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  ESRC WGSSS studentship in Management and Business - Enhancing discharge care coordination in mental health and social care: A probabilistic data-driven modelling approach

   Cardiff Business School

  , Prof Paul WIllis  Friday, April 19, 2024  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Cardiff Business School are delighted to offer fully funded Welsh Graduate School for the Social Sciences (WGSSS) (ESRC DTP) studentships starting in October 2024.

Enhancing discharge care coordination in mental health and social care: A probabilistic data-driven modelling approach - in collaboration with Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW), Welsh Government


The demand for mental health services has seen a surge in recent years, an event that has been further intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, this issue is compounded by poor transitions from mental health services to social care including community or care home settings, resulting in adverse consequences for service users, their families, caregivers, and social service providers. Inadequate coordination among mental health and social care services can lead to several challenges, including poor discharge planning and misallocation of resources. To tackle these challenges, implementing innovative approaches grounded on data-driven evidence is vital. The application of data-driven methodologies holds significant promise for yielding valuable insights that can facilitate informed decision-making, efficient resource allocation, and improved coordination among managers, families, and practitioners, so enhancing the overall quality of care provided in mental health and social care.

Suggested aims

The proposed project aims to develop novel probabilistic modelling tools including AI & machine learning methods to enhance the management of care services. The project aligns with prevailing trends and pressing challenges in the field of mental health and social care management, addressing four primary areas including

i) Understanding discharge management challenges in the interface of mental health and social care

ii) predicting admission risk associated with each discharge pathways

iii) forecast patient’s LOS and pathway discharge;

iv) Modelling patient’s social participation in the wider community post-discharge; and; v) forecasting social care workload.

Anticipated Methods/Design

First, there will be semi-structure interviews with clinicians and professionals across NHS Wales to understand discharge management challenges in the interface of mental health and social care and document factors contributing to variations of length of stay, discharge pathway, readmission, social care workload and patient’s social participation. The study will subsequently use probabilistic machine learning modelling and forecasting, and (deductive) empirical research to address its aims. The anticipated research design considers providing insights into disparities across diverse demographic characteristics in terms of lengths of stage, discharge outcomes, and social participation.

Duration of study: The duration may vary from 3.5 to 4.5 years full time (or part time equivalent) and is dependent on prior research experience and training needs which will be assessed by completing an Initial Development Needs Analysis (DNA) at the application stage and a Full DNA prior to award if successful. 

Research in practice placement: WGSSS funded students are required to complete a funded Research in Practice placement of 3 months in total. All students will have the opportunity to complete a placement in academia, policy, business or civil society organisations

Entry Criteria: To receive WGSSS studentship funding, you must have qualifications or experience equal to an honours degree at a first or upper second-class level, or a masters from a UK academic research organisation. Students with non-traditional academic backgrounds are also welcome to apply.

English language requirements: For October 2024 entry you will require IELTS (or equivalent) with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills.

How to apply: Applications should be be submitted via our online portal no later than noon on 19/04/2024 including all required documents.

Please include the following documents with your application:

1) Cover letter (two pages maximum)

The cover letter must include the following subheadings:

• Please name the collaborative studentship being applied for and set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff Business School, and the Business pathway.

• Please detail your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study.

• Provide detail of your academic interests generally, and particularly of those relating to your proposed research.

• Drawing on your own background (including your life experiences, journey to/through university, work experiences or volunteering) please provide a summary of why you are ready to undertake a PhD now and how you will flourish as a result of PhD funding. You might include, for example, personal challenges that you have overcome or achievements that you are proud of in your work, study or life experiences and how these map onto the skills required to flourish in a PhD programme. Challenges could include, but are not limited to, protected characteristics, socio-economic status and of being a prospective first-generation student or care- experienced.

• Reflecting on your own background and/or proposed approach to PhD study and the opportunities which it will present, how will you support diversity and inclusion in the PhD community?

2) Academic CV (two pages maximum)

3) Research proposal For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:

• Title, aims and purpose of the research;

• Brief overview of the academic literature relevant to your field;

• Proposed design/methods;

• Academic contributions of your research.

• Bibliographic References

4) Two academic or professional references. Candidates must approach referees themselves and include references with their application. The reference must detail the applicant’s research strengths.

5) Degree certificates and Transcripts (including translations if applicable)

6) If relevant, proof of English Language Competency


Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview. As part of the interview process, applicants maybe asked to give a short presentation and answer a series of panel questions consistent with previous practice on the pathway during the Wales DTP, and guided by the WGSSS’s commitments on EDI.

Applicants are reminded to submit all relevant documents (transcripts, supporting statement, etc) by the deadline. Due to the volume of applications received, incomplete applications will not be considered and will be rejected.

Business & Management (5)

Funding Notes

The studentship funded by the ESRC covers tuition fees, an annual tax-free living stipend of in line with UKRI minimum rates (currently £18,622) and includes access to a Research Training Support Grant.
If you have a disability, you may be entitled to a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) on top of your studentship.
The project is in collaboration with Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW), Welsh Government.


Eligibility: WGSSS studentships are available to home and international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise international students. International students will not be charged the fee difference between the UK and international rate. Applicants should satisfy the UKRI eligibility requirements.
WGSSS is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive environment for all. We welcome applications from all members of the global community irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. We welcome applications for both full and part-time study and from candidates with non-traditional academic backgrounds.
This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team (postgradmarketing AT

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