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Doctoral Studentship on Autism and Personality Disorder: Improving Recognition of Autism

School of Health Sciences

Friday, April 30, 2021 Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Closing Date: 30th April 2021

Interview Date: 24th May 2021

PhD start Date: 1st October 2021

The Centre for Mental Health Research in the School of Health Sciences is advertising a full-time Doctoral Studentship on autism and personality disorder to an outstanding candidate. Situated in the heart of London, we are a leading provider of applied healthcare research. We offer PhD candidates a world-class research environment: in the most recent REF (2014), 100% of our research environment was judged as world leading or internationally excellent and 100% of research impact was judged as world leading or internationally excellent. In the recent Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, 96% of PhD students responding rated the expertise and responsiveness of their supervisors as excellent. Successful applicants would join around 70 current PhD students in the School, providing a supportive environment of peers. Across City more widely, our Doctoral College provides training, support and an interdisciplinary community for over 500 doctoral researchers. Doctoral researchers become part of a university community that is passionate about developing world-leading research, committed to academic excellence and dedicated to providing extensive support for doctoral researchers.

The Project

People with lived experience and clinicians say that autism may be missed or misdiagnosed in some people diagnosed with personality disorder, and this can cause serious harm through people being misunderstood, feeling unheard, and being offered inappropriate and inadequate support. The doctoral researcher will aim to improve recognition of autism, differential diagnosis and provision of appropriate support by investigating similarities and differences between autism and personality disorder, drawing on quantitative and qualitative methods, and working closely in co-production with people with lived experience. The project is funded by the Words That Carry On fund at the McPin Foundation, with matched funding from City University of London.

Supervisors: Rose McCabe (City), Kirsten Barnicot (City), Will Mandy (UCL).

Project team: As above, plus Jennie Parker (City), Eloise Stark (Oxford), and our lived experience and clinician advisory panels.



The studentships will be awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and the potential to produce cutting edge-research. See for general eligibility criteria and other information about research degrees in the School of Health Sciences. For this studentship specifically:

  • Applicants must hold at least a 2.1 honours degree or merit level Masters degree in Psychology, Mental Health or a related subject (or international equivalent)
  • Applicants must have strong experience and skills in quantitative and qualitative research, a strong interest in the PhD topic and a solid commitment to co-produced research
  • Lived or family experience of autism and/or personality disorder, and previous experience of clinical or research work in mental health services, will be an advantage
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have achieved at least 7.0 in IELTS or a recognised equivalent
  • Applicants must not be currently registered as a doctoral student at City, University of London or any other academic institution

How to Apply

To apply for studentship funding:

·      Complete an application form for the PhD studentship by clicking here where you will be asked to register before you can complete your application

·      One aspect of the PhD research will be a qualitative interview study exploring similarities and differences between autism and personality disorder. Please upload a research proposal (three sides of A4 maximum including references) explaining your understanding of the rationale for the study, how you would carry out such a study, and how you would use the findings to inform further quantitative research on this topic. Please also explain your motivation for applying for this PhD, and any relevant experience of working with mental health services and/or in co-production with people with lived experience of mental health difficulties.

·      Upload a piece of your previous written work. This could be an undergraduate or postgraduate dissertation or a first-authored paper.

·      Upload a short cover letter with your application requesting that your application be considered for studentship funding

Submit your online application form and supporting documents by 30th April 2021. If you have any queries, please contact the doctoral degrees support officer, Tracy Rowson (). For informal enquiries please contact Dr Kirsten Barnicot ()

Funding Notes

A doctoral studentship will provide:
• An annual bursary (£17609 2021/22)
• A full tuition-fee waiver for UK students. Applications are welcome from EU and overseas applicants but the applicant must make appropriate arrangements to cover the difference between the EU/overseas and UK tuition fee
• Research costs up to £12980 over 3 years

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