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Student Mental Health and Learning Analytics (Advert Reference RDFC20/SSL/FRANCIS)

Department of Social Sciences and Languages

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Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)

About the Programme

University students are reporting lower levels of wellbeing, with less than 1 in 5 students reported high levels of key wellbeing indicators (life satisfaction, feeling that things done in life are worthwhile, happiness and low anxiety) and a five-fold increase in students disclosing mental illness, compared to a decade before. As part of an Office for Students' (OfS) funded project, Northumbria University is implementing a number of initiatives which aim to improve mental health and learning outcomes for all students, match students in need to appropriate health and wellbeing support, and reduce student suicide.

Evidence will be collected across the length of the project under three workstreams:

• Suicide Intervention and Prevention
• Helping Students in Difficulties
• Supporting a Thriving Community

The evaluation will draw upon both quantitative and qualitative methods, taking an end to end - longitudinal approach - to produce a theory of change to benefit the sector as a whole. We are offering a PhD studentship which provides opportunity to focus an area of research on a specific workstream, alongside evaluating the impact of the project against its stated outcomes. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to undertake research on specific aspects of the project, aligning either to one of the three workstreams, or particular cross-cutting themes.

The project is a collaboration between 10 sector leading Universities and technology companies, students, a mental health charity and sector representative organisations. By 2021, the project will, it is hoped, deliver a whole university, stepped approach to identify and respond to students in mental health crisis, enabling positive interventions, and engaged and thriving student communities. Outputs will be scalable sector-wide.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and Dr. James Newham, Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, Northumbria University.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

· Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
· Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
· Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.


For further details of entry requirements and the application and interview process, see: 

Please note that due to a technical issue the online application form is temporarily unavailable. To enquire about this project or to request an application form, contact the Applicant Services team by emailing [email protected] including your name and the advert reference RDFC20/SSL/FRANCIS.

Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference RDFC20/SSL/FRANCIS will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Friday 18 September 2020. Interviews will be expected to follow week commencing 28 September 2020.The studentships is available to start as soon as possible.


Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers.

Funding Notes

The studentship provides a full tax-free stipend, paid for three years at UKRI rates (for 2020/21, this is £15,285 pa) and full fees.

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