Research Opportunities

  • Details of funding opportunities will be advertised on this page when they become available, or look at research opportunities across the whole university.
  • Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

    3 Year, full-time funded PhD studentship

    Project title:  Cognition and motor control in older adults

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

    Closing date: 11 March 2019

    Interviews: 25 March 2019

    Start date: September 2019

    Value p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/19 bursary rate is £14,777)

    Supervisors: Kate Wilmut, Clare Rathbone and Morag MacLean

    Project:

    Movement is the only way in which humans can interact with the world. However, a wealth of research demonstrates a significant decline in motor control as we age which may have a significant impact on the quality of life. The decline in motor control include change to both manual movements where we see slowness and inaccuracy and gross motor control where we see a propensity towards falling and tripping. A prominent theory in motor control research is the constraints-based approach to movement which states that any motor response is constrained by the environment, the task and the individual (Keogh and Sugden 1985; Newell, 1986). As such any emerging movement is a response to these constraints. As such the change we see in movement across the lifespan may be the result of changing constraints in one, or more, of these areas.

    A PhD in this area could focus on the nature of the change in motor control across the lifespan and the consideration of constraints on motor control. Such constraints could include, but would not be limited to: physical constraints (i.e. range of motion), higher-order cognitive processes (i.e. planning, inhibition, memory) and/or internal simulation of movement which is thought to be a key process in motor control (Wolpert et al., 1998).

    There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

    For further information contact Dr Kate Wilmut: k.wilmut@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have (or be expecting) a first class or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in psychology or related cognate discipline (knowledge of research design and statistics is essential). EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years  by an approved test centre. We are prepared to consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include an application form
    ( http://www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc) and a project proposal (max 2000 words) including background, aims and an outline of how those aims will be addressed. Applicants can liaise with Dr Kate Wilmut when developing their proposal.

    Completion of a DBS check is required on enrolment the cost of this will be covered by the University.

    Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development 

    3 Year, full-timefunded PhD studentship

    Project title: Romantic relationships and cultural identity

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

    Closing date: 11 March 2019

    Interviews: 25 March 2019

    Start date: September 2019

    Value p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/19 bursary rate is £14,777)

    Supervisors: Dr Mark Burgess and Professor Guida de Abreu

    Project: Healthy romantic relationships contribute to the purpose and meaning of a person’s life. Under normal circumstances, romantic partners reveal more of themselves to each other as the relationship progresses. They present themselves as a couple to their family and friends and they find a comfortable place in the broader world. But what happens when a person’s sexual attraction and desire for committed union challenges the time-honoured scripts of their valued cultural identity? That person will know that danger zones are not only physical. They will know that danger zones are also psychological and exist dynamically within a socially embedded self (Hermans, 2018). Their self may incorporate seemingly contradictory ‘I-positions’ where they are genuinely committed to a particular romantic future and yet also are genuinely committed to a cultural group that prohibits that romantic future. This form of impasse can threaten a person’s self-continuity, precipitate self-reflective rumination, and challenge mental health (Aho & Guignon, 2011). The resolution of such an impasse can lead to self-acceptance, growth, and a sense of authenticity.

    This PhD research will use Hermans’ (e.g., 2001, 2014) theory of dialogical self and qualitative methods to understand romantic experiences that are inconsistent with perceived cultural expectations. The research could focus on a variety of relationship experiences, including (but not limited to): sexual orientation, arranged marriages, polygamy, polyamory, prohibition against divorce, cohabitation.  

    For further information contact Dr. Mark Burgess mark.burgess@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have (or be expecting) a first class or upper second-class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in psychology or related cognate discipline (knowledge of research design and qualitative research methods is essential). EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. We are prepared to consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

    There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

    Completion of a DBS check is required on enrolment the cost of this will be covered by the University.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include an application form
    ( http://www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc) and a project proposal (max 2000 words) including background, aims and an outline of how those aims will be addressed. Applicants can liaise with Dr Mark Burgess when developing their proposal.

    Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

    3 Year, full-time funded PhD studentship

    Project title: Mental Health Literacy in the Workplace

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

    Closing date: 11 March 2019

    Interviews: 25 March 2019

    Start date: September 2019

    Value p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/19 bursary rate is £14,777)

    Supervisors: Professor David Foxcroft and Dr Emma Davies, Prevention Science Group, Oxford Brookes University.

    Project:

    As part of its European Mental Health Action Plan, the World Health Organisation highlights the workforce as a population that needs intervention to increase mental wellbeing (World Health Organization, 2013).

    One way to improve workplace wellbeing could be to improve levels of Mental Health Literacy (MHL).  MHL refers to “knowledge of how to prevent mental disorders; recognition of when a disorder is developing; knowledge of help-seeking options and treatments available; knowledge of effective self-help strategies for milder problems, and first aid skills to support others who are developing a mental disorder or are in a mental health crisis.” (Jorm, 2012, p.1). Higher levels of MHL may be linked to lower levels of mental ill health  (Wei, McGrath, Hayden, & Kutcher, 2015). High levels of MHL literacy may also play a role in reducing stigma, and creating a culture of supportive care within the workplace

    This PhD studentship will focus on the development and evaluation of a brief digital MHL screening and feedback intervention for use in a specific workforce, which will be highly scalable. In our research team we value the principles of co-production and employ systematic frameworks within our approach to intervention development. Our research also has a strong grounding in theory and so we would welcome applicants who are willing to grapple with both theoretical and applied issues.

    There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

    For further information contact Professor David Foxcroft david.foxcroft@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have (or be expecting) a first class or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in psychology or related cognate discipline (knowledge of research design and statistics is essential). EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. We are prepared to consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.uk and should include an application form
    ( http://www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc) and a project proposal (max 2000 words) including background, aims and an outline of how those aims will be addressed. Applicants can liaise with Professor David Foxcroft when developing their proposal.

    Completion of a DBS check is required on enrolment the cost of this will be covered by the University.

    Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

    3 Year, full-time funded PhD studentship

    Project title:  Parenting and child sleep

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

    Closing date: 11 March 2019

    Interviews: 25 March 2019

    Start date: September 2019

    Value p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/19 bursary rate is £14,777)

    Supervisors: Dr Luci Wiggs and Morag MacLean

    Project:

    Sleep difficulties are one the most common behaviour problems encountered by parents of young children. Behavioural management (i.e. teaching parents to use behavioural principles to help their child learn desired sleep behaviours and unlearn undesired sleep behaviours) is the first-line intervention approach offered by mainstream clinical services and has a strong evidence base (Meltzer, & Mindell, 2014) however it is not considered an acceptable approach by some families (Etherton, Blunden, & Hauck, 2016). Better understanding of parents’ concerns is important to facilitate the development of support that is both effective and considered appropriate by parents.

    Attention to elements of parents’ cognitive style (e.g.Tikotzky & Sadeh, 2010) and parenting is also relevant to understanding how child sleep is construed and managed. For example, mothers vary greatly in their levels of mind-mindedness (i.e. a parent’s proclivity “to treat the infant as an individual with a mind rather than merely as a creature with needs that must be satisfied” (Meins, Fernyhough, Fradley & Tuckey, 2001, p. 638)) but this has been very little explored in relation to sleep.    

    A PhD in this area would aim to further understanding of the links between aspects of parents/parenting and child sleep. This could include how parental (mothers and/or fathers) mind-mindedness is linked to parents’ use of bedtime settling strategies with their child or their attitudes towards and use of various approaches to management of child sleep difficulties.  The successful applicant will be expected to design, run and analyse data from experimental studies. There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

    For further information contact Dr Luci Wiggs: lwiggs@brookes.ac.uk

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have (or be expecting) a first or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification in psychology or related cognate discipline (knowledge of research design and statistics is essential). EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate  (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.  

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to XXX and should include an application form
    ( http://www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc) and a project proposal (max 2000 words) including background, aims and an outline of how those aims will be addressed.  Applicants can liaise with Dr Dr Luci Wiggs when developing their proposal. 

    Completion of a DBS check is required on enrolment the cost of this will be covered by the University.

    Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development

    3 Year, full-time funded PhD studentship

    Project title:  Self and emotion in depression

    Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU

    Closing date: 11 March 2019

    Interviews: 25 March 2019

    Start date: September 2019

    Value p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2018/19 bursary rate is £14,777)

    Supervisors:  Dr Sanjay Kumar & Dr Michael Pilling

    Project:

    A range of research has indicated a bias for information associated with self in attention, perception and memory (Stole, Humphreys, Yankouskaya, & Sui, 2017; Sui & Humphreys, 2015;  Zhou, Guo, Ma, Zhang, Liu, Feng, …Zhong, 2017). Similar biases have also been observed with emotional stimuli. Some works from our lab indicate that individuals show self-related bias in attention and memory and they can integrate self and positive emotion information to show even larger self-biases. In a recent work we have shown that individuals with depression show systematically reduced self-biases for both happy and sad emotional stimuli.

    The research work will extend this line of research where the PhD candidate will investigate the role of self and emotion in biased information processing in individuals with depression using behavioural experiments, EEG/ERP and TMS.  The project will be supervised by Dr Sanjay Kumar and Dr Michael Pilling at Oxford Brookes University. The successful candidate would be expected to present at scientific meetings and publish.  There is an additional requirement to undertake up to 6 hours undergraduate teaching/week during semesters and to participate in a teaching skills course without further remuneration.

    For further information contact Dr Sanjay Kumar ( skumar@brookes.ac.uk)

    Requirements:
    Applicants should have (or be expecting) a first class or upper second class honours degree from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or MSc or acceptable equivalent qualification in psychology or related cognate discipline (neuroscience, engineering, physics, mathematics or natural sciences). The candidate should be able to work with varied groups of patient populations, if required, and be interested in learning EEG/ERP methods.  EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre. We are prepared to consider alternative acceptable evidence of English Language ability.

    How to apply:
    Applications should be sent to hlsapplications@brookes.ac.ukand should include an application form
    ( http://www.hls.brookes.ac.uk/images/research/phd-studentship-application-form-jan-14.doc) and a project proposal (max 2000 words) including background, aims and an outline of how those aims will be addressed. Applicants can liaise with Dr Sanjay Kumar when developing their proposal.

    Completion of a DBS check is required on enrolment the cost of this will be covered by the University.