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Leverhulme Trust Biopsychosocial Doctoral Scholarship Programme

Leverhulme Trust Biopsychosocial Doctoral Scholarship Programme

The University of Oxford will be offering 15 doctoral scholarships from 2021-2023, thanks to a £1.35m grant from the Leverhulme Trust. Students will complete multi-disciplinary research on the impact of poverty and social inequalities in early childhood.

The ground-breaking programme of doctoral scholarships, spanning the social and biological sciences, will aim to reduce the impact of these disadvantages on children’s life chances. Directed by Professor Jane Barlow, this is Oxford’s first doctoral programme that brings together expertise from diverse disciplines with the explicit goal of reducing the impact of social inequality in early childhood through the application of biological science.

Social inequalities and poverty have proved to be highly intractable, and continue to be significant predictors of poor outcomes for children. It is now recognised that the social adversity associated with such poverty, is ‘biologically embedded’ in children during ‘sensitive developmental periods’, and thereby that the origins of long-term social inequality lie in developmental and biological disruptions occurring during the early years of life. Early social interventions aimed at improving the life-chances of young children exposed to such adversity have made a significant contribution to reducing the impact of poverty on children globally, but the overall benefit of these programmes is still limited. Emerging research suggests that this may be due to biological characteristics, which can influence the capacity of individual children to benefit from early interventions (i.e. known as ‘differential susceptibility’), and also that social interventions need to begin to address the early biological disruptions, now recognised to be a significant part of the problem.

We seek applications from high calibre individuals who have an interest in building on recent scientific advances that have begun to apply knowledge developed between the biological and social sciences with the aim of using a multiple level of analysis perspective to reduce social inequalities in early childhood.

Leverhulme Trust Biopsychosocial Doctoral Scholarship Programme

About the Programme

This exciting new programme of scholarships will expose students to expertise and cutting edge mixed-methods research across the fields of psychology, sociology, neuroscience, endocrinology, genetics, and ethics, producing a new generation of scientists who have the necessary skills to be future research leaders in this important field.

Four lead departments are affiliated with the programme: Social Policy and Intervention, Sociology, Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology.

Students will complete a training programme tailored to their individual skills and project requirements, including attending activities offered to the full Leverhulme cohort. They will be formally admitted by the Department linked to their primary supervisor, and will have access to the diverse range of seminars, workshops and advanced training opportunities offered by that Department.

Scholarships and Eligibility

Successful candidates will be awarded a 4-year scholarship covering tuition fees and a maintenance stipend at UK research council rates. They will also have access to research and training support funds.

While the Leverhulme Trust offers scholarships at ‘home’ fee levels only, where sufficiently strong overseas candidates apply, the University will consider offering them an award covering overseas fees.

These projects are advertised on a full-time basis. Applicants who are unable to study full-time may also apply; however, any offer to study part-time will be conditional on the University first receiving permission from the Leverhulme Trust.

For information on the application process, please refer to spi.ox.ac.uk/leverhulme-trust-biopsychosocial-doctoral-scholarship-scheme

Application Deadline: The funding deadline for the Leverhulme Trust Biopsychosocial Doctoral Scholarship Programme is 12:00 midday UK time on Friday 27 May 2022. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered.

Contact: Social Policy and Intervention Academic Office admissions@spi.ox.ac.uk

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