Improving access to and adaptation of psychological therapy for people with dementia

   Psychology and Language Sciences

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  Dr J Stott, Dr Amber John  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Vacancy Information

The UCL Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology (CEHP) is offering a 3-year PhD studentship, which aims to better understand how psychological therapies can be adapted and implemented for people living with dementia. The work will draw on the resources of the ground-breaking MODIFY project (, funded by the Alzheimer’s Society, which aims to investigate the utility of psychological therapy for anxiety and depression in preventing dementia as well as helping people living with dementia.

The studentship will be hosted within CEHP, a vibrant, world-leading clinical psychology research centre. The successful candidate will become a member of the UCL ADAPT lab ( and develop connections with internationally renowned dementia and ageing experts through their close work with the MODIFY research team, which includes senior UCL researchers in Population Science, Psychology, Psychiatry and Engineering. The student will develop skills in multiple methodologies ranging from advanced statistical analysis to qualitative research. They will learn how to promote impact through writing peer-reviewed papers, conference presentations and engagement with senior clinicians and experts by experience.

The project will be supervised by Dr Joshua Stott (Associate Professor/Clinical Director, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology), Professor Marcus Richards (MRC Programme Leader, Professor), Amber John (Research Fellow) and Dr Georgina Charlesworth (Associate Professor, Consultant Clinical Psychologist). Researcher development will be further supported through UCL’s extensive doctoral training programme and the studentship’s training budget.

Studentship Description

Depression and anxiety are common and deleterious in people with dementia and people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). There is evidence that psychological therapies may be useful in ameliorating anxiety and depression for these groups. However, psychological therapy service provision for these populations, particularly within England-wide Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, is little understood and is likely to be poor.

This PhD will address this through developing better understanding of: (i) the degree of under-representation of people with dementia and people with MCI in IAPT; (ii) barriers and facilitators to IAPT access for people with dementia and people with MCI; (iii) IAPT therapy outcomes for people with dementia and people with MCI; and (iv) the influence of cognitive function on IAPT psychological therapy outcomes for older people.


To address these project aims, the successful candidate will be supported in demonstrating and developing the following capacities: (1) complex longitudinal statistical analyses of large existing datasets (e.g. the MODIFY dataset (n>1,000,000, people with anxiety and depression some of whom also have dementia or MCI)); (2) Collection of data within NHS IAPT settings and testing hypotheses through quantitative analyses of those data; (3) Qualitative work with people living with dementia; (4) writing scientific papers and attending international conferences; (5) communicating findings to people outside of academia in creative and engaging ways.

Person Specification

Applicants should have a first or 2:1 degree in Psychology or a related discipline and ideally a Masters in one of those areas. They should have advanced statistical analysis skills, be confident in working with large, complex datasets and fulfil requirements for UK residency such that fees are paid at a UK/EU rate. They should be highly motivated, talented, organised individuals with good interpersonal skills and a strong interest in improving the lives of people living dementia.

If you are interested in applying for the studentship, you should e-mail Sharinjeet Dhiman ([Email Address Removed]) with your CV (including the names of two referees), a transcript of your degree results and a covering letter (750 words maximum) outlining your research interests, your research experience to date and what you hope to achieve from this PhD. Please include your contact details (telephone; e-mail). If you have general questions about the MODIFY project, or specific questions about the studentship, contact Dr Joshua Stott on [Email Address Removed] or Amber John on [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The project is funded by the Alzheimer's Society and the stipend will cover £18000 per annum plus UCL fees. This role does not meet the eligibility requirements for a tier 2 certificate of sponsorship under UK Visas and Immigration legislation. Therefore UCL will not be able to sponsor individuals who require right to work in the UK to carry out this role.