PhD Studentship in Health Improvement in Schools (PhD Studentship)
Reference Number: R1150
Project Title: PhD Studentship in Health Improvement in Schools
Applications are being sought for a prestigious full-time PhD Studentship, to be based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, to begin in October 2014.
The research student will join the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) as part of their strategic research programme on health improvement in schools and other youth settings. DECIPHer researchers in Cardiff have recently obtained MRC-funding for the development of a new Schools Health Research Network in Wales (in collaboration with WISERD and colleagues in Swansea, Bristol and the Institute of Education). To develop this, DECIPHer is working in partnership with Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Cardiff and Vale Health Board, and Cancer Research UK. The successful candidate will therefore benefit from these partnerships, as well as DECIPHer’s internationally-recognised knowledge exchange activities supported by the NISCHR-funded Public Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN) and the ALPHA young people’s advisory group.
Candidates can suggest their own research topics within the area of Health Improvement in Schools but we would particularly welcome innovative applications focussed on the following:
- Multi-level modelling to identify school-level clusters of health-risk behaviours using the Welsh 2013 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey data;
- Data linkage of the Welsh 2013 HBSC survey data with routinely-collected health and education data to explore the relationships between emotional health and wellbeing, health-risk behaviours, and student attainment;
- A mixed methods study of school and/or community food environments and how they shape students’ food choices in order to develop new methods and approaches to improve diet and nutrition;
- A mixed methods study developing and evaluating peer mentoring approaches in Welsh schools to improve students’ health and wellbeing;
- A mixed methods study developing and evaluating group-based ‘Motivational Interviewing’ approaches to support the delivery of Personal and Social Education and/or Physical Education;
- A mixed methods study developing and evaluating new strategies to engage parents in school-based health improvement programmes.
Applications will be particularly welcome from candidates with a public health, education, sociology and/or social policy background, and quantitative as well as qualitative methods will be emphasised in project and training plans.
The studentship will fund a 3-year PhD. Applicants will have completed, or be currently enrolled on, an MSc in Social Science Research Methods, Masters in Public Health or equivalent Master’s programme and have experience of social research methods.
Studentships will commence in October 2014 and will cover tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant and an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for three years for full-time students. In 2013 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £13,726 and the RTSG was £750.
Number of Studentships Available: 1
Start Date: 1 October 2014
This studentship is generously funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It consists of full UK/EU tuition fees, a Doctoral Stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum (£13726 p.a. for 2013/14, updated each year) and a £750 p.a. research training and support grant.
Application deadline: 24 January 2014
Academic Criteria:ESRC studentships are highly competitive, candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or strong upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a Masters degree (preferably applicants will have completed, or be currently enrolled on, an MSc in Social Science Research Methods, Masters in Public Health or equivalent Master’s programme and have experience of social research methods). Applicants with a relevant degree in the humanities, social sciences or healthcare sciences are also encouraged.
Residency Criteria: 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 documentation by the deadline of 12.00pm, 24th January 2014. Note that the deadline is absolute and applications received after this specified time and date will not be accepted.
- Covering letter and CV - Please send in a covering letter outlining what makes you a suitable candidate (this should cover what skills/knowledge you bring to the project, what aspects you find particularly interesting and any ideas you may they have on how it could be developed). This should be no more than 2 pages. You will also need to submit a CV with this.
- A completed application form for admission to doctoral study in the School of Social Sciences - submitted to the Academic Registry via the Online Applications Service. Please specify the School of Social Sciences – Research Degree – Doctor of Philosophy (Social Sciences) with a start date of October 2014.
Applicants should use 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.
- Academic References – all applications require two references to be submitted in support. Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as we will be using these to help us evaluate your ESRC studentship application.
- Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application by the funding deadline.
If you have any queries about the application process, please contact Vicky Parkin on the contact details below.
Application deadline: 24 January 2014
Information about the School
Cardiff University is acknowledged as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities, held in high esteem both nationally and internationally. It has gained further recognition recently as one of the UK's top 20 universities and was short listed for the University of the Year title in The Sunday Times University Guide 2013. Cardiff University is also the home of the ESRC funded Wales DTC, 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.
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 (and ranked number one in the UK for social sciences ‘research power’). The School’s academic and research staff and PhD students are engaged in high quality research employing a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, have an excellent publication record and are very active in international collaboration and interdisciplinary projects. About 120 full and part-time PhD students are currently enrolled in our doctoral programme, making ours a large and vibrant postgraduate community.
Further information about the School can be found here.
The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) is one of five UKCRC Public Health Research Centres of Excellence.
DECIPHer brings together leading experts from a range of disciplines to tackle public health issues such as diet and nutrition; physical activity; and alcohol, tobacco and drugs, with a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level interventions that have an impact on the health and well-being of children and young people. DECIPHer engages strongly with policy, practice and public user communities, to translate the research results into practical outcomes.
DECIPHer is a strategic partnership between Cardiff University, where DECIPHer is led by Dr Simon Murphy, the University of Bristol, led by Professor Rona Campbell, and Swansea University, led by Professor Ronan Lyons. DECIPHer is part of a £20 million investment into public health research and is funded by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), comprising the Economic & Social Research Council, The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Welsh Government and the Medical Research Council.
How applications will be assessed: The closing deadline for applications is 12.00pm, 24th January 2014. 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 towards the end of January/early February 2014.
Enquiries should be directed to Vicky Parkin via email on ParkinVA@cardiff.ac.uk, or via telephone on +44 (0)2920 870 855, weekdays between 9am and 1pm.