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Developing a framework of community well-being in universities (Ref: RDF22/HLS/PSY/DODD)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr A Dodd  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A whole-university approach to supporting staff and student mental health and well-being is a priority across the UK Higher Education sector. Existing research has typically focused on well-being from the individual perspectives of university students and staff. Additionally, existing research has investigated well-being in students and staff separately. Community well-being captures ‘being well together’. Developing a framework of community well-being in universities (university community well-being) will inform how we can measure this construct in universities, and evaluate whole-university initiatives. 

This PhD will use both qualitative and quantitative research methods to i) develop a framework of university community well-being and ii) develop an initial measure of university community well-being. Visual qualitative research methods will be used to understand what is important for university community well-being, taking into account student and staff perspectives. In a Delphi study, staff and students will prioritise a list of community well-being indicators based on this framework. A novel measure of university community well-being will be devised based on this consensus, and impact analysis will be used to determine which questionnaire items are experienced most frequently, and are rated most important, to university staff and students.

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 or if they have previously been awarded a PhD.

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

Please note: 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 (e.g. RDF22/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start Date: 1 October 2022

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff and students. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Informal enquiries to Dr Alyson Dodd ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

Each studentship supports a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.
Studentships are available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £9,365 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities.
Please also read the full funding notes which include advice for international and part-time applicants.


Dodd, A.L., Punton, G., McLaren, J., Sillence, E. & Byrom, N.C. (under review). Understanding what matters to students: Dimensions of quality of life in undergraduate university students. Journal of Further and Higher Education.
Dodd, A. L., Priestley, M., Tyrrell, K., Cygan, S., Newell, C., & Byrom, N. C. (2021). University student well-being in the United Kingdom: a scoping review of its conceptualisation and measurement. Journal of Mental Health, 30(3), 375-387.
Dodd, A. L. (2021). Student mental health research: moving forwards with clear definitions. Journal of Mental Health, 30(3), 273-275.
Thomas, L., Orme, E., & Kerrigan, F. (2020). Student loneliness: The role of social media through life transitions. Computers & Education, 146, 103754.
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