SeNSS is offering seven ESRC-funded collaborative studentships, each linked to a different supervisor-led research project. These research projects are as follows:

1. Parental mindfulness: Self-directed intervention for children's mental health

Primary supervisor: Dr Bonamy Oliver, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London

SeNSS Pathway: Psychology

Collaborative partner: Headspace.

Collaborative supervisors: Mindfulness experts, Dr Kate Cavanagh (University of Sussex, second supervisor) and Dr Clara Strauss (Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, consultant)

Research project

Children’s mental health is of critical long-term importance for individuals, families and services (e.g., Parsonage et al., 2014). Parent mental ill-health and poor executive control can adversely affect parenting in ways important for children’s wellbeing. Traditional parenting interventions can help (World Health Organisation, 2009), but reach few families in need, largely due to resource limitations (Gardner et al., 2017). Despite the burgeoning evidence base for their effectiveness in improving mental health and executive control outside the parenting domain, self-directed mindfulness interventions remain neglected in this context. The current innovative studentship aims to examine the effectiveness of self-directed mindfulness intervention for parents, and in turn, the mental health of their children.

This an exciting opportunity for ground-breaking research. Establishing this important and novel research area in collaboration with an expert team, the successful candidate will be supported to publish in high-quality journals and to form excellent foundations for post-doctoral work and study.

The student will develop his/her own ideas within the scope of study. However, broadly, there are two key aims:

  1. Determine the magnitude and meaning of associations between parental mindfulness and children’s mental health and wellbeing outcomes;
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of a well-established, self-directed mindfulness smartphone App (Headspace, Collaborative Partner) in improving parental wellbeing and executive control, and resultant effects for parent-child relationships and children’s mental health.

Applicants: essential and/or desirable attributes/skills

Experience with recruitment and retention of participants for research; understanding of adult and/or child mental health and/or developmental psychology.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may be taken as either a 1+3 year award (a one-year MSc followed by a three-year PhD), a +3 award (a three-year PhD)
  • It may be taken full-time or part-time.
  • The studentship award covers your university fees, and provides you with a stipend of £16,777 per year (this is the 2018/19 rate; inflation may apply). You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.

Training Opportunities

A comprehensive package of training will be agreed in consultation with the supervisors. Elements of training will be provided by the supervisors, Goldsmiths, and by other providers.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study at Goldsmiths, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to Goldsmiths, University of London: apply for a PhD for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS. Further guidance on next steps can be foind at the bottom of the page.

Deadline:

The deadline applying to Goldsmiths, University of London for a place is 23:59 GMT on 20 January 2019. No extensions to this deadline will be permitted.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Dr Bonamy Oliver (b.oliver@gold.ac.uk), For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email: c.robson@gold.ac.uk

2. Haptics and the virtual self

Primary supervisor: Dr James Moore, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London; second supervisor: Dr Devin Terhune, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London

SeNSS Pathway: Psychology

Collaborative partner: Ultrahaptics

Collaborative supervisors: Dr Hannah Limerick

Research project

This unique and exciting project is a collaboration with Ultrahaptics, the world leader in mid-air haptics. Ultrahaptics’ core mid-air haptic technology uses ultrasound (i.e. frequencies beyond the range of human hearing) to project tactile sensations directly onto a user’s hands.

The emergence of new digital technologies has opened up fresh possibilities for human action and interaction. With virtual reality in particular, our actions and their effects are no longer tethered exclusively to the physical environment. Whilst this promises to extend the horizons of human agency, the impact of this technology on our sense of self is still unclear. The studentship will systematically investigate of the effect of haptic feedback on key aspects of the sense of self in virtual environments. The student will be responsible for all stages of the research pipeline, from designing experiments to writing up the results for publication. They will be encouraged to present the results at seminars and conferences. Applicants must also demonstrate a keen interest in agency/ownership research and its application to real-world settings.

During this PhD the student will develop advanced research and technical skills that are transferable beyond academia. This project also creates an exciting opportunity for the student to bridge academia and industry.

Applicants: essential and/or desirable attributes/skills

Applicants must have a first class or high 2:1 undergraduate degree in Psychology or a related discipline, and have completed - or be in the course of completing - a relevant ESRC-accredited master’s degree. A high level of competence in computer programming would be an advantage.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may only be taken as +3 award (a three-year PhD)
  • It may be only be taken full-time
  • The studentship award covers your university fees, and provides you with a stipend of £16,777 per year (this is the 2018/19 rate; inflation may apply). You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study at Goldsmiths, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to Goldsmiths, University of London: apply for a PhD for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS. Further guidance on next steps can be foind at the bottom of the page.

Deadline:

The deadline applying to Goldsmiths, University of London for a place is 23:59 GMT on 20 January 2019. No extensions to this deadline will be permitted.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Dr Bonamy Oliver (j.moore@gold.ac.uk) For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email: c.robson@gold.ac.uk

3. Communicating the risk of taking medicines to (potentially) pregnant women post-Montgomery: a Socio-Legal exploration

Primary supervisor: Prof. Sally Sheldon, Law School, University of Kent; Ellie Lee, School of Social Policy, University of Kent

SeNSS Pathway: Socio-Legal

Collaborative partner: BPAS

Collaborative supervisor: Clare Murphy, Director of External Affairs

Research project

Clinicians face complex ethical and legal issues in communicating risk information to (potentially) pregnant women. While the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Montgomery v Lanarkshire (2015) suggests that women should be warned of any ‘material risk’ and empowered to make their own healthcare decisions, this can be difficult to operationalise in practice.

Through desk based study and a series of interviews with clinicians, this PhD will explore how healthcare professionals negotiate thorny ethical and legal issues in the context of advising (potentially) pregnant women regarding the risks of taking three specific medications. How do clinicians manage tensions between ensuring informed consent and the precautionary principle (‘if in doubt, don’t risk it’)? How do they negotiate certainty, uncertainty, risk and fear? How do they balance complex ethical concerns for the woman’s health, her autonomy, and the health of her future child? What role do regulatory frameworks play in this process?

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with BPAS, a large reproductive health charity and abortion service provider, which promotes public education on matters relating to pregnancy and advocates for women’s access to evidence-based information (https://www.bpas.org/). The PGR will spend time at BPAS, gaining first-hand experience of the External Affairs Department of a busy charity.

Applicants: essential and/or desirable attributes/skills

Applicants should have an interest in women’s reproductive health and a good first degree in law, sociology or another relevant social science discipline.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may be taken as either a 1+3 year award (a one-year MSc followed by a three-year PhD), a +3 award (a three-year PhD)
  • It may be taken full-time or part-time
  • The studentship award covers your university fees, and provides you with a stipend of £14,777 per year. You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study at the University of Kent, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to University of Kent: How to apply for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS. Further guidance on next steps can be foind at the bottom of the page.

Deadline:

The deadline applying to the University of Kent for a place is 23:59 GMT on 20 January 2019. No extensions to this deadline will be permitted.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Prof. Sally Sheldon (s.sheldon@kent.ac.uk) For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email graduateschool@kent.ac.uk

4. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Auditory Verbal Hallucinations - what should it be doing and how will we know when that’s happened?

Primary supervisor: Prof. David Fowler, School of Psychology, University of Sussex; second supervisor: Prof. Andy Field, School of Psychology, University of Sussex

SeNSS Pathway: Psychology

Collaborative partner: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Collaborative supervisors: Dr Mark Hayward, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Research project

Psychosis is a severe and distressing mental health condition that has serious consequences for patients and society. Auditory Verbal Hallucinations (AVH; also known as voice hearing experiences) are a core symptom of psychosis. The existing ‘gold standard’ psychological treatment for psychosis and AVH is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). Despite evidence for its effectiveness, there is a lack of consensus about how to measure the outcomes of CBT for AVH. This can cause confusion for patients and clinicians and can impede informed choice and clinical decision-making.

This studentship will aim to clarify the outcomes for CBT of AVH through four interlocking objectives that will explore existing knowledge, patient and clinical perspectives and a large novel dataset. This PhD would particularly suit someone with an interest in pursuing a clinical academic career.

The project will also benefit from consultation by Dr Simon McCarthy Jones (Steering Committee Member, International Consortium on Hallucinations Research) who has an international reputation for his work on understandings of AVH.

Applicants: essential and/or desirable attributes/skills Applicants who have experience working in NHS services would have an advantage.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may be taken as either a 1+3 year award (a one-year MSc followed by a three-year PhD), a +3 award (a three-year PhD)
  • It may be taken full-time or part-time
  • The studentship award covers your university fees, and provides you with a stipend of £14,777 per year. You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study at the University of Sussex, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to University of Sussex: apply for a PhD for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS. Further guidance on next steps can be foind at the bottom of the page.

Deadline:

The deadline applying to the University of Sussex for a place is 23:59 GMT on 20 January 2019. No extensions to this deadline will be permitted.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Prof. David Fowler (d.fowler@sussex.ac.uk),

For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email esrcdt@sussex.ac.uk

5. The impact of a collaborative sustainability learning programme amongst small and medium sized tourism enterprises: a realist evaluation approach

Primary supervisor: Prof. Xavier Font, Sustainable tourism management, University of Surrey; second supervisor: Dr Howarth, Sustainability impact and evaluation, University of Surrey

SeNSS Pathway: Business and Management

Collaborative partner: Diputació de Barcelona

Collaborative supervisors: Dr Torres-Delgado (sustainability indicators, CETT- U. Barcelona) and Dr Serrano (sustainability indicators, Diputació de Barcelona).

Research project

We are recruiting a motivated candidate into an exciting, world-class research environment to address important issues facing sustainability practices in small firms.

This PhD will study a joint programme between the Diputació de Barcelona (Spain) and Biosphere Tourism, that helps up to 500 small tourism firms make public sustainability commitments, and provides these firms with a suite of resources including training, mentoring and audits. The objectives of the PhD are:

  1. To critically understand the motivations and barriers why small enterprises engage in specific sustainability practices;
  2. To experiment with making changes in the current joint programme, in partnership with around 15 field staff;
  3. To monitor the implementation of the subsequent sustainability practices by these firms, and the impact that these practices have on both the firm and the destination;
  4. To monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the government intervention, by means of using a realist evaluation approach or a suitable alternative theoretical framework.

The researcher will be encouraged to apply for a four year PhD programme, including the MSc Social Research Methods, and then spend the full third year in Barcelona.

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey is ranked #4 in the QS World University rankings.

Applicants essential and/or desirable attributes/skills

A good understanding of organisational learning and behaviour change management. No prior sustainable tourism knowledge is required. The researcher must speak conversational Spanish, and be prepared to learn some Catalan.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may be taken as either a 1+3 year award (a one-year MSc followed by a three-year PhD), a +3 award (a three-year PhD), or a +4 award (a four year PhD). However, the researcher will be encouraged to apply for 1+3 year PhD programme, including the MSc Social Research Methods, and then spend the full third year in Barcelona
  • It may be taken full-time or part-time
  • The studentship award covers your university fees, and provides you with a stipend of £14,777 per year. You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study at the University of Surrey, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to University of Surrey: how to apply for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS. Further guidance on next steps can be foind at the bottom of the page.

Deadline:

The deadline applying to the University of Surrey for a place is 23:59 GMT on 20 January 2019. No extensions to this deadline will be permitted.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Prof. Xavier Font (x.font@surrey.ac.uk),

For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email: studentships@southeastdtc.ac.uk

6. Employment in the Age of Artificial Intelligence and Robots: Measurement, Impact, and Policies

Prof. Tommaso Ciarli, University of Sussex

In collaboration with: Nesta

Further details to follow shortly.

7. Exploring implementation and mechanisms of change in engagement and mental health outcomes following the Early Youth Engagement (EYE-2) intervention.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Kathryn Greenwood, School of Psychology, University of Sussex; second supervisor: Prof. Andy Field, School of Psychology, University of Sussex.

SeNSS Pathway: Psychology

Collaborative partner: Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Collaborative supervisor: Dr Stuart Clark, Sussex EIP service, Clinical Lead and by Beth Lawton (chief digital/information officer), Professor Carl May (implementation scientist) the Sussex EIP Service and the whole national EYE-2 team (psychologists, psychiatrists, implementation scientists, health economists, clinical trials/statistical methodologists)

Research project

This studentship is part of a 3 year NIHR-funded study: the Early Youth Engagement in Psychosis (EYE-2) study which is the first national randomised controlled trial of an intervention to promote engagement in EIP services.

Psychosis affects 1-2% of the population. It can have devastating long term consequences on mental health and wellbeing. Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services can significantly improve outcomes but 25-30% of young people drop out of these services in the first 12 months.

The study has 3 objectives:

  1. To conduct a systematic review of recent approaches to engagement in EIP Services
  2. To conduct a mechanistic study of mediators and moderators of engagement in participants who have received the EYE-2 intervention.
  3. To conduct a detailed study of implementation of the EYE-2 intervention by NHS clinicians using a large EYE-2 data set.

This PhD would particularly suit someone with an interest in pursuing a clinical academic career. A comprehensive package of training will be provided through both University and NHS.

Applicants who have experience working in NHS services would have an advantage.

Studentship Details:

  • This studentship may be taken as either a 1+3 year award (a one-year MSc followed by a three-year PhD), a +3 award (a three-year PhD)
  • It may be taken full-time or part-time
  • The studentship award covers your university fees, and provides you with a stipend of £14,777 per year. You will also be able to apply for small amounts of additional funding via the SeNSS Research Training Support Grant.

How to apply for this studentship

In order to be considered for this SeNSS studentship, you must first apply for a place to study at the University of Sussex, noting that you are applying for the collaborative studentship. Please go to University of Sussex: apply for a PhD for information on how to make your application.

You will then need to make a separate application to SeNSS. Further guidance on next steps can be foind at the bottom of the page.

Deadline:

The deadline applying to the University of Sussex for a place is 23:59 GMT on 20 January 2019. No extensions to this deadline will be permitted.

For further enquiries:

For enquiries related to the studentship topic, please email Kathryn Greenwood (k.e.greenwood@sussex.ac.uk),

For enquiries related to your eligibility for this studentship, and the application process, please email esrcdt@sussex.ac.uk

For useful information on the application process please click here

How do I apply for a SeNSS collaborative studentship?

First, check whether you are eligible for a SeNSS ESRC-funded studentship. The eligibility rules and guidance are available at: http://senss-dtp.ac.uk/application-faqs/.

Ideally, contact the collaborative supervisor for the project you are interested in, and discuss your interest in applying with them. If, after talking to this supervisor, you feel you are a good match for this research project, submit your application for a place to study at the SeNSS university at which the research project is based. The deadline for applying to for a place to study is listed under each topic, above.

Once you have applied for a place to study at your home university, you will need to apply for studentship funding from SeNSS. FluidReview, the online platform you will need to use to complete your application, will open in mid-November 2018. In the meantime, you should start thinking about and drafting the key aspects of your application. These are:

  • Your proposal: explain why you are applying for this particular collaborative studentship, including why you are well-suited to this project, and to working with this specific collaborative partner; explain your understanding of the potential contribution the project is expected to make to relevant academic fields, and its potential impact outside academia; and describe how well prepared you are for taking up this studentship, in terms of your prior research training and/or professional experience.
  • Your personal statement: give your reasons for applying, why you deserve a studentship, what your academic interests are, why you wish to study with SeNSS on this particular research project, why you are passionate about this topic, and how your existing knowledge and experience fits well with this topic. Tell us about your long-term career ambitions, and how a SeNSS collaborative studentship relates to these. Discuss your skillset, highlighting your relevant skills and knowledge that will enable you to make an impact, and what that impact will be; summarise your abilities in core areas related to this project, including IT, organisation, communication, time management and critical thinking. Please also make reference to any grades you've achieved, awards you've won, placements you've undertaken, or conferences you've attended which have either helped prepare you for this project, or which make you an excellent candidate for a SeNSS collaborative studentship.

In mid-November, contact your proposed university's SeNSS administrative lead to request access to the online FluidReview SeNSS collaborative studentship application form. The administrative lead will give you the weblink and an access code, so that you can create your application.

How will my SeNSS studentship application be assessed?

Your application will be assessed by the research project's supervisory team and their collaborative partner. If your application of a sufficiently high standard, you will be asked to attend an interview. The interview panel will recommend the best candidate for their award. The SeNSS Management Board will meet in early April 2019 to discuss this award and to formally agree who should receive it.

When will I hear whether my application has been successful?

You will be notified during April 2019 whether you have been awarded a SeNSS student-led studentship.


For further questions, please refer to the "Application FAQs" page of this website.