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ESRC +3 / 1+3 PhD Studentship in Social Sciences: Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome and the British Coronial System (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: P925
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3-4 years
Funding Amount: UK/EU fees plus stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Taught
Regions: EU (Non UK), International (Non EU), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Key Studentship Information

Economics and Social Research Council, the Sudden Adult Death Society and ESRC Genomics Network at Cardiff University

Project Title: Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome and the British Coronial System

Project Description: Applications are being sought for a prestigious (1+3 or +3) full time PhD Studentship, to be based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, to begin in October 2013.

This studentship focuses on the relationship between coroners and other professional groups and genetic tests for specific inherited cardiac conditions – for example inherited disorders of the cardiac muscle (cardiomyopathies) or heart rhythm (inherited arrhythmias, or ion channelopathies such as Long QT syndrome or Brugada syndrome) – known collectively as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). While genetic testing for these conditions is available (in various forms of a ‘molecular autopsy’), their uptake by coroners in the UK is very low and as a result the broader incidence of these conditions is uncertain.

Building on the wider work of the ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), this project will explore the reasons underpinning the low uptake of these tests, the construction of medical knowledge around SADS conditions, and communication issues at the interface of the medical and medico-legal worlds. This studentship is co-funded by the SADS charity, and aims to improve our understanding of how particular professional groups adopt new technologies. Students would be supervised by Professor Adam Hedgecoe.

This project would be suitable for students interested in science and technology studies (STS), medical sociology or socio-legal studies.

Information about the School: Cardiff School of Social Sciences is a large School with over 160 staff and a thousand undergraduate and postgraduate students. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise rated almost all of its research to be of an international standard, with 55% of it either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. This rating, together with the size of the School, places it amongst the top five centres in the UK. Since its creation in 2000, the School has attracted over £18 million of research funds.

Cardiff University the home of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre, part of a national network of 21 accredited Doctoral Training Centres across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision.

Supervisors: Prof Adam Hedgecoe

Start Date: 1st October 2013


These scholarships cover fees and provide a stipend for a Masters degree (the Cardiff Social Science Research Methods MSc) followed by three years of PhD research (subject to passing the MSc stage). Successful candidates will receive full UK/EU tuition fees plus a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13,726 p.a. for 2013/14, updated each year). Candidates will also have access to an annual Research and Training support grant of £750.


Academic Criteria: Candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a Masters degree (preferably an ESRC recognised Masters or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a +3 award.

Residency: Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education. EU Nationals who do not meet the above residency requirement are eligible for a fees only award, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the EU for at least 3 years prior to the start of their proposed programme of study.

How to Apply

Applicants must complete and submit the following documents by the deadline of 27th February 2013. Note that the deadline is absolute and applications received after this specified time and date will not be accepted.

Please specify the School of Social Sciences – Research Degree – Doctor of Philosophy (Social Sciences) with a start date of October 2013 whether you are applying for a +3 or 1+3 award.

Applicants should complete the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application form (approx. 500 words) to summarise how they would approach the given specified research project. They should use the ‘Personal Statement’ section (approx. 500 words) of the application form to compliment the information given in the covering letter and talk more about their background and interest in postgraduate study.

If you have any queries about the application process, these should be directed to Vicky Parkin at

How applications will be assessed

The closing deadline for applications is 27th February 2013. Application forms will be assessed by a panel made up of the project supervisors and the Director of Graduate Studies, following which short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. We expect interviews to take place in early January 2013 with candidates notified of the date in mid-December.

Application Deadline: 27th February 2013

Further Information

Form more information please contact Vicky Parkin on or 02920 870 855.