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Life of Breath: Developing relationships through an innovative project ‘community’

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Russell
    Prof J Macnaughton
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Doctor-patient relationships are a mainstay of social sciences research in health and healthcare. But how does that relationship work when it is not between individuals but groups, particularly when these are instigated by a research project?
Life of Breath ( is a five-year, interdisciplinary research programme supported by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in the Medical Humanities awarded jointly to Professors Jane Macnaughton (Durham University) and Havi Carel (University of Bristol). The programme aims to achieve the fullest possible understanding of breath, breathing and breathlessness by drawing on both biomedical information and on cultural, literary, historical and phenomenological research.

As part of our commitment to engaged research, Life of Breath is planning to establish a group which will bring stakeholders with an interest in breath, breathing and breathlessness together to share information, knowledge and experience in a congenial setting. The role of the PhD student will be to record, analyse and reflect on the dynamics of the group as it evolves through time.

Applicants must have an excellent degree, preferably a Masters, in Anthropology (or related subject). The successful candidate will show evidence of designing, implementing, analysing and reporting on studies of this type and demonstrate the potential to be an excellent researcher. They will also be able to communicate clearly and effectively and to engage confidently with the world beyond academia.

Knowledge or experience relating to the study of breath and/or public engagement with research would be beneficial. Students for whom English is not a first language must have an IELTS score of at least 7.5.

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Funding Notes

Funding notes:
The successful candidate will be registered full-time with Durham University Department of Anthropology. A stipend at the Wellcome Trust rate (approx £22,000 per annum) and payment of UK/EU student PhD fees is included.


Applicants should submit a response to the project brief (no more than 1000 words) describing and justifying how they would approach the research along with a covering letter, current CV and contact details for two referees. Applications should be emailed directly to [email protected] by 17:00 GMT on Monday 1 February 2016.

Interviews will take place in Durham on Friday 19 February. Candidates will also be invited to join the project team for dinner on the evening of Thursday 18 February. Accommodation will be provided and travel expenses will be reimbursed.

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