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Improvement is in the air: Using citizen scientists to co-produce, implement and evaluate theory-based interventions to improve air quality at the school gate

School of Health and Related Research

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Dr A Barnes , Dr K Pringle , Dr R McEachan No more applications being accepted

About the Project

Project details:
The Yorkshire and Humber Applied Research Collaboration (YH_ARC) is a multidisciplinary and collaborative programme, supporting local people-powered research to tackle inequalities and improve health and well-being (

We have a vacancy for an enthusiastic and self-motivated person to work on a co-produced PhD project supporting community-driven initiatives to improve air quality in and around schools in Bradford and/or Sheffield.

The project is part of a White Rose-funded Studentship Network of 3 PhD projects within our Early Years and Prevention theme (theme leads: Professor Kate Pickett, University of York, and Dr Rosie McEachan, Bradford Institute of Health Research). The White Rose Studentship Network brings together university partners (Sheffield, Leeds, York) for cross-University co-supervision.

About the Project:
Your PhD will involve working closely with partner schools, Councils and community organisations in Bradford and/or Sheffield to co-produce (co-design, co-implement, co-evaluate) community-driven initiatives to improve air quality in and around schools (e.g. anti-idling, traffic restrictions, green walls, active travel).

Using community development/mobilising approaches, and behaviour change/improvement science, you will:
• Quantify patterns of exposure to pollution with community partners using low cost air quality sensors
• Explore enablers and barriers to actions which can improve air quality in and around schools
• Co-produce and co-evaluate with citizen scientists (children, parents, teachers) school-based initiatives to improve air quality
• Co-produce evidence-based learning tools to support other schools to implement/ evaluate their own air quality initiatives.

You will be based at the University of Sheffield under lead supervisor Dr Amy Barnes (School of Health and Related Research); with co-supervision from Dr Kirsty Pringle (School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds) and Dr Rosie McEachan (Bradford Institute of Health Research).

Your project will be supported by an experienced advisory panel: air quality assessment (Maria Val Martin, University of Sheffield, Jim McQuaid, University of Leeds), school-based initiatives (Ruth Ellis-Sims, University of Leeds) and behaviour change (Rebecca Lawton, University of Leeds).

You will have access to research group meetings/events at Sheffield, York and Bradford Institute of Health Research and in the wider YH-ARC; with opportunities for networking with world-leading atmospheric scientists, air pollution modellers, and geography/public health researchers. You will benefit from access to the Born in Bradford research programme who will support your engagement with schools, access to air quality monitoring equipment and provide hot-desking facilities.

Entry Requirements:
You need to hold at least an upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in a health, social or life sciences-related subject; and have experience or demonstrated interest in community development, coproduction, behaviour change or improvement science.

A masters degree is desirable, as is knowledge of research methods and at least some experience of quantitative analytic methods.

You must be prepared to travel to and in Bradford and/or Sheffield as part of the PhD.

If English is not your first language, you will need to demonstrate an IELTS score of at least 6.5 in each component/overall score of at least 7.

You need to be able to start on 1st October 2020.

How to apply:
You are encouraged to contact the lead supervisor (Dr Amy Barnes, [Email Address Removed]) before applying.

Apply online at the University of Sheffield
( Please clearly state the title of the studentship, the prospective main supervisor and select ScHARR as the department.

You must submit a short research proposal (max 500 words) outlining how you might approach the project (applications will not be considered without this proposal).

Funding Notes

3-year studentship: Home/EU tuition fees and stipend paid at standard Research Council rates

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