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PhD Studentship to develop a psychoeducational intervention for young people with retinoblastoma

Department of Health Sciences

About the Project

The Department of Health Sciences, University of York, is inviting applications for a funded PhD studentship, available on a full-time basis to start in October 2021.

The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr Jo Taylor (Department of Health Sciences) and Dr Bob Phillips (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination), and become part of the Martin House Research Centre, which undertakes leading research into the care and support of children and young people with life-limiting conditions or medical complexity, their families and staff who care for them.

Project details

The purpose of this studentship, which is funded by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, is to develop a tailored psychoeducational intervention to support teenagers and young adults with retinoblastoma manage the psychological and social challenges they may face as they move into adulthood.

People with retinoblastoma have an increased risk of long-term effects from treatment. These include reduced vision, secondary cancers and facial disfigurements, and those who have an increased genetic risk of developing a further cancer experience greater anxiety compared to others. Despite this, little is known about how the specific risks for this small group of cancer survivors impact on teenagers as they transition into young adulthood and how to support them. This studentship provides a unique opportunity to increase knowledge about the challenges experienced, and create a resource that can support teenagers and young adults with retinoblastoma.

This PhD project will involve three interlinked studies. The first will use qualitative interviews with teenagers and young adults to find out what challenges they experience, and how any support received has been useful. The second study is a systematic review, which will examine existing research about what types of support can help to address the psychosocial challenges identified. Findings from these first two studies will be synthesised in a third study to design a resource to support psychological wellbeing and empower young people to deal with challenges they experience. This final study will be carried out in partnership with a group of young people with retinoblastoma to ensure what is developed is acceptable and accessible. The student will work closely with CHECT throughout the project, including attending relevant meetings and events.

Essential and desirable requirements

Applicants will need to hold, or expect to gain, at least an upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in a relevant subject (e.g. psychology, sociology, social or health-related science).

A Masters in a relevant subject (see above) with a core element of research methodology is highly desirable. Any research experience in a relevant subject gained in formal employment or study in a university environment will be assessed for equivalence to Masters level study.

Students whose first language is not English must have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 in each component and an overall score of at least 7.

Process for Application

Applications should be received no later than Monday 26th April 2021 before 16:00h UTC. Applications will not be considered for the studentship after this date.

Applications should be made using the Department of Health Sciences on-line application process which can be accessed using the following link:

To apply you will need to provide a current CV, a sample of your written work and a personal statement which in 500 words sets out why you wish to undertake this PhD and what makes you a suitable candidate. The personal statement should be uploaded in place of the research proposal that is requested in the application system.

When completing the electronic form, applicants will need to state that they are applying for the advertised scholarship and include reference: PhD2021CHECT under the ‘How studies will be funded’ section in order to be considered for the scholarship.

Shortlisting: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and shortlisted applicants will be notified promptly.

Start date: October 2021


Individuals with the strongest academic record and relevant experience will be shortlisted and invited to interview. Interviews will be conducted face-to-face or via Skype or similar communication tools, if required. The date for interviews will be  12th May 2021.

Informal enquiries

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Jo Taylor at  on 01904 328083 or Dr Bob Phillips at .

Funding Notes

This studentship is open to all applicants on a full time-basis (3 years) and provides a tax-free stipend per annum in line with RCUK standard rates (currently £15,609 for 2021/22) and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Prospective students from elsewhere may also apply, though would be expected to provide evidence of the ability to fund the difference in tuition fees applicable to UK/EU and international (non-EU) students respectively. See fees page for further information.
Funding for project costs and equipment, and relevant training and dissemination is also included in this PhD studentship, totalling £12,400.

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