Collaborative (CASE) Studentships- student applicants

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 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.

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.  This year’s competition (for studentships to start in October 2018) closes on 19 November 2017.


The proposals below were funded for the 2017-18 academic year, with studentship funding starting in October 2017.  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 and represent some of the broad range of interdisciplinary social research themes being investigated by LISS DTP staff and students.

Students applying for CASE studentships must meet the ESRC eligibility guidelines in terms of UK/EU residency status and academic qualifications.

More details about each project can be seen below.  Applications to all studentships EXCEPT Measuring Pop and Exploring Social Factors in the Psychological Treatment of Mood & Anxiety Disorders are now closed.  The Measuring Pop studentship has a start date of January 2018; Exploring Social Factors in the Psychological Treatment of Mood & Anxiety Disorders has a start date of October 2018. 

If you would like to apply for either of these studentships, please contact the academic leads on the project in the first instance for more information on the project and its requirements and then contact if you have questions about applying.  

To be accepted, all applications must include:

  • a completed ESRC LISS DTP Collaborative (CASE) application form
  • a copy of your CV
  • 2 academic references, or 1 academic and 1 professional reference (these should be sent directly to by your referees)
  • copies of transcripts for all relevant degrees

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

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

Partner: MindWave

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

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 Armand Leroi, Imperial College

Co-supervisors: Dr Tobias Blanke, King’s College London, George Wright, Head of Internet Research & Future Services (BBC)

Partner: BBC Research & Development

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.  Relevant Master’s degrees for 1+3 candidates will be discussed with applicants; an example programme is the MA Digital Culture & Society at KCL.

This project will investigate the forces that shape pop music, with the goal of understanding how producers – the people who make pop music; gatekeepers – the people who sell and distribute it; and consumers — the people who buy, or at least listen to it, interact to shape its evolution.  The approach will be highly quantitative, proposing to measure the musical qualities of three corpora of music, each of which consists of tens of thousands of songs, to estimate of what kind of music people are buying, what the nation’s primary gatekeeper – Radio 1 – is promoting, and what Britain’s musicians are making.  By examining how these three corpora co-evolve, it will be possible to test hypotheses about the causal relationships between them. This project is a collaboration between three groups. From Kings Digital Humanities (Blanke) there is expertise in the sociology of media; from Imperial Data Science (Leroi) there is expertise in analytic methods; from the BBC (Wright) there is expertise in music, its measurement, and a vast amount of data.
The BBC will add immensely to the value of the student’s training in several ways.  They are offering generous access to staff, in-house resources, vast amounts of data.  More importantly, the project offers the student a chance to work in the central R&D laboratories of the national broadcaster and interact with producers from the nation’s pre-eminent music radio station, Radio 1.  It is expected that the student will spend a great deal of time at R&D’s Central labs, which is a semi-academic environment.

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

This studentship has recruited.

Format: 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-

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.