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Co-design and real-world testing of an intervention to implement an evidence- and theory-based long-term physical activity intervention into stroke rehabilitation pathways (PARAS-IMP) (IDRT23/HLS/IHSC/MOORE)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr Sarah Moore, Dr Sebastian Potthoff  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Background: Physical activity (PA) is low following stroke despite the known benefits of targeting this behaviour. Current stroke rehabilitation pathways do not consistently address long-term PA behaviour change, focusing instead on functional impairment. We developed a person-centred, supported self-management stroke PA change intervention (PARAS) The feasibility of PARAS has been established within a research context, how to implement/optimise delivery within real world settings, however, has not been determined. This project aims to co-design and test a PARAS’ implementation intervention to inform implementation optimisation.

Project objectives: 1) To co-design a tailored implementation intervention for delivering PARAS within North East (NE) and North Cumbria stroke services, 2) To apply and assess the impact of the tailored implementation intervention on delivering PARAS within NE and North Cumbria stroke services

Method: PARAS’ feasibility study results, a scoping review and a survey of barriers and enablers to implementation will inform an initial PARAS implementation intervention plan. Co-design workshops will subsequently be delivered with NE and North Cumbria stroke services determining initial intervention modification. Evidence-based taxonomies will be applied to inform the choice of implementation strategies/operationalisation. The implementation intervention will then be tested in regional stroke services investigating: acceptability; adoption; appropriateness; costs; feasibility; fidelity; penetration and sustainability. A mixed-methods design will be adopted with an implementation-theory informed approach applied during analysis.

Long-term impact:

  1. PARAS optimisation to enable implementation in clinical care improving function, health and quality of life after stroke
  2. Further funding for large-scale PARAS evaluation to determine efficacy and cost-effectiveness
  3. Uptake of PARAS within stroke clinical guidelines.


Dr Sarah Moore (Primary supervisor DSER) Dr Moore is an experienced stroke clinical academic physiotherapist and has over 27 publications, 15 of which as first or last author. Dr Moore is a previous holder of a National Institute for Health Research Clinical Lectureship (2016-2020) and collaborates with the Stroke Research Group, Newcastle University. Dr Moore has successfully supervised PhD and Masters students at Newcastle University

Dr Sebastian Potthoff (Department of Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing) is a Chartered Health Psychologist, applied health researcher and a previous holder of a Health Foundation Imporvement Fellowship (2014-2017). He is known for his work on developing theory-based interventions to support healthcare professionals adopt new evidence-based habits.

Professor Florentina Hettinga (supervisor, DSER) has successfully supervised 5 PGR students. She has published >100 peer-reviewed papers and will provide supervision from a long-term conditions and PA behaviour change perspective. Her collaboration with University Medical Centre Groningen and the multi-centre ReSpAct project focusing on tailored promotion of physical activity for people with chronic conditions will provide opportunities for international collaboration and knowledge exchange.

The supervisory team will enable novel cross-discipline and department collaborations and build on links already established with local NHS trusts and the Stroke Association. Three supervisors will enable resilience to ensure the student receives the highest quality supervision. Professor Hettinga has completed the Northumbria PGR supervisor workshop and Dr Moore and Dr Potthoff will attend the workshop this semester (2022).

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Dr Sarah Moore. For informal queries, please contact [Email Address Removed]. For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form below to contact Admissions. 

Funding Information

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities).  

Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • 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 they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.  Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

  • Immigration Health Surcharge
  • If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.
  • Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England
  • Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see   

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023 tbc

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