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.

Below are details of the CASE studentships that LISS DTP has funded to date.  Our CASE studentships to start October 2019 are now recruiting students; please see the opportunities below.

Please contact academic leads directly to find out more particular details about individual projects.  LISS DTP ( can answer any general questions regarding the application process, core methods training requirements etc.

To be accepted, all CASE studentship 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 referees). Reference letters should be 1-2 A4 pages. Referees should comment on: how they know the applicant, in what capacity, for how long, and describe how the applicant’s existing skills/attributes will benefit the CASE project to which they are applying.
  • copies of transcripts for all relevant degrees

These materials should be sent BOTH to and the project academic lead by the deadline indicated in the project tab.

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 ( 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 (, 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 (, 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 (, 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 ( or Dr Dirk vom Lehn ( 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


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-

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.