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PhD scholarship (fees only) within the Substance Use Research Group (SURG)

  Centre for Criminology

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 Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)

About the Programme

 The University of South Wales (USW), in partnership with Welsh Government and Barod, is delighted to invite applications for a fees-only PhD scholarship within the Substance Use Research Group (SURG).  

SURG is located within the Centre for Criminology at USW and was formed in 2019 to further develop our portfolio of high quality-research into the use of drugs and alcohol. Led by Professor Katy Holloway, the group comprises academic researchers (including Emeritus Professor Trevor Bennett, Professor Ali Wardak, Professor Kate Williams, Dr Sophie Chambers, Dr Marian Buhociu, Sharmila Kumar and Shannon Murray) and a team of Visiting academics including (Dr Rhian Hills and Dr Jan Melichar). Together the team has a wealth of expertise in current and emerging issues in substance use, such as: harm reduction interventions, drug production and supply, criminal justice responses, substance use among university students, the development and implementation of substance misuse policy, and the effectiveness of opioid substitute treatments.

Much of the research undertaken by researchers in the Centre for Criminology (including SURG researchers) is applied research that has had an important impact on society. The results of the REF 2014 in relation to the Social Work and Social Policy Unit of Assessment (which includes Criminology) are a testimony to this: 80% of the research impact was rated as world-leading (4*), which ranked us eight in the UK and top in Wales.

This fees-only scholarship presents an ideal opportunity for an enthusiastic drugs researcher to join the SURG team and to work closely with Welsh Government and Barod. The scholarship is integral to the development of SURG and will help to support USW’s submission to REF 2026.

This call is open to applicants with research interests in the broad area of substance use and misuse. 


Scholarship details

Three years full-time fees (at the University Home student rate) will be paid by the University. Please note that the scholarship may include the requirement to undertake up to a maximum of six hours teaching per week in the faculty commensurate with the candidate’s experience and expertise. The candidate will be paid for any teaching that is required. Successful applicants will be offered research methods training and support to develop their professional teaching skills.


The closing date for applications is 30th October. We expect to invite candidates to interview in November with an expected start date of January 2022.


Home/EU graduates are eligible to apply. Applicants should hold a first-class or upper second-class degree in a relevant subject, and should normally have either a MA or MSc in a relevant subject or equivalent professional experience.



Details of how to apply are on the USW Graduate School webpages:

Applications must include a research proposal outlining the research questions, theoretical framework, methods and timeframe for completion of the research. Proposals should clearly explain the original contribution to knowledge. We strongly recommend that applicants look closely at Welsh Government's Substance Misuse Delivery Plan, Dame Carol Black's independent review of drugs, and Barod's web pages when choosing the focus of their research. 

Advice on preparing a research proposal can be found here:


Applicants should contact Jane MacCuish ( in the Graduate School for advice on the application process.

Applicants are welcome to contact the partners listed below to discuss proposals and supervision ahead of formal submission.


Professor Katy Holloway (

Dr Marian Buhociu (

Dr Rhian Hills (

Caroline Phipps (

Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. It is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full programme details for further information.
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