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Improving academic and social success for children with dual sensory impairment (deafblindness)

   School of Psychology and Sport Science

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  Dr Saima Rajasingam  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

PhD Studentship (Fee waiver and Bursary)

School of Psychology and Sport Science

Cambridge Campus

Fixed term contract for 3 years, commencing September 2022

Bursary of £16,062 per annum and a full fee-waiver for UK tuition fees.

Closing date: 24th June 2022

Interview date: 27th June – 08th July 2022

About Anglia Ruskin University:

Anglia Ruskin is a vibrant workplace and our University is recognised both nationally and internationally. We have ambitious plans for the future and we are determined that our students and staff will realise their full potential. Our main campuses in the cities of Cambridge, Chelmsford, London and Peterborough have been transformed with major capital investment. With an annual turnover of over £200m, we are a major force for higher education and one of the largest universities in the East of England.

About the position:

Over 4,000 children in the UK experience dual sensory impairment (deafblindness), presenting challenges in communication, accessing information about the world and mobility that impact on their academic and social development (Robertson & Emerson, 2010). Whilst specialist support was available for children and young people with dual sensory impairment from the charity Sense, this was withdrawn from all except those considered to have complex needs in 2018, leaving an unknown number of children unsupported. Conversely, the number of children with dual sensory impairment is likely to be increasing. Survival rates for babies born extremely preterm (between 22 and 26 weeks), during a critical phase of sensory function development, have improved substantially (from 40% to 53%) but the overall proportion of those with disability remain unchanged (Costeloe, 2012). Accordingly, there is likely to be an increasing number of children and young people with dual sensory impairment who enter mainstream schools. The charity Deafblind UK has recently observed a substantial increase in enquiries from parents of children in the UK who experience dual sensory impairment, identifying a gap in the support available to children and young people.

This research will use a multidisciplinary and participatory research design - connecting academia, education providers, third sector organisations and sensory support teams – to co-produce interventions for and with students with dual sensory impairment (sharing power, responsibility, and generation of knowledge with the population affected by this work). The project will involve collection and analysis of data from schools and sites supported by Deafblind UK. The applicant will be working closely with a Liaison Officer at Deafblind UK who will support the applicant with links to parents, students, teachers, local authorities and education facilities. 

The successful applicant will benefit from strong supervisory support, and will be based at the School of Psychology and Sport Science. The supervisory team led by Dr Saima Rajasingam, supported by Dr Eldre Beukes and Professor Peter Allen has expertise in both vision and hearing sciences (Vision & Hearing Research Centre). Dr Rajasingam and Dr Beukes both have a research focus on hearing impairment and work as clinical audiologists. Professor Allen has extensive experience in the area of vision impairment both as an optometrist and researcher. He has over 100 publications in high impact journals, has supervised 10 PGRs to completion and recently received a VC award for his PGR supervision.

About the Studentship:

A three-year studentship is offered, intended to start in September 2022, providing a tax-free stipend of £16,062 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only available as a full-time position and to UK candidates. 

Project location: Cambridge campus. Prospective candidates who would not be Cambridge-based are encouraged to contact the principal supervisor prior to application (contact details below).

Candidates for this PhD Studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD within 3 years. 


Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., Psychology, Audiology or Optometry) and/or a relevant level 7 (or equivalent) qualification (e.g., Masters degree). An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language. A good understanding of statistical analysis and experience of either qualitative or quantitative research methods is desirable.

In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, the University will look closely at the qualities, skills, and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful and timely completion.

How to apply:

To apply, please complete the application form available from the following website: https://aru.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/optometry-and-vision-sciences.

Please ensure the reference ‘PhD Studentship: Improving academic and social success for children with dual sensory impairment (deafblindness)’ is clearly stated on the application form, under the title ‘Outline of your proposed research’. Within this section of the application form, applicants should include a 500-word outline of the skills that they would bring to this research project and previous experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Interested applicants should direct initial queries about the project to Dr Saima Rajasingam via email: [Email Address Removed]. For enquiries regarding the process and eligibility please contact [Email Address Removed].

Interviews are scheduled to take place during the period 27th June – 08th July 2022.

Closing Date – 24th June 2022.

For full T&Cs also visit https://aru.ac.uk/science-and-engineering/research/research-project-opportunities/vision-and-hearing-sciences

We value diversity at Anglia Ruskin University and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Funding Notes

A three-year studentship is offered, intended to start in September 2022, providing a tax-free stipend of £16,062 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only available as a full-time position and to UK candidates.
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