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Healthcare Sciences

The School of Healthcare Sciences' research programme is structured to give you the opportunity to undertake original and independent research in the healthcare sciences.

Our research programme is structured to give you the opportunity to undertake original and independent research in the healthcare sciences.

Applications are invited from those interested in undertaking research that fits with the School’s available research themes.

Each of the three themes has a range of research areas and you should aim to tailor your research proposal to one of these areas:

  • Optimising Well-being and the Management of Long-term Conditions
  • Optimising Service Delivery and Organisation
  • Optimising Health through Activity, lifestyles and Technology

We offer the following research specialisations:

  • Adult Nursing
  • Child Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Operating Department Practice
  • Radiography
  • Radiotherapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Midwifery
  • Health Psychology

Programme aims

To undertake independent and original research in the healthcare sciences that will help inform, improve and influence healthcare across the globe.

Distinctive features

  • Dedicated office space provided for postgraduate research students.
  • Each doctoral student is encouraged to pursue a programme of courses, workshops and conferences. The School itself provides a programme of monthly research methods master classes, an annual postgraduate research symposium and two sessions per year to update students on ethics review procedures.
  • Students are also encouraged to take an active role in our themes to include delivering presentations on behalf of the theme at the school seminar series and contributing to individual theme meetings.
  • Research training is also provided by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil
Full-time duration PhD 3 years, MPhil 1 year
Part-time duration PhD 5 years, MPhil 2 years
Start dates October

Our research programme is structured to give you the opportunity to undertake original and independent research in the healthcare sciences.

Each doctoral student is encouraged to pursue a programme of courses, workshops and conferences. We provide a programme of monthly research methods master classes, an annual postgraduate research symposium and two sessions per year to update students on ethics review procedures.

You should aim to tailor your research proposal to one of these areas:

  • Optimising Well-being and the Management of Long-term Conditions
  • Optimising Service Delivery and Organisation
  • Optimising Health through Activity, lifestyles and Technology

Optimising Well-being and the Management of Long-term Conditions

This theme looks at the health and well-being of people affected by chronic and life limiting conditions. For 2020/21 we welcome proposals from PhD and MPhil applicants aligned to areas within the theme. Below are supervisor’s areas of expertise:

Professor Chris Bundy

I am a Health Psychologist and have expertise in quantitative methods with some qualitative expertise in Framework Analysis. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Behaviour change in long-term conditions especially skin and joint inflammation
  • Inflammatory processes and mood
  • New Patient Reported Impact measures in Psoriasis or Inflammatory Arthritis
  • Healthcare improvement intervention studies in Inflammatory diseases
  • Clinician training to improve psychological care

Dr Jane Harden

I am a Senior lecturer I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Cultural identities and representational practices of professionals
  • Critical Practice and Development
  • Patient Safety and Risk Management
  • Quality of life in people with long-term conditions
  • Dementia care in acute settings

Dr Dikaios Sakellariou

My research is primarily located within the area of disability studies. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Experiences and/ or disparities of access to healthcare for disabled people
    Aim: to explore experiences and/ or disparities of access to healthcare for disabled people.
  • Relationships of care
    Aim: to explore experiences of caring for a family member or friend, with a focus on the relationality of care.
  • Sexuality and disability
    Aim: to explore experiences related to sexuality and disability, and ways to address this topic in clinical practice.

Dr Tessa Watts

I am a researcher, qualified teacher and registered nurse (adult field) with a clinical background in palliative and end of life care in advanced cancer and an academic grounding in social and political sciences in nursing. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Cancer
  • Palliative care
  • End of life care
  • Supported self-management in chronic illness
  • Methods: qualitative

Optimising Service Delivery and Organisation

This theme seeks to provide evidence about both current and new ways of working to meet complex health care demands. For 2020/21 we welcome proposals from PhD and MPhil applicants aligned to the following areas within the theme.  Below are supervisor’s areas of expertise:

Professor Davina Allen

I am a sociologist and have expertise in qualitative methods particularly ethnography. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • The organising work of nurses - https://theinvisibleworkofnurses.co.uk
  • Caring roles and responsibilities - lay and professional
  • Healthcare improvement studies
  • Healthcare quality and safety
  • Everyday technologies in healthcare – ICT, pathways, guidelines etc

Professor Molly Courtenay

I am nurse by background who specialised in intensive care. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Adoption of prescribing by nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals, interprofessional education and collaborative practice, antimicrobial stewardship and the prescription of antibiotics by nurse and pharmacist prescribers.
  • I have expertise in mixed methods and qualitative methodology.

Dr Katie Featherstone

I am a medical sociologist interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Inequalities in healthcare
  • Institutional cultures and ward cultures in the acute setting
  • Qualitative and ethnographic research in clinical settings
  • The care and experiences of people living with dementia and carers

Professor Daniel Kelly

I am currently involved in national and international research projects, and am experienced as a PhD Supervisor and Examiner, including international examining. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Cancer care
  • End of life
  • Health and organisational systems
  • Patient safety
  • Role development
  • Qualitative and mixed method research

Dr Steven Whitcombe

I have a general interest in social science and health professional education, I am currently exploring the relationship between occupational science and occupational therapy practice. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • who wish to explore the relationship between knowledge and their professional identity.
  • I am also interested in what healthcare students 'need to know' and ' how best to teach them'. This ties into my research interests around learning and teaching approaches used in healthcare education such as problem-based learning.
  • Currently I am focused on how/whether occupational therapists utilise in their practice the philosophical constructs from occupational science.
  • My interests on knowledge application also extend beyond occupational therapy, with interests in the challenges of interprofessional working particularly in mental health and the changing landscape of health and social care.
  • My other area of interest is the 'transition' from healthcare student to practitioner and the challenges and opportunities this presents. I am most comfortable with qualitative research methodologies.

Optimising Health through Activity, Lifestyles and Technology

This theme looks at the delivery of healthcare for those experiencing a range of acute and chronic conditions, illnesses and injuries. For 2020/21 we welcome proposals from PhD and MPhil applicants aligned to the following areas within the theme. Below are supervisor’s areas of expertise:

Dr Clare Bennett

I am a registered Nurse, a Researcher and Senior Lecturer. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Sexual health
  • Health promotion
  • Family studies
  • Leadership and quality improvement
  • Methods - qualitative research, mixed methods, realist evaluation

Professor Monica Busse

I am a chartered physiotherapist, trials methodologist and Director for Mind, Brain, Neuroscience Trials in the Centre for Trials Research (CTR) at Cardiff University. I am interested in supervising students in studies that that are embedded to some of our currently open trials. These may be non-pharmacological or pharmacological or surgical trials. I am also interested in studies evaluating the use of digital sensing devices to provide objective assessments of physical activity and sleep in a range of clinical populations (primarily neurodegenerative disease).

Current opportunities are:

  • DOMINO-HD: Can digital sensing devices provide objective assessments of physical activity and sleep that are both clinically meaningful and acceptable to people with Huntington’s Disease
  • TAPERS: Exploring experiences of medication prescription in the Treating Anxiety to PrevEnt Relapse in Schizophrenia (TAPERS) a feasibility trial.
  • TRIDENT: Understanding participant experiences and surgical processes in cell transplantation in Huntington’s Disease to inform Trial Designs for Delivery of Novel Therapies in Neurodegeneration
  • PACE-HD: Developing a process evaluation framework for a Physical Activity Intervention trial in Huntington’s Disease

Dr Kate Button

I am a physiotherapist specialising in assessment and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. I am interested in supervising PhD's in the field of:

  • Development of digital interventions for musculoskeletal conditions.

Dr Nick Courtier

I am a radiotherapy lecturer and cancer researcher. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Technical approaches to minimise adverse effects of radiotherapy
  • Predicting, understanding and managing side effects of radiotherapy /cancer treatment
  • Improving the lives of patients after a diagnosis of cancer

Dr Nichola Gale

I am Physiotherapy Lecturer with an interest in cardiorespiratory conditions. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • The impact of comorbidities in chronic lung disease
  • The role of physical activity in chronic lung disease
  • Developing and evaluating supportive interventions in cancer

Dr Catherine Purcell

I’m a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy and psychologist by background. I’m interested in research relating to independent safe mobility in a variety of contexts, such as road crossing and driving. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Methodologies such as virtual / augmented reality and experimental studies
  • Perception & action and the impact on occupation and / or function
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders and understanding the impact of living with hidden disabilities

Dr Carly Reagon

I took up my current position as lecturer in the School of Healthcare Sciences in March 2008 after working as a research officer in the School of Medicine. I undertake a range of research activities including supervision of postgraduate research students.  I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Qualitative research
  • Arts and health
  • Cancer support
  • Mental health recovery
  • Theory of evidence based practice

Professor Julia Sanders

I am a Registered Midwife and Nurse, a researcher and professional leader. I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • Maternal health
  • Midwifery
  • Methods - quantitative and routine NHS data.

Dr Liba Sheeran

I work as Senior Lecturer (Research and Teaching). I am interested in supervising students in the areas of:

  • The assessment and management of lower back pain

UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Candidates for the Professional Doctorate programme may be eligible to apply for a UK government postgraduate doctoral loan.

Find out more about UK government postgraduate doctoral loans

Funding

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Tuition fees

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You should aim to tailor your research proposal to one of our research areas.

Applicants should normally hold a 2:1 degree or the equivalent in a field relevant to the particular project.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.

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