School of Nursing and Midwifery

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  Dr Aideen Gildea  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Promoting school mental health in early childhood is a critical period for identifying, supporting and addressing mental health. Early intervention can support children on how to cope with stress and challenges promoting resilience to build health relationships and communication skills. Nurturing positive health in early childhood can reduce the risk of mental health challenges in adulthood.


Promoting positive mental health early sets a foundation for well-being across the life span and is a critical aspect of a child’s development. Early Intervention can prevent problems from becoming more severe in later year. Children who have good mental health are better prepared to learn and succeed in school.


Address the need for effective strategies to support school mental health in early childhood, with a particular focus on engaging and educating parents in this process effectively. The research will use an interdisciplinary approach such as psychology, child development, education and public health to develop a comprehensive framework for promoting school mental health in the early years.


Identify the challenges young children face during school transitions and their impact on mental health.

Identify evidence-based interventions to support children’s social and emotional ell-being during the early school years.

Explore the needs and challenges of cultural and socioeconomic diversity of families.

Explore the role of parents, teachers and communities in school transitions.


A mixed methods approach will be utilised incorporating longitudinal data analysis/survey and interviews to contribute to the development of policies and practices that prioritise school mental health in the early years.

Expected outcomes

The project will seek to make a significant contribution to the field of mental health and early childhood education and improving longer terms.

How to Apply

Complete the online application via the Direct Access Portal. Applicants must supply a cover letter (2 pages max) detailing your interest and experience applicable to this PhD and you should attach this when prompted to upload a proposal.

Closing date: 2 February 2024

Anticipated interview date: 6 March 2024

Start date: 16 September 2024

For further information please contact Dr Aideen Gildea at [Email Address Removed]


Funding Information

The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Queen’s University Belfast is offering one Department for the Economy (DfE) studentship which is open to INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ONLY for September 2024 entry. The studentship will cover tuition fees and stipend. The current studentship for 23/24 academic year is £18,622 but the amount for the academic year 24/25 is to be confirmed. More information on DfE studentships can be found here.

Please note that this is a competitive award – there are 8 advertised projects for 1 International DfE Award

Applications are also considered throughout the year from applicants who have secured external funding or are willing to self-fund the project.

Essential criteria

IELTS (or equivalent) of 7.0, and a 2.1 class honours degree (or equivalent).

Experience of empirical data collection and analysis.

Desirable criteria

A 1st class honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject.

Biological Sciences (4) Education (11) Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27) Psychology (31)

 About the Project