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  Factors critical to recovery after major trauma in children and adolescents

   Department for Health

  , Prof C Eccleston  Sunday, July 07, 2024  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a three-year fully-funded studentship, to commence in September 2024, to work on a project under the supervision of Dr Emma Fisher and Professor Chris Eccleston, focusing on pain and blast injury is available at the Bath Centre for Pain Research at the University of Bath. The project is part funded by Save the Children and the University of Bath.


The international paediatric pain field is relatively small but multidisciplinary, organised, and well connected. In 2020 we delivered the Lancet Commission in paediatric pain which outlined major achievements accomplished by the field so far in pain assessment, pain treatment, and understanding of pain. Importantly, the Commission laid out four critical goals to be achieved to improve the lives of every child experiencing pain; to make pain matter, make pain understood, make pain visible and make pain better. Whilst seemingly simple goals, they are all so far unmet within the field of paediatric pain and could have considerable benefits for children experiencing any type of pain.

Blast trauma and major trauma have been neglected research areas of paediatric pain, as highlighted in the literature. Nevertheless, research conducted within paediatric pain can be applied to this population meaning we can start investigating major trauma from an advanced position. The unexpected nature of experiencing a blast trauma, will interrupt and radically alter a child’s trajectory and goals. Recovery after a major trauma is a critical period which could influence long-term outcomes and there are important factors that will influence recovery. Research has shown each of the factors chosen to investigate within this proposal to be important to recovery in children. Pain, the central factor in this PhD proposal, will be a key determinant of behaviour during rehabilitation and has bi-directional associations with sleep which also is a key determinant of behaviour. In children, research has found higher pain after surgery is associated with higher pain 12 months following surgery. Positive expectations have been found to be associated with less disability and quicker return to activities in adults, but little has been investigated in children and adolescents. Finally, adaptation and acceptance of prostheses has not been explored within this context in children, so we will explore these factors here. As with all paediatric research, the role of the wider social context will be considered, including the role of parents and friends as they are critical influencers of behaviour particularly after a traumatic injury.

This PhD will aim to address some of these gaps in children with blast trauma by investigating how a child’s core domains of functioning alter after experiencing a blast injury and during recovery. The PhD will explore 1) how children’s and parent’s expectations impact on recovery and rehabilitation, 2) the bi-directional link between pain and sleep and 3) adaptation to prostheses during recovery. The student will be supervised by Dr Emma Fisher and Prof Christopher Eccleston (University of Bath), world experts in paediatric pain. The student will collaborate with members from the newly formed Paediatric Blast Injury Study Centre, the first of its kind globally.

The Successful Candidate should:

Enquiries and Applications

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be directed to Dr Emma Fisher,

Formal applications should be submitted via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Health prior to the closing date of this advert.


When completing the application form:

  • In the Funding your studies section, select 'Industry Sponsor' from the second drop-down list, and specify 'Save the Children' in the text box
  • In the Your PhD project section, quote the project title of this project and the name of the lead supervisor in the appropriate boxes. 
  • Ensure that you upload to your application (in addition to the required academic and English language documents): a personal statement (no more than 2 pages) explaining your motivation, skills, experiences related to the research area and your career plan.

Failure to complete these steps will cause delays in processing your application and may cause you to miss the deadline.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website


Interviews dates TBC

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

Students applying for this project will be considered for a fully-funded 3-year University of Bath PhD studentship comprising payment of tuition fees at the 'Home' rate, a doctoral stipend at the UKRI rate (£19,237 per annum, 2024/25 rate) and an annual research/training support allowance. This studentship is open to those that qualify for 'Home' fees. You will likely need to hold UK or Irish citizenship, EU (Pre-)Settled status in the UK, or another form of indefinite leave, to be eligible for Home fees.

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