KESS-funded PhD in Healthcare Sciences: Managing cancer treatment at home

This funding opportunity has expired.

Key facts

Application deadline 13 November 2017
Start date 1 January 2018
Duration 3 years
Funding body KESS
Level of study Postgraduate research
Award type PhD studentship
Number of studentships 1

Research into the physical, emotional and social factors that influence adherence to oral cancer treatment in the home.

Project background

Cancer is a priority for the Welsh government. Increasingly complex and successful cancer treatments are available with more than 50% of people with cancer now surviving five years or longer. A growing number of people are receiving oral treatments in their home.

Little is known about cancer treatment management in the home. It requires the person with cancer, but often also a carer, to have knowledge, skill and confidence in medicines management. There is potential for medication errors and patients must understand the importance of adherence, if optimal treatment outcomes are to be achieved and toxicities minimised. If treatments are not taken as prescribed, they may not work. Poor adherence can result in increased healthcare costs if disease worsens requiring additional treatments.

There is potential for exploratory research to identify patients at risk for non-adherence and to develop understanding of factors that influence patient adherence. Knowledge that can then be used to develop tailored complex interventions to improve adherence in high risk populations. The potential impact of such research is improved survival and quality of life outcomes with associated cost savings for the NHS.

Study question

What physical, emotional and social factors influence adherence to oral cancer treatment in the home?

Design and methods

The research will be of case study design. It will use mixed methods of data collection. It will be an in depth investigation of the practical, emotional and social factors that can act as obstacles or enablers to medication adherence in the home. It will compare and contrast the perspectives of patients, family carers and healthcare professionals. Study participants will be identified and recruited in out-patient treatment clinics at the Velindre Cancer Centre, Cardiff.

It is envisaged data will be collated using the following methods:

  • systematic literature review of what is known about psychosocial factors and adherence to oral cancer treatments
  • survey questionnaire, to include a measure of adherence
  • interviews with patients, family carers and healthcare professionals.

The analysis will be a mixed-methods within case and cross-case analysis to understand the what, when, where and why of oral cancer medicines management in the community, with a particular focus on treatment adherence.


Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships 2 (KESS2) is a pan-Wales higher-level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the Higher Education sector in Wales.

It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) West Wales and the Valleys programme, by partners from the West Wales and the Valleys areas of Wales, and by Cardiff University.


Supervisors will work with the student to agree a bespoke plan of activity to support the development of generic and transferable skills complementary to those they have on entry to the PhD programme. This will be in addition to the training and support available via the Cardiff Doctoral Academy Programme and the compulsory taught component of their course of study.

The KESS2 partner, Tenovus, will create opportunities for the award holder to gain insight into the charities approach to engagement. This will include 30 days work alongside the Research Engagement Officer, contributing to events, for example by giving presentations, meeting the public and as a member of the Tenovus tour bus team, sharing information about Tenovus' research activities.


Harmer-Griebel, Liz

Liz Harmer-Griebel

Research Support Manager

+44 (0)29 206 88560

Funding details

Tuition fee support Full UK/EU tuition fees
Maintenance stipend Doctoral stipend matching UK Research Council National Minimum

Eligibility criteria

Residency This studentship is open to those within the KESS convergence area (Wales).
Academic criteria

Applicants for research PhDs at Cardiff University are expected to have one or both of the following:

  • a first degree, normally with class 2:1 or higher, or equivalent in a relevant subject
  • a relevant Master's qualification or equivalent.

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  1. have a home or work address in a Convergence area of Wales (CAW)* at the time of their application to the University
  2. have the right to take up paid work in the Convergence area of Wales* on completion of the scholarship
  3. be classified by the University as 'home' or 'EU' according to the University's guidelines.

*The Convergence area of Wales covers West Wales and the Valleys made up of 15 local authorities: Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy, Denbighshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen.


Harmer-Griebel, Liz

Liz Harmer-Griebel

Research Support Manager

+44 (0)29 206 88560

Consideration is automatic upon application for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Healthcare Sciences (start date of January 2018).

Applicants should include a personal statement, research proposal, curriculum vitae, and covering letter.

In the funding section of your application, please select 'I will be applying for a scholarship/grant' and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from KESS. In the research proposal section, include the project description contained here.

Prospective applicants are strongly advised to contact one or both supervisors prior to submitting an application.

We reserve the right to close applications early should sufficient applications be received.


Harmer-Griebel, Liz

Liz Harmer-Griebel

Research Support Manager

+44 (0)29 206 88560

Funding opportunity provided by:

Meet us at our Information Fair on 22 February 2018.