but it is hoped that successes here will lead to follow-on work engaging more widely with ‘Research and Innovation Culture’ (UKRI Delivery Plan 2019) and ‘Talent, methods and leadership’ (ESRC Delivery Plan 2019). Where the interests and skills of the student allow, or opportunities for broader collaboration emerge, we would hope to conduct follow-up targeted qualitative investigation of the behaviours—such as supervision or support—of diverse research units.

2020 Projects - Student in place

Institution: Queen Mary University of London

Academic LeadDr Victoria Bird

Partner: East London NHS Foundation Trust

Studentship type:  +3 (PhD only)

Studentship start date: October 2020

Project summary:

Mental distress in adolescence (aged 10-19) is a growing concern worldwide, with up to 20% of young people experiencing mental health problems within a given year. Globally, the burden of poor mental health is greatest for low and middle-income countries (LMICs) where the proportion of young people is the greatest. In the UK, the number of young people with a diagnosable mental health condition is increasing year-on-year, and East London, one of the most deprived areas in the UK, has one of the highest rates of mental illness, and the youngest population in the country. Limited research has explored the actual lived experience of mental distress in adolescence and whether this experience differs across countries. It can be challenging to engage adolescents in research, and traditional methods such as interviews and questionnaires do not encourage participation. Traditional methods may not promote selfexpression and can be influenced by the researchers’ (adult) point of view. This PhD aims to overcome limitations with previous research by investigating whether an arts-based research method called Photovoice is an acceptable way of understanding mental distress in adolescence. Photovoice is a photography-based research method that involves participants taking photographs of their everyday experiences, and then discussing the stories surrounding these photographs within a group. The overall aim of the PhD is to explore the experience of mental distress amongst adolescents in two different deprived urban locations, East London (UK) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Through conducting the research in two different locations we will be able to compare the use of Photovoice as a methodology, and the experience of mental distress in adolescence within these two settings. Specifically, the PhD will address the following research questions: 1) Is Photovoice acceptable and feasible with this population? 2) What personal, cultural and social factors influence the experience of distress? 3) Can Photovoice be used to inform health and social policy? 3 / 15 To answer these questions, a systematic review will explore previous arts-based research methods that have been used with adolescents; secondly a Photovoice project will explore the experiences of living with an emotional disorder (depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder) with 100 adolescents (50 in East London and 50 in Rio de Janeiro). This will be explored further within an arts-based workshop in both settings with a smaller group of participants (20 in East London and 20 in Rio de Janeiro). Lastly, we will raise awareness of the needs of this population through dissemination activities aimed at engaging local communities. This will include a gallery event and photobook showcasing the photographs taken by the young people and their accompanying stories. A key output of the PhD will be evidence for the acceptability of a participatory research method, which both partners QMUL and ELFT are keen to explore.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead: Matthew Hotopf

Partner: Department for Work and Pensions

Studentship type:  +3 (PhD only)

Studentship start date: October 2020

Project summary:

In the UK, approximately 1.18 million people are accessing secondary mental health services, of which 136,00 have a serious mental health condition, such as psychosis or bipolar disorder. These mental health disorders are some of the most commonly reported working-age disabilities and an often-cited reason for claiming unemployment and sickness-related benefits. During the past decade, substantial changes have been made to the benefit system such as the introduction of the “Universal Credit” benefit to replace several other benefits. There are concerns around the impact of these changes on particularly vulnerable claimants including people affected by mental health disorders, yet there is a lack of evidence on the profiles of these benefit claimants and the types of interventions and support programs that are most and least helpful for helping this group gain and remain in work. This project aims to explore the complex relationships between employment status, social welfare and benefit receipt among people with mental health disorders using linked data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Work and Health Unit and NHS mental health medical records from secondary care services in South London and Maudsley (SLAM), providing a unique data set of 400,000 working age adults. The first research question will explore whether information on diagnosis for benefit claims to the DWP taken from GPs is consistent with secondary care service mental health data. I will explore the correspondence between benefit claim descriptions in the DWP data compared to diagnoses recorded in the SLaM data. The second research question will look at the changes to the benefit system such as the introduction of Universal credit (UC) and how this impacts the amount of benefits received and time spent on benefits before returning to work. The third research question will assess which sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity and age impact the number and type of benefits received, and time spent 3 / 14 on benefits. I will also explore what types of mental health interventions and support provided by both SLaM and DWP are available and improve return to work, and how this differs by diagnosis, ethnicity and age. Finally, I will conduct interviews to find out about the facilitators and barriers people with serious mental health disorders experience in returning to work or finding suitable alternatives, and whether they feel adequately supported. Findings will provide knowledge around what is required and most appropriate to help people affected by a range of mental health disorders to gain and maintain work or find suitable alternatives. Together with the patient and public involvement group and stakeholders I will develop practical recommendations based on the findings in order to improve upon policies relating to benefit receipt. The findings will be published in scientific journals. Findings will also be summarised using clear info-graphics that will be shared via social media and I will attend public speaking events, conferences, and community gatherings to ensure my research is disseminated widely.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead Juliet Foster

Partner: Student Minds

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the King’s MSc in Mental Health Studies.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Application details: tbc

Application deadline: tbc

Project summary:

Organisations including the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2011) and the Higher Education Policy Institute (2016) have raised concerns about the mental health of university students. The number of students reporting distress is rising (Neves & Hillman, 2017), as is demand for professional support services (Institute for Employment Studies, 2015). It is suspected that less than a third of students who report experiencing distress are receiving support (Wadman et al., 2019). Policy makers recognise that expanding professional support is not a viable solution; it would perpetuate a deficit model and maintain the assumption that the solution to mental health problems rests within the voluntary scope of the individual. A settings-based approach, that considered mental health across the whole institution has been advocated (e.g., Universities UK, 2017 and Student Minds, 2018). An ‘organic’ settings-based model takes the assumption that while health problems predominantly seen to lie within the wider system, the solution lies in the multitude of day-to-day processes and practices that constitute the whole (Whitehead et al., 2001). This approach favours grassroots participation (Muntaner et al., 2000), where activity focuses on strengthening collective participation and action (Beattie, 1987). Peer support can be conceptualised as an ‘organic’ approach. Bringing together students with similar experiences to share knowledge for mutual benefit, is expected to allow people to give and receive help (Mead, Hilton, & Curtis, 2001) and reduce loneliness (Solomon, 2004), building the form of social support that is protective against the development of depression (Hunt & Eisenberg, 2010). By supporting non-professionals to develop skills to foster better mental health, peer support builds community resilience. While there has been extensive research into the efficacy of interventions focused on the individual student, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, there are substantive gaps 3 / 12 in the data for more holistic approaches (What Works Wellbeing, forthcoming). Peer run programmes for depression have been shown to produce significant reductions in depressive symptoms and perform as well as professional-led interventions and significantly better than no-treatment conditions (Bryan & Arkowitz, 2015; Pfeiffer et al., 2011). This project will assess whether these findings replicate among university students. Working with our charity partner, Student Minds, the project will evaluate the efficacy of peer support groups for depressive symptoms, comparing outcomes for students who do and do not engage with groups. Outcomes will also be monitored for students who start groups but subsequently drop out. Qualitative research to build a deeper understanding of the impact of peer support as an ‘organic’ settings-based approach.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead: Stephani Hatch

Partner: NHS England

Studentship type: 1+3

Studentship start date: October 2020

Project summary:

As the NHS is suffering its worst ever staffing crisis, a number of non-UK studies have found that a key detrimental factor in recruitment and retention is workplace violence (Alameddine et al. 2015; Wolf et al., 2018). This issue is particularly pertinent for nurses, who are at greatest risk of workplace violence (Pich et al., 2010; Spector et al., 2014) and are also one of the staff groups in the shortest supply with 40,000 vacancies currently in the NHS. 14% of NHS staff in England are exposed to physical violence from patients, relatives or members of the public (Workforce Race Equality Standard, 2018). What we don’t know, however, is how rates of violence vary across ethnic groups. With rising crime rates in London (Metropolitan Police Service, 2019) and increasingly overburdened hospitals, nurses face additional challenges of treating victims or perpetrators of violence from their own communities. At an individual level, workplace violence can lead to depression and anxiety, absence from work, loss of good working relationships with colleagues and avoidance of the workplace (Nabb, 2000; Al-Sahlawi et al., 2003; Ryan et al., 2008; Ünsal Atan et al., 2013; da Silva et al., 2015). This, in turn, contributes to poor recruitment and retention, particularly in specialised areas which struggle to retain experienced nurses, such as emergency care, critical care and mental health. This project aims to understand the nature and impact of workplace violence on the mental and physical health of hospital-based and community nurses across ethnic groups, and the barriers to reporting these incidents, with implications for improving the recruitment of nursing students, work performance, and retention of qualified nurses. The project partners with NHS England Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and builds on the Wellcome Trust funded Tackling Inequalities and Discrimination Experiences in health Services (TIDES) study (www.tidesstudy.com), which investigates how discrimination experienced by both patients and healthcare practitioners may generate and perpetuate inequalities in health service use. Using a mixed-methods design to analyse TIDES data and follow up those who consented to be re-contacted, this project aims to: 1. Explore witnessing or experiencing violence across ethnic groups both in and outside the workplace in terms of context, type, frequency, severity and perpetrator (Study 1). 2. Examine the impact of workplace violence on mental and physical health, job satisfaction, work performance, and intention to stay in the profession and how it varies across ethnic groups (Study 2). 3. Explore what procedures are in place for reporting violent incidents and what are the barriers and facilitators to reporting (Study 3)

Institution: Queen Mary University of London

Academic Lead:  Janelle Jones

Partner: Catalyst 4 Change & Black Thrive

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only).

Studentship start date: October 2020

Project summary:

Common mental disorders (CMD), which include depression and anxiety, are a major global mental health concern. In Britain, women are disproportionally affected by CMD (19% women versus 12% men) and ethnicity adds an additional layer of disadvantage, with Black/Black British women experiencing higher rates of CMD relative to White British women (29.3% versus 20.9%). Despite this increased prevalence, Black/Black British women are less likely to seek and receive treatment, and more likely to experience poor outcomes (e.g., maladaptive coping, detention under the Mental Health Act). Understanding and addressing these mental health inequalities are imperative to ensuring that all members of society can access and obtain the support needed to fare well. Drawing on the framework of intersectionality in general, and the Strong Black woman schema in particular, the proposed research will investigate how and why gender and race might work together to shape the experience, treatment and outcomes associated with CMD among Black women (e.g., Black British women; women with Black-African and Black-Caribbean backgrounds). Through a systematic review of the literature, focus groups, an international cross-sectional survey, and in-depth interviews we will test whether beliefs and expectations about being what it means to be Black and female shape the experience of CMD, and whether these intersections, in turn, influence treatment and outcomes. Findings will provide important insights into the lived experiences of Black women with CMD as well as helping us to identify barriers to treatment and predictors of poor outcomes. This research will be conducted in partnership with Catalyst 4Change (Birmingham) and BlackThrive (London), organisations that work to develop and support Black British, African and Caribbean mental health and well-being in the United Kingdom. Our partners will help us to embed this research in the community, by connecting us with a range of stakeholders (i.e., practitioners, people with lived experiences, policymakers) to form a research advisory board. Our partners will also support our main research activities of participant recruitment, connecting us with Black women from the community with CMD, and with dissemination, by working with us to translate and findings into suitable recommendations for commissioners and service providers. This work will also add to the literature on intersectionality more broadly, providing important qualitative and quantitative data on its roles in mental health.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic LeadJayati Das-Munshi

Partner: Rethink Mental Illness

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only)

Studentship start date: October 2020

Project summary:

‘Social exclusion’ describes the process whereby certain groups are excluded from mainstream society. For example, people who have experienced homelessness, prison or engaged in sex work are often cited as exemplars. Recent evidence indicates that these groups experience extreme health inequalities, including adverse mental and physical health, elevated mortality and barriers to accessing services. Yet an understanding of how mental and physical health interact in those who are socially excluded remains poorly understood. Commentators have also called for further conceptual clarity on the nature of ‘social exclusion’ and intersectional factors (such as material deprivation, childhood trauma and social/ economic marginalisation) over the life-course which may lead to social exclusion. This mixed methods study will provide systematic assessments of physical and mental health inequalities in the above groups, enriched by the perspectives of people with lived experience of social exclusion. The CASE partner for this project, Rethink Mental Illness, are a charity known for their commitment to tackling social exclusion in people with mental illness. With their support, the student will be able to access people who have first-hand experience of social exclusion which will inform the qualitative part of the study, as well as access to service user involvement groups, enhancing co-production of the research. Rethink will provide unique opportunities for dissemination. The outputs will inform Rethink’s work with the NHS on the coproduction of community services for these groups. The project aims are to: • Assess the prevalence of mental and physical health problems for socially excluded groups, and associations with mortality. • Understand how mental/physical health comorbidities and service use interact with social exclusion The quantitative part of the study will use information from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys (APMS) from 2007 and 2014, as well as the Clinical Record Interactive Search (CRIS) case register. The APMS is a nationally representative survey with information on mental and physical health, as well as experiences of social exclusion (e.g. homelessness). CRIS is a case register of de-identified Electronic Health Records of patients using secondary mental health services in south London and will provide a clinical cohort with information on service use and deaths. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with people with lived experience of social exclusion to investigate barriers and facilitators when accessing healthcare. The outputs from this research will provide a holistic picture of the interplay between social exclusion and health.

Institution: King’s College London

Academic Lead: Ann H. Kelly

Partner: Medecins Sans Frontieres

Studentship type:  1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.

Studentship start date: October 2020

Project summary:

The accelerating process of urbanisation and massmigration present profound challenges to global health, sustainable development and the protection of human rights. To address this emerging landscape of disease risk and social vulnerability, United Nation agencies have refocused policy on the integration of vulnerable populations into cities rather than the construction of camps (UNHCR, 2014). This paradigm shift in displaced population management has considerable implications for the role and reach of humanitarian organisations, now forced to operate beyond the exigent demands of timebound emergencies and contend with the complex crises provoked by urban informality. How to provide critical medical aid and protect the human rights of this rising tide of ‘urban survivors’ raises a host of questions that cut across conventional domains of humanitarianism, emergency research, development, urban planning and occupational health. This project, embedded within the social-science team at The Manson Unit of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF-UK), builds upon MSF’s innovative efforts to initiate an urban health care programme among slum-dwellers in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In addition to the conventional health problems associated with overcrowded and substandard housing, these communities face appalling conditions working in unregulated tannery, plastics, garment and metal factories. The hazards of this ‘man-made disaster’ are extreme, ranging from disability, degradation, trauma and death caused by work-place injury and abuse to the cumulative health impacts of exhaustion, toxic exposure, self-medication and ergonomic constraints. For the first time in its history, MSF began to provide basic occupational health services (BOHS) to workers in Dhaka. How to best meet health needs of a deeply vulnerable population requires grappling with the conditions of economic precarity that force them into such hazardous occupational circumstances. Drawing upon a diverse social-science toolkit, this doctoral project examines three interlinked-lines of inquiry that emerge from and, in turn, seek to deepen and inform MSF’s work in Dhaka: 3 / 14 1)What are the everyday negotiations associated with ‘working health’ and what additional individual and public health risks (e.g. counterfeit medicines, antimicrobial resistance) might these practices entail? 2)What are the geographies of ‘working health’? Where do workers go to get a ‘quick fix’ and how are MSF services situated within these formal and informal circuits of care? 3)How do MSF workers facilitate health-decision making while addressing endemic occupational danger? In addition to informing MSF strategies to improve health access in these communities, this research will shed light on an emerging frontier of humanitarian intervention—one focused on community resilience, urban environmental health and quality of life rather than strictly emergency medicine.

2019 Projects

Academic LeadDr Chen Zhong, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Prof. Judith Green, King’s College London

Partner: London Ambulance Service NHS Trust

Studentship type: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) format.  Applicants for the +3 format must have the necessary core research methods training.  For 1+3 format, the required Master’s programme is the King’s MSc Global Health & Social Justice.

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 22 March 2019

Demand for Ambulance Services in England has risen dramatically over recent years, with growing pressure anticipated for future years. The disparity between the increasing demand and limited ambulance resources makes the major challenge for maintaining a high-quality service. In 2017, NHS England undertook a significant national reform called the Ambulance Response Programme (ARP), designed to address efficiency and performance issues. It noted the over-use of immediate dispatch decisions and the insufficient allocation of resources to incidents. Key issues concerned: the quality of care; its cost-eectiveness, and the equality of provision across areas and population groups. In view of the growing pressures of NHS, and the necessity of ambulance services to understand the needs of the populations they serve, the proposed PhD project aims to develop an advanced demand prediction model for ambulance services taking LAS as a case study. The research is to find the most correlated socioeconomic, environmental, and spatiotemporal factors and to model these factors as predictors of ambulance demand. The final component of the PhD will develop the implications of the model as Demand Management innovations, for future testing. PhD candidate selected for this project will have the opportunity to closely work with the forecasting and planning team at LAS, and research domain/centres at KCL including CUSPSUPHI and Geocomputation.

See a full project description here.

Academic Lead: Dr Deborah Chinn, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Prof. Glenn Robert, King’s College London

Partner: Choice Support

Studentship format: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants wishing to undertake the award in a +3 format must meet the required core research methods training standards.  For applicants on a 1+3 basis, the required Master’s is the King’s MRes Clinical Research.

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 22 February 2019

Around 46,290 people with intellectual disabilities live in group homes in England. In 2015 the Transforming Care programme was set up to raise the quality of these homes, so that all people with intellectual disabilities, whatever their level of support needs can enjoy opportunities for inclusion in their local communities. One of the aims of this programme is to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities ‘truly feel that where they live is their home’ (Bubb, 2014: 12).

The government has a responsibility to monitor and regulate the quality of these homes, and increasingly invites service users to contribute their views of services.  Nevertheless, but it is not easy to assess how much residents with intellectual disabilities feel ‘at home’ where they live.  Research with older people and people with mental health problems shows that these service users’ experience of home can affect their mental wellbeing and levels of meaningful activity. However, people with intellectual disabilities have rarely been asked about what makes them feel their residence is ‘homely’. The focus of this project is therefore the concept of ‘homeliness’ as experienced by people with intellectual disabilities living in group homes.

The project will be informed by principles of participatory research which aims to hand power from researchers to the disabled people taking part. The PhD student will use an arts based research method called Photovoice to involve people with intellectual disabilities in reflecting on the homeliness of their residence.  This will form the basis of a checklist to be co-designed by service users, family and paid carers and professionals, that can be used to evaluate the homeliness of other care homes. The student will explore whether this checklist is easy to use by people with intellectual disabilities and if it works effectively in practice.

This studentship would be suitable for a candidate with a background either in social sciences (psychology, sociology, anthropology), humanities (geography, art and design), health sciences, health service research, social work or social care.  Experience of working with people with intellectual disabilities, excellent interpersonal and communication skills and an understanding of the importance of reasonable adjustments in working with people with intellectual disabilities are essential for this PhD.

Academic LeadDr Alexandra Collins, Imperial College London

Co-supervisorProf. Clive Potter, Imperial College London

PartnerThe Environment Agency

Studentship format: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants wishing to undertake the award in a +3 format must meet the required core research methods training standards.

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 22 March 2019

Natural environments within towns and cities has been shown to have positive effects on health inequalities, mental health, recreation and life satisfaction. Therefore, designing towns and cities with this in mind could help to overcome the unhealthy lifestyles and increased chronic diseases that are associated with increased urbanisation, whilst at the same time protecting the environment and promoting sustainability.  However, to date most investigations of the health benefits of natural environments have typically not differentiated between blue and green space.  Therefore, this interdisciplinary PhD project will investigate the use of Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES), the “nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences” to improve understanding of how urban blue space contributes to health and wellbeing.  The project will be in collaboration with the Environment Agency, helping to address a key research gap they have identified regarding the value of water quality and management in towns and cities in order to assist with the management of these resources and sustainable land use planning.

Academic Lead:  Dr Eleanor Dommett, King’s College London

Co-supervisorDr Nicola Byrom, King’s College London

PartnerStudent Minds

Studentship format: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants for the +3 format must meet our core research methods training requirements.  For the 1+3 format, the required Master’s is the King’s MSc Mental Health Studies.

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 4 March 2019

All universities use online platforms called Virtual Learning Environments, typically to provide resources, reading lists, chat forums and lecture recordings. Universities are striving to increase use of such platforms. Two key assumptions underpin this i) students and staff are comfortable in digital environments, and ii) students appreciate the flexibility of this type of education which gives 24/7 educational provision. These assumptions are untested, and we believe if they are incorrect the increased use of virtual learning environments could be detrimental to staff and student mental health. For example, their use may contribute to a greater loneliness as more work is done remotely and create pressure to work longer hours due to the 24/7 availability.

Student mental health has been identified as a significant concern amongst key stakeholders. A recent large-scale international study identified that 31% of students screened positive for at least one common mental health disorder in the past year (Auerbach et al., 2018). Although less researched, there is evidence of increasing mental health problems in academic staff, with many at risk of burnout (Watts and Robertson, 2010). A recent survey found that 43% of academic staff exhibited symptoms of at least a mild mental disorder; this is almost twice the figure for the general population (Gorczynski et al., 2017). Although many factors contribute to mental health problems, no research has investigated the role of the educational context, specifically virtual learning environments. Given this gap in current knowledge, the aim of this project is to better understand the impact of digital education on student and staff mental health, specifically focusing on the Virtual Learning Environment, as the most ubiquitous digital tool used in Higher Education.

This research project will use a mixed-methods (focus groups and surveys) to test the assumptions around the use of Virtual Learning Environments and relate their use to mental wellbeing in UK wide university staff and students.

Academic Lead:  Dr Gerome Breen, King’s College London

Co-supervisorProf. Janet Treasure, King’s College London

PartnerBeat – the Eating Disorders Charity

Studentship format: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants for the +3 format must meet our core research methods training requirements.  For the 1+3 format, the required Master’s is the King’s MSc Mental Health Studies.

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 28 Feb 2019

Eating disorders are severe psychiatric illnesses associated with greatly reduced quality of life (Ágh et al., 2016) and increased mortality, rendering them the most lethal psychiatric disorders (Chesney, Goodwin, & Fazel, 2014). The overarching aim of this project is to explore the social and environmental risk factors for eating disorder using a re­contactable resource of individuals with a lifetime diagnosis eating disorders. Specifically, this is the UK Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative (EDGI) which launches in Feb 2018 (www.edrr.org.uk) and Charlotte’s Helix, which, together will allow the student to contact >5000 individuals with lived experience of eating disorders. This is modelled on the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression project (www.gladstudy.org.uk), which is also led by the primary supervisor.

EDGI has been designed in collaboration with our primary partner, Beat, the UK’s biggest eating disorder charity, who are also our partners on this studentship application. The student would spend 1 day per week at Beat, working with the team. We have previously worked in partnership with a parent ­led eating disorder charity, Charlotte’s Helix (www.charlotteshelix.net), and found that individuals diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are keen to participate in research through online registration, successfully recruiting >1,000 participants with a lifetime diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. In EDGI, our partnership with Beat (www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk), is allowing us to recruit participants with experience of other eating disorders ­­ bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Beat will also help publicise EDGI and host a page about the project on their website and the student will spend 1 day per week working at the Beat offices in London.

Specifically, this project will examine (i) the different associations between social risk factors (e.g. childhood trauma, social media use) and eating disorders diagnosis and severity; (ii) the influence of health seeking behaviour (e.g. exercise) on eating disorder risk; (iii) the influence of social support networks on outcomes; and (iv) does the integration of genetic risk factors add to the prediction of outcomes?

Academic Lead:  Dr James Rubin, King’s College London

Co-supervisorDr Richard Amlôt, Emergency Response Department, Public Health England

PartnerPublic Health England

Studentship format: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants for the +3 format must meet our core research methods training requirements.  For the 1+3 format, the required Master’s is the King’s MSc Mental Health Studies.

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 25 February 2019

Certain infectious diseases, including flu and diarrhoea or vomiting, spread readily among school children. To combat this, Public Health England has produced recommendations about the length of time children should be kept off school when sick. Unfortunately, these recommendations are often not followed: evidence suggests that one in six parents in England would send their child to school even if they had diarrhoea or vomiting. In this PhD, we will use interviews and focus groups with parents to understand why sick children are sent to school, and what can be done to discourage this.

We will then develop new advice for parents which we hope will increase the chances of parents keeping their children out of school when sick. To test this, we will recruit a large group of parents, and ask each parent to read either our new advice or existing messages about sickness in school children. They will then be asked to imagine that their child wakes up tomorrow with diarrhoea and to say whether they would be likely to send them to school or not. Reducing the number who would send their child to school by even a small percentage could have important public health benefits.

The project is a partnership between psychologists at King’s College London and public health experts at Public Health England, and will be based in the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Emergency Preparedness and Response. If our new intervention is successful, we hope to change the advice provided to schools and parents, and to reduce the number of children who are sent to school while ill.

Academic Lead:  Dr Miriam Goldby, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisorProf. Chris Reed, Queen Mary University of London

PartnerMaritime UK

Studentship type: 1+3 (Master’s + PhD); QMUL MRes International Business is the required Master’s programme

Please contact the project lead for more details.

The project will examine the legal implications across the global supply chain of replacing paper transport documents with blockchain records in container transportation. The use of blockchain can result in many advantages: as a secure technology, it has the potential to reduce fraud, as an electronic platform granting simultaneous access to realtime data to multiple participants in the supply chain, it has the potential to reduce delays and because it does away with the need for manual processing of information recorded on paper, it would inevitably reduce administrative costs and errors. However, the legal framework to enable and regulate potential blockchain alternatives to paper is as yet very undeveloped and there is a risk that there will be a formal legal void surrounding their use and the associated risks.

This PhD research will therefore focus on the following key questions:
1. How may blockchain be used to replace paper bills of lading with “blocks of lading” operating on global trade platforms? How might these alternatives interact with insurance and international payment systems? Could they give rise to new and innovative trade finance solutions?
2. What are the key legal issues raised by the development and use of Blocks of Lading operating on global trade platforms?
3. How would the legislative environment need to change in order to accommodate the emerging global trade blockchain
platforms? In particular:
a. Should the law’s role be enabling or regulatory, or both? Why?
b. How would disputes be resolved in the absence of an established and uniform legislative framework? What first principles would need to apply?
c. Is it likely that a normative framework would emerge on the basis of business practice/usage? If yes, how and to what extent would the courts be able to make use of it in deciding disputes in the absence of a formal legal framework?

Academic Lead:  Dr Stephani Hatch, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Dr Heidi Lempp, King’s College London

Partner: Student Minds

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only)

This studentship has recruited.

Recent survey data estimated 15% of UK university students report suicidal ideation and 3% report attempting suicide in the last 12 months. (Eskin, M. et al., 2016) A UK survey estimated 27% self report a mental health problem, with depression(77%) and anxiety(74%) related symptoms being the most common. (Aronin, S., & Smith, M., 2016) Academic-related stress, financial concerns, and poor adjustment to university life are unique psychological stressors for students in HEIs. (Stallman, H. M., 2008; Topham, P. & Moller, N., 2010; Friedlander, L., Reid, G., Shupak, N., & Cribbie, R., 2007; Andrews, B. & Wilding J.M., 2004; Cooke, R., Bewick, B.M., Barkham, M., Bradley, M. & Audin, K., 2006) Data on what UK HEI institutional factors are associated with common mental disorders and suicidality in students are unknown. Research in young adults suggests certain sociodemographic and socioeconomic dimensions–e.g. ethnic minority, female, LGBTQI+ groups–are significant predictors of psychological distress. (Lessof, C., Ross, A., Brind, R., Bell, E., & Newton, S., 2016; Assari, S., 2017; McDonald, K., 2018)  There is a lack of research into whether similar patterns of mental health inequality are present in the UK university student population.

Intersectionality is an analytical framework used by social scientists to attempt to identify how interlocking systems of social positions (e.g. power and privilege) and social identities (e.g. ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation) impact on the lived experiences and mental health of those who are most marginalized in society. (Crenshaw, K., 1989; Crenshaw, K., 1991; Kohn, L., & Hudson, K., 2002; van Mens-Verhulst, J. & Radtke, L., 2008)

This study will use intersectionality to fill the gaps in the literature to address the following aims: 1) explore the role of contextual, social and institutional factors that shape students’ experiences of common mental disorders (CMD) and suicidality; 2) estimate the prevalence of CMD and suicidality, as well as how prevalence differs by the intersection of sociodemographic and socioeconomic indicators; and 3) examine the association between key social determinants (known risk factors and those identified as important from the qualitative findings) and mental health outcomes in the total sample and at the intersection of social statuses.

Academic Lead:  Dr William Monteith, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisorDr Regan Koch, Queen Mary University of London

PartnerEast End Trades Guild (EETG)

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 1st March 2019

Studentship format: either +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants for the +3 format must meet our core research methods training requirements.  For the 1+3 format, the required Master’s is either the QMUL MRes Geography or the MRes Cities & Cultures.

Network Rail has recently agreed to sell 200 railway arches as a single commercial portfolio. The sale represents the latest in a long line of public asset sell-offs in the UK through which rents are shifted from the public to the private realm. While the details of the sale are still being negotiated, there are grave concerns about the future of thousands of archway enterprises across the country. The potential impacts are particularly acute in East London, where a crisis of affordable workspace more broadly has seen small businesses contend with rent increases of up to 300%. Organised through the East End Trades Guild, local businesses have responded by developing an Affordable Workspace Manifesto, culminating in a campaign for London Working Rent. This campaign raises critical questions about the capacities for collective organisation among diverse enterprises, and the possibilities for applying principles derived from the movements of employees and residential tenants – such as Living Wage and Living Rent – to the commercial rental sector.

This project involves a collaboration between the East End Trades Guild (EETG), the New Economic Foundation (NEF) and the School of Geography at QMUL in order to generate much-needed insight on the possibilities for collective organisation and intervention to maintain affordable workspaces for small and medium enterprises. This research will advance theoretical understandings of socio-economic value and, specifically, inform emerging policy debates on affordable workspaces in the context of the transfer of rents from the public to the private sphere. In this regard, the research will contribute to emerging scholarship on the connections between social entrepreneurship and public life, bringing together research programmes on livelihoods and diverse economies and urban sociality and collective culture.

For the full project description please see here.

Academic Lead:  Prof. Christian Heath, King’s College London

Supervisory TeamDr Maurice Davies, Royal Academy of Arts & Dr Dirk vom Lehn, King’s College London

PartnerThe Royal Academy of Arts

Studentship start date: October 2019

Application deadline: 22 February 2019

Studentship format: +3 (PhD only) or 1+3 (Master’s + PhD).  Applicants for a +3 award must meet our core research methods training requirements.  Required Masters programmes for 1+3 award applicants are either the MSc Public Policy & Management or the MSc International Management.

We seek applications for a studentship to undertake a Ph.D at the King’s Business School, King’s College London, in close collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The project will examine how visitors use information provided by museums and galleries, for example through labels, gallery cards and electronic devices, in exploring, discussing and interpreting works of art. It will focus on the interaction of visitors and the ways in which resources provided by museums and galleries inform how people engage works of art and participate within exhibitions. Analysis will draw on Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis and the burgeoning corpus of research concerned with embodied or ‘multimodal’ interaction. Data for the project will consist of audio-visual recordings of ‘naturally occurring’ conduct and interaction within museums and galleries augmented by field studies, interviews of visitors, curators and designers, and textual analysis. The project will also involve undertaking a series of small-scale, ‘experiments’ in actual exhibitions in which we make systematic changes to the information provided to visitors. The project will contribute to contemporary developments in studies of social interaction and in particular our understanding of how the sense and significance of art arises in and through talk, embodied conduct and the use of material and digital resources. It will also contribute to practice, – how the particular resources provided by museums and galleries bear upon the ways in which people engage art and participate in exhibitions. The successful applicant will be supervised by Professor Christian Heath, Dr Dirk vom Lehn (King’s College London) and Dr Maurice Davies (Head of Collections) Royal Academy, London.

Applicants should have a background in the social sciences, knowledge of qualitative methods and be familiar with Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. Experience of undertaking qualitative research, for example as part of a dissertation or thesis, would be a distinct advantage. The applicant will be expected to have an interest in art and museums and galleries. Depending on the qualifications of the successful applicant, the studentship may fund a one year M.Sc, followed by a three year studentship to undertake the Ph.D., or a three year studentship to undertake the Ph.D. To find out more about of the studentship and the proposed project please contact either Professor Christian Heath (christian.heath@kcl.ac.uk) or Dr Dirk vom Lehn (dirk.vom_lehn@kcl.ac.uk). The final deadline for applications is 22nd of February 2019 but we would very much welcome applications before that date.

Academic Lead:  Prof. Francesca Happé, King’s College London

Co-supervisorDr Emma Colvert, King’s College London

PartnerThe National Association of Head Teachers 

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only)

This studentship has already recruited.

Education is the main intervention that autistic individuals receive to help them function within a neurotypical society, with high associated costs and very mixed outcome; recent estimates suggest only 15% of autistic adults are in full time employment, for example. There is little research investigating the pathways autistic individuals and families take to decide on and obtain suitable education services, which vary from residential special schools to mainstream provision with or without individual support. In particular, the voice of autistic people, families and even teachers or services involved in the decision-making process is rarely captured. This project aims to explore the education pathways for autistic pupils, using a mixed methods approach. This will include: analysis of existing data from the Social Relationships Study (SRS), which is part of the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS); focus groups and interviews with ASD individuals, their families and educational staff resulting in an online survey; and a mixed methods study of the tribunal process many parents must undertake to obtain their desired educational provision for their child.

With almost two thirds of parents believing their autistic child is not in a school that would best support them (National Autistic Society, 2011), and with an increased pressure on services to incorporate service-user feedback into policy and procedure, evidence-based research is needed to improve current practices for a fairer, more efficient and effective process to provide the right educational opportunities to every child on the autism spectrum.

Academic Lead:  Prof. Helen Ward, Imperial College London

Supervisory Team:  Dr Bethan Davies, Imperial College London and Valerie Delpech

PartnerHIV Section, National Infection Service, Public Health England

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only)

This studentship has already recruited.

The treatment and care of people living with HIV has significantly improved in the past two decades across the UK. These advancements now mean that HIV is a chronic, manageable condition and people living with HIV can anticipate a normal life expectancy. While treatment can be very effective, variations in health and well-being persist. This variation may reflect differences in clinical stage at diagnosis, management of other health conditions (co-morbidities) as well as broader social determinants. People living with HIV have also described an unmet need in social and welfare services provided, including housing, immigration and employment support. Many of these services have had reduced funding in recent years alongside changes in government policies.

This project will investigate why differences exist for the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV, and how much this can be explained by a person’s economic and social circumstances (their social determinants). We will also explore whether recent changes in public policies, including those related to the reported “hostile environment” for immigration, have affected the experiences faced by people living with HIV when accessing social and welfare services in the UK.

We will use two main methods to explore these differences; firstly, analysing data from a survey conducted in 2017 by Public Health England (PHE) of over 4,000 adults living with HIV in the UK, the Positive Voices study. We will link this data with the HIV and AIDS Reporting System (HARS) to explore the association between these different levels of determinants and clinical outcomes through multi-level modelling. Secondly, we will conduct in-depth interviews, observations and/or focus groups with key stakeholders including community organisations, service providers and policymakers. We will work closely with an advisory group of people living with HIV to help guide our research as it develops, and who will be involved in each step of the study – designing our approach, guiding analysis and interpretation, and disseminating results. This will be in line with the community-led Changing Perceptions project between PHE, Positively UK and NAT.

The findings will provide evidence to inform clinical care, future research and health policy to improve the experience of people living with HIV accessing health and social care services, as well as end-user organisations that support people living with HIV in the UK.

2018 Projects

Academic Lead:  Prof. Alastair Owens, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisor: Prof. Geraldene Wharton, Queen Mary University of London

Partners: Canal & River Trust (London Waterways) & The Geffrye Museum of the Home

Studentship type: 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) or +3 (PhD only).  See eligibility guidance above.  To apply for a +3 degree, you must have a relevant Master’s degree with the majority of core social science research methods training already taken.  Relevant Master’s degrees for 1+3 candidates are the QMUL MRes Geography or MRes Cities & Cultures.

Student recruited.

The London Assembly estimates that at least 10,000 people now make their homes on London’s waterways, occupying 4000 vessels, and living at fixed points in the city (home moorers) or moving every two weeks to different locations (continuous cruisers). This phenomenon has been triggered by the escalating costs of ‘on land’ housing but also by Londoners seeking an alternative lifestyle. These waterside environments are also emerging as novel public spaces with regeneration promoting opportunities for recreation and new economic activities, especially those centred around food and the arts. Benefitting from a collaboration with the Canal & River Trust and The Geffrye Museum for the Home, this interdisciplinary project is the first detailed study of the communities living on London’s waterways. It seeks to understand how these communities form and operate and how they manage the challenges of canal boat living. The research will contribute to our theoretical understanding of home and place making and, specifically, it will generate new evidence to help the CRT and other stakeholders better understand the needs of those who make their homes on London’s canals and rivers and help inform the development of these waterway environments as sustainable and high-quality places for people and wildlife.

Academic Lead: Prof. Kavita Datta, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisor: Prof. Alastair Owens, Queen Mary University of London

Partner: The Runnymede Trust

Studentship type: 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) or +3 (PhD only).  See eligibility guidance above.  To apply for a +3 degree, you must have a relevant Master’s degree with the majority of core social science research methods training already taken. The designated Masters is the MRes Global Development Futures

Student recruited.

Investigations of migrants’ inheritance practices and outcomes are limited in multi-disciplinary migration and inheritance studies. This omission is surprising given that more than a billion people are migrants, 244 million of whom are international migrants. Situated within conceptual and empirical lacunae, this project aims to interrogate the migration-development nexus. At its core is a concern to make visible the extent and patterns of transnational inheritance among migrant men and women, and examine how these are mediated by gender and class; interrogate the formal and informal mechanisms through which migrants’ inheritance rights are negotiated, maintained and translated and assess the extent to which inherited assets translate into economic security and productivity. Focusing on skilled and semi-skilled Indian migrants living in London, a mixed method research strategy will be deployed, entailing a questionnaire survey with migrants; qualitative interviews with migrant men and women as well as wealth and asset managers, solicitors and other financial advisers who mediate migrant inheritance, as well as an analysis of migrants’ wills. Collaborative outputs beyond the thesis will include Briefing Reports and a workshop bringing together academics, policy makers and industry practitioners.

Academic Lead: Dr Jonathan Reades, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Dr Nishanth Sastry, King’s College London

Partner: The British Library

Studentship type: 1+3 (1 year Masters + 3 year PhD) or +3 (PhD only), subject to candidate’s existing academic/professional background

Student recruited.

It is exactly 100 years since the enrolment of the UK’s first doctoral student, making it an opportune moment to take stock of the economic impact of the PhD. Working in collaboration with the British Library, you will have full access to two unique data sets covering more than 450,000 PhDs in order to map the flow of ideas within and between institutions using cutting-edge text-mining and network analysis techniques. Selecting between one and three disciplines/topics for close study (e.g. AI, a non-STEM domain such as cultural geography), you will examine how groups and departments are impacted by the departure or arrival of researchers and their research interests. This could form a platform for subsequent post-doctoral work on other domains and policy recommendations leading towards a wider view of ‘impact’ from PhD research in Britain.

The project offers you the opportunity to develop and apply a range of machine learning techniques in a comparative context: you will need to evaluate techniques for accuracy and efficiency, and even consider consensus or meta-learning approaches (i.e., employing ML to select the most appropriate technique for individual problems). These skills are highly sought after not only in an academic context, but also by industry.  We are looking for a practically-minded but creative student interested in both social science and in the application of data science techniques: you might be a STEM student looking to apply your analytical skills to challenging, real-world policy questions, or a student from a quantitative area of Economics or Geography looking to acquire valuable data science skills, but either way we have the resources and knowledge to support you for both 1+3 and +3 only studies.

For more information on the project, please see here.

Academic Lead: Prof. Adrian Smith, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisor: Dr Gale Raj-Reichert, Queen Mary University of London

Partner: Electronics Watch

Studentship type: 1+3 (1 year Masters + 3 year PhD) or +3 (PhD only).  To apply for a +3 format, you must have a relevant Masters degree with the majority of core social science research methods training already taken.  The recommended Masters for the 1+3 format would be the MRes Global Development Futures.

Student recruited.

The globalisation of supply chains has created a governance deficit concerning working conditions in the world economy. Private-sector initiatives (corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct) face limits to improving labour standards. Yet, little attention has been paid to public sector attempts to regulate working conditions in global supply chains. An EU Directive on Public Procurement, however, allows state organisations to include clauses on labour standards in procurement contracts. In this context, this project will examine socially responsible public procurement of electronics hardware – an industry mired by serious labour violations – and focuses on the state as a regulator and buyer. The research will be carried out with Electronics Watch, a non-profit, non-governmental initiative which organises public sector buyers, provides tools to create effective market demand for decent working conditions (e.g. contract clauses), and monitors working conditions to ensure compliance in factories. The project will examine: how the EU Directive is being implemented by public-sector buyers in the United Kingdom; how the governance framework impacts lead firm and supplier relationships in the sector; and the experience of public procurement regulation as an emergent new relationship between the state, public sector governance and labour conditions in globalised production networks.

In terms of research methods, the project will involve key informant interviews with one or more public procurement agencies in the United Kingdom; a mapping of the legal framework for labour standards in public procurement, and its implementation in the contracts will be conducted; key informant interviews with one of the top three electronic brand firms at its headquarter location and with the brand firm’s major suppliers in Malaysia; interviews will also be conducted with local monitoring organisations, trade unions, and workers in Malaysia; secondary data from audit and monitoring reports will be analysed to provide contextual data.

Academic Lead: Dr Janelle Jones, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisor:

Partner: Entelechy Arts

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only).  You should hold a relevant Masters degree, with the majority of core social science research methods training already covered on it, to apply for this studentship.  See eligibility guidelines above.

Student recruited.

Ageing is a growing concern in many countries, with projections suggesting that older adults (aged 65+) will comprise 25% of the population by 2035. Although people are living longer, they are not necessarily living well. Many older adults are at risk of social isolation, which is associated with poor health and well-being. Given these projections and consequences, solutions that help older adults to stay connected are paramount. Drawing from the social identity approach to health and well-being and knowledge about arts practice this project investigates how and why participatory arts interventions (e.g., music, drawing, theatre, writing) help older adults to live and age well. Through a review of the literature, analyses of secondary datasets, and cross-sectional and longitudinal examinations of Entelechy Art’s Meet Me at The Albany (MMA) program, this project will test whether involvement in the arts in general, and MMA’s singing, fine arts, movement, and creative writing programs in particular, reduce isolation by improving social connectedness, and through this increase access to the support and engagement needed to facilitate health and well-being over time. Findings will provide insights into the processes through which taking part helps older adults to take care and age well within their communities.

See a full project description here.

Academic Lead: Prof. Peter McBurney, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Dr Tim Stevens, King’s College London

Partner: Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only).  You should hold a relevant Masters degree, with the majority of core social science research methods training already covered on it, to apply for this studentship.  See eligibility guidelines above.

Student recruited.

Cybersecurity is a key concern for highly-connected economies and societies. The scope and scale of threats to information technological infrastructures is growing and is challenging governments, business and civil society to develop effective responses and modes of preventive action. In the commercial sector, risk management and resilience are emerging as primary resources for firms to recognise, prepare and respond to a multi-dimensional cyber risk landscape.

This project draws upon a unique set of cyber incident data collated by a leading legal firm (Norton Rose Fulbright) to shed light on the types of cyber incidents perpetrated against a diverse client base and on the range of legal, regulatory, business and law enforcement responses available in this dynamic environment.

It will allow better characterisation of the nature of cyber risk in the commercial sector, to discern and evaluate the efficacy and practicality of responses to cyber risk, and to clarify the relations between actor types in the dynamic field of cybersecurity policy and practice. The project will constitute an empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated contribution to an under-explored aspect of cybersecurity, with particular attention to the growing importance of risk and resilience in today’s economy and society.

The successful applicant will benefit greatly from immersion in the work of Norton Rose Fulbright and its cyber risk and resilience advisory activities. The partner will provide office space and equipment to the researcher at its headquarters in central London, enabling high-level access to the firm’s unique cyber incident database. It will provide skills training and mentorship and facilitate access to research participants in the UK and elsewhere. It will also foster student interaction with end-users and other parties, including through industry events, specialist conferences and workshops, and via the authorship of working papers, research briefs and other materials.

Academic Lead: Prof. Nicola Fear

Co-supervisor: Dr Rachael Gribble

Partners: Army Families Federation, Naval Families Federation

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only).  You should hold a relevant Masters degree, with the majority of core social science research methods training already covered on it, to apply for this studentship.  See eligibility guidelines above.

Student recruited.

Postnatal depression (PND) affects approximately 10-15% of women, with risk factors including parenting stress, anxiety and depression during pregnancy, stressful life events during pregnancy and low levels of social support. The unique nature of military life, such as frequent relocation and deployment, may lead to greater risk among the spouses/partners of Service personnel. However, there is currently a lack of UK research on perinatal health among military spouses/partners and how military life may influence their well-being during pregnancy and after childbirth.

This novel PhD will use a mixed-methods approach to address this gap in the knowledge by completing the following aims:

  1. estimate the prevalence of perinatal mental health among this population in comparison with women in the general population
  2. identify socio-demographic and military factors associated with this outcome
  3. explore the influence of having a partner in the UK military on the mental health and well-being of military spouses/partners during pregnancy and after childbirth
  4. explore service provider perceptions of military spouses/partners experiences during the perinatal period

Academic Lead: Dr Katharine Rimes, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Prof. Stephani Hatch, King’s College London

Partner: Talking Therapies Southwark

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only)

This project has already recruited a student.

Sexual minority adults (e.g. those who are lesbian, gay or bisexual) have higher rates of depression and anxiety than heterosexuals. Minority stress theory proposes that this is because of sexual minorities experiencing increased stigma and discrimination. Furthermore, sexual minority adults can fear or experience stigma from health professionals, which could affect treatment access or outcomes. Those who also have minority ethnicity may be even more likely to anticipate or experience stigma. This project will investigate treatment access and outcomes in primary care psychological therapies services by black and minority ethnic (BME) sexual minority adults with depression or anxiety. Participants will be interviewed about their treatment experiences and these interviews will be analysed for themes. Existing NHS data from psychological therapies services will be used to investigate treatment access and outcomes. The results of these studies will inform the development of an outreach programme aimed at improving access to primary care psychological therapies services for BME sexual minority adults. This project will be a collaboration with Talking Therapies Southwark, an Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. The NHS partners will provide access to a large clinical dataset and training in community outreach methods.

Academic Lead: Dr Rachel Loopstra, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Prof. Mauricio Avendano, King’s College London

Partner: The Trussell Trust

Studentship type: 1+3 (1 year Masters + 3 year PhD)

This project has already recruited a student.

 

Academic Lead: Prof. Francesca Happe, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Dr Rebecca Charlton, Goldsmiths, University of London

Partners: Autistica, Meet Me at the Albany

Studentship type: +3 (PhD only)

This project has already recruited a student.

2017 Projects

Academic Lead: Dr Lesong Conteh, Imperial College

Co-supervisor: Prof Timothy Hallett, Imperial College

Partner: Vaccine Impact Modelling Consortium (VIMC)

Studentship type: 1+3

This project has recruited a student.

The innovation and application of disease-based mathematical modelling for knowledge production and evidence synthesis to inform or guide the response to global health issues has been increasing steadily over past decades. Global health initiatives that provide funding or technical assistance for infectious disease responses appear to have adopted these methods as they enable epidemic dynamics to be considered.  Consequently difficult questions about how to best respond to epidemics, in regard to allocating interventions and finances can be explored ahead of national implementation.

As modelling for program planning purposes appears to be increasing at the national-level, the practices of model producers and consumers should be evaluated to identify areas for improving the dialogue and knowledge exchange between these groups; generating an audience of educated model consumers serves to benefit both parties, and possibly also the population if the results are adopted to inform program and budget decisions. Recommended principles of best practice for producers of modelling for public health have been published by model developers: clear rationale, scope and objectives; explicit model structure and key features; well defined and justified model results; clear presentation of results, including uncertainty in estimates; exploration of model limitations; contextualization with other modelling studies. Alongside these recommendations guidance on what an informed model consumer should consider were also detailed. An assessment of how well model producers at the global level are adhering to best practice principles that they have set themselves is of interest. Moreover, engagement with model consumers to review these, seek their feedback, and ascertain how informed they are, is something clearly absent from this work, and important if modelling continues to expand into all aspects of the policy-making cycle at global, national, and sub-national levels.

In this project, we intend to use concepts and mixed-methods from social science to trace the epistemic community of mathematical modelers to firstly establish, and secondly to evaluate, the influence they have had in understanding and defining health needs at global and national levels.

Academic Lead: Dr Thalia Eley, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Dr Andrea Danese, King’s College London

Partner: MindWave

Studentship type: 1+3 (Masters + PhD)

Studentship start date: October 2018

Application deadline: 31 January 2018

Anxiety and depression are highly debilitating disorders, increasingly seen in our society. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) initiative provides evidence based treatments for these disorders in a primary care setting.  Many individuals show lower symptom levels following treatment, but ~50% do not show a significant improvement, and outcomes in terms of social functioning are poorly understood. The majority of predictors of psychological treatment response have only been explored within clinical trials. For example, a history of childhood trauma is related to outcome in clinical trials, but we have recently shown it relates to relapse following IAPT treatment. It is possible this risk factor is associated with outcome due to biases in thinking about social situations. Finally, we have shown that genetic factors provide a useful additional level of information when exploring predictors of outcome of psychological therapy.
Our study examines predictors of outcome in IAPT. Specifically, we will explore whether (i) social risks (e.g. history of child trauma) predict outcome; (ii) social functioning is a useful measure of outcome; (iii) biases in thinking account for the association between history of trauma and outcome; and (iv) genetic factors can be used in addition to clinical measures to predict outcome.
The project will involve a large-scale study using a web-based recruitment platform and online data collection. Mindwave are developing the recruitment platform, in collaboration with the PI (Prof Eley), and Dr Gerome Breen, who leads the NIHR funded BioResource at IoPPN.  Mindwave will provide considerable training to the student in the use of online and web-based technology.

Academic Lead: Prof John Polak, Imperial College

Co-supervisor: Dr Jacek Pawlak, Imperial College

Partners: Cisco Systems & Transport for Greater Manchester

Studentship type: +3 (3 years PhD funding).  You should hold a relevant Master’s degree to apply for this studentship.  Please see text above for eligibility guidance.

This studentship has now recruited.

The rapid development of new mobile devices and omnipresent connectivity has led to the increasing decoupling of work (and other activities) from specific locations. Cultures of work have emerged, especially strong among knowledge workers, that exploit non-traditional settings, including public spaces and transport modes, with the aim of improving productivity and well-being by the better alignment of tasks to productive times and spaces. While social science has amassed a significant body of descriptive evidence relating to these practices and their productivity and well-being implications, this knowledge remains largely detached from the quantitative and predictive approaches used in the appraisal and evaluation of digital and physical infrastructure investments. The aim of this CASE studentship, which will be undertaken in collaboration with Cisco Systems and Transport for Greater Manchester, is to bridge this gap and develop new ways of embedding qualitative and quantitative understandings of the impacts of digitisation and connectivity on productivity and well-being into the quantitative frameworks used for infrastructure appraisal and evaluation. The research will involve collaboration with Cisco’s innovation team (Cisco CREATE) and Transport for Greater Manchester on a set of case studies including the UK’s largest Internet of Things City Demonstrator project, CityVerve, in Manchester.

Academic Lead: Prof Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisors: Dr. Esther de Leeuw, Jonnie Robinson (British Library)

Partner: The British Library

Studentship type: 1+3 (1 year MA Linguistics + 3 year PhD).  Please see eligibility guidance above.

This studentship has now recruited.

This studentship involves collaboration between the Department of Linguistics at Queen Mary, University of London (top-ranked in REF2014 and RAE2008) and the British Library. The project will compile a diachronic corpus of sound recordings from the historic holdings of the British Library Sound Archive, an unparalleled collection of natural British speech spanning over a century. The corpus design will aim for a balanced selection across region, register, and demographic factors while maximising time depth. Using this unique corpus, the project will investigate a fundamental theoretical challenge in the study of language change: What is the relative importance of linguistic factors, frequency, and social factors in changes observed in British English over time? This question has been difficult to address fully due to the lack of audio archives with sufficient time depth. Recent historical corpora have begun to remedy this, with some unexpected findings regarding the role of frequency in phonetic change (Hay et al. 2015), intensifying the debate over the relative role of frequency, among other factors, in large-scale dialect change (Labov 2010; Kiparsky 2016). A substantial diachronic corpus will also permit deeper investigation of related themes such as vernacular stability, social factors in change (e.g. age, demographics, gender, class), and co-variation in change. As this is a 1+3 studentship, the student and the supervisory team will refine the scope of the project during the first year. Alongside a range of research expertise, the successful candidate will acquire expertise in archival and library sciences and experience working in a major public institution. The project will also incorporate public engagement activities including reports to schools, to the British Library, and to the general public.

Academic Lead: Prof Jane Sandall, King’s College London

Supervisory Team:  Dr Euan Sadler, Professor Nick Sevdalis, Dr Claire Steves

Partners: Health Innovation Network South London, Age UK Lambeth, Age UK Lewisham & Southwark

Studentship type: +3 (3 years PhD funding).  You should hold a relevant Master’s degree to apply for this studentship.  Please see text above for eligibility guidance.

This studentship has now recruited.

Frail older people commonly experience complex health and social care needs and difficulties receiving care in a coordinated manner. Integrated care pathways (ICPs) for frail older people have been proposed, which integrate health and social care delivered by multidisciplinary teams along a coordinated pathway. However, there has been limited social science research focusing on a critical understanding of the role, value and implications of ICPs from different stakeholder perspectives, and the social, organisational, politico-economic and historical contexts shaping their emergence, development and implementation in practice. This PhD study uses an ethnographic approach and draws on social science theory to explore these issues in the context of ICPs for frail older people in Lambeth and Southwark, South London. Methods will include analysis of policy documents, observations of care practices with a sample of frail older people and their family members as they navigate the health and care system, analysis of care records, interviews with participants and professionals involved in their care, pathway mapping, and stakeholder engagement meetings using co-design methodology. Findings will inform the development of clearer pathways and a framework to facilitate the implementation of ICPs to improve quality of care and outcomes for frail older people. Dissemination and knowledge exchange activities will be through peer reviewed publications, conferences, service user and patient organisations, care professional networks, local provider groups and social media.

You can view a longer project description here- Sandall_CASE_ProjectDescrip.

Academic Lead: Prof Alison Blunt, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisor: Prof Alastair Owens, Queen Mary University of London

Partner: Eastside Community Heritage

Studentship type: 1+3 (MRes Geography + 3-year PhD)

This studentship has now recruited.

Despite the growing interest in the connections between home, migration and the city, little work has engaged with experiences of home and migration in relation to the suburbs and, in particular, the interplay between historical internal migration from the inner-city and contemporary international migration. This intergenerational research project will examine the layered histories and experiences of home, migration and belonging through an in-depth study of the Harold Hill estate in Havering. In collaboration between QMUL and Eastside Community Heritage – and also affiliated to The Geffrye Museum of the Home via the Centre for Studies of Home – the research will explore (i) the histories of migration from inner-city London to Harold Hill from the late 1950s; (ii) new migration patterns to Harold Hill over the last 20 years; and (iii) the impact of these overlapping migratory patterns on home and belonging on the housing estate and within the wider suburban landscape. The research will build on pilot research at Harold Hill conducted by ECH.

Collaborative outputs beyond the thesis will include a collection of oral history and visual material for deposit at ECH; the design of intergenerational school sessions focused on home, migration and belonging; and the development of learning resources for use in school sessions and work with adults of different generations and heritages.

Academic Lead: Dr Miriam Goldby, Insurance Law Institute at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at QMUL

Co-supervisor: Prof Chris Reed, CCLS, QMUL

Partner: Lloyd’s of London

Studentship type: 1+3 or +3.  Only applicants with adequate core research methods training at Masters level and a postgraduate degree in Law (such as a LLM) will be allowed to apply for a PhD-only award.  Candidates without an appropriate postgraduate degree and training should apply for a 1+3 award and simultaneously apply for the MRes International Economic Law at QMUL.  Further advice about core methods training and applying for degrees at QM can be obtained from Gareth Skehan- g.skehan@qmul.ac.uk

This studentship has recruited.

Distributed ledger technologies (DLT), of which the block-chain is one protocol, have caused a stir in financial circles in view of the wide range of opportunities they offer for business development. This great potential extends to the insurance sector, an intermediary-led and direct sale market where business-to-customer relations may be greatly facilitated and enhanced by the use of these new technologies. At the same time, the use of these technologies may carry with it implications in both the sphere of private law (contractual relations) as well as that of public law and policy (regulation).

The successful candidate will be required to conduct doctoral research with 3 aims:

  • To identify and describe potential uses of DLT and smart contracts in insurance with a focus on the London Insurance Market
  • To assess the challenges that would be faced in implementing the use of these new technologies, integrating them into existing processes and potentially using them to design new and more efficient processes;
  • To examine the legal and regulatory implications of using these technologies. The project will be undertaken with the support of Lloyd’s of London, the insurance market, QMUL’s CASE partner for this project, giving the researcher access to a wealth of market knowledge and practical experience of the insurance business.

Applicants must submit, by the deadline date:

  • An application to the MRes programme in International Economic Law (unless advised otherwise by Gareth Skehan).  Required supporting documents as part of this, which are:
  • A research proposal (of 2-3,000 words maximum). This would outline how you would answer the research question via 3 years of doctoral research, and would include information on how you would research this question – your research design and methodology. The 1000 word count does not include the bibliography or title.
  • A Statement of Purpose
  • Transcripts from any undergraduate or postgraduate degrees in Law taken
  • 2 references – at least one of which must be from a staff member who taught you on more recent course of study

In addition, applicants must submit (either via e-mail or uploaded to their MRes application) a completed ESRC LISS DTP Collaborative (CASE) application form (available to download above on this webpage).

Please click here for a link to more information and online registration for the QMUL MRes programme.