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  Racially minoritised children’s lived experiences of the use of out of court disposals in the Youth Justice System

   Applied Social Sciences

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  Prof H Smithson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Funded PhD opportunity


Collaborating with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), this pioneering project seeks to understand the lived experiences of racially minoritised children subject to Out of Court Disposals (OOCDs) in the Youth Justice System (YJS).

By innovatively combining quantitative, qualitative, and participatory research methodologies, this project will pioneer a blend of multiple fields of enquiry (criminology, sociology, and ethnicity studies) to investigate the perennial problem of the over representation of racially minoritised children in the Youth Justice System.

In order to establish, evidence and articulate the lived experiences of racially minoritised children’s experiences of OOCDs, the project seeks to explore the effectiveness of OOCDs in diverting racially minoritised children from the YJS; supporting children to articulate their lived experiences of OOCDs; and establishing the extent to which the YJS supports children to meaningfully participate in the decisions made about them. The project will offer GMCA a set of practical strategies for addressing the findings. This collaboration will give the researcher a unique opportunity to bridge between scholarly and professional practices in the field of Youth Justice.     

Aims and objectives

The primary aim of the project is to address the significant gap in the academic and empirical understanding of the experiences of racially minoritised children subject to OOCDS in the YJS. The project will improve policy, practice, and service delivery across Greater Manchester. It will do this by, (i) providing an analysis of the effectiveness of OOCDs, (ii) supporting the participation (of racially minoritised children) in the development of evidence-based materials to improve their experiences of OOCDs and (iii) providing practical recommendations for addressing racial disparity and mitigating its consequences. 

Specific requirements of the project 

Requirements include:

  • An informed knowledge of the Youth Justice System in England and Wales, especially racial disparities
  • Basic knowledge and experience of quantitative analysis
  • Experience of qualitative research methods, including participatory and/or creative approaches
  • Experience of undertaking research and/or working with children
  • An interest in policy creation
  • The ability to carry out field work across the Greater Manchester region
  • The interest and ability to undertake a 3-month research placement with the research partner, GMCA (as per the requirements of the studentship)
  • Successful candidate will be required to undergo DBS check

We particularly encourage applications from candidates from minoritised backgrounds and those with lived experience.    

Applications should include:

  • a personal statement (max 2 sides of A4) outlining a) why you are interested in this project b) your motivations for postgraduate research c) your research experience d) the wider skills and experience you would bring to the project, including professional, voluntary or personal achievements.
  • your CV
  • a sample of written work (e.g. a research article, chapter, or essay).

Student eligibility

Open to home and overseas students. 

Fully funded PhD.

Annual stipend provided: Research Council minimum rate (set by UKRI) £19,237 for 2024/25

How to apply 

Interested applicants should contact Professor Hannah Smithson, [Email Address Removed] for an informal discussion.

To apply you will need to complete the online application form for a PhD in Sociology (or download the PGR application form).

You should also complete the PGR thesis proposal form addressing the project’s aims and objectives, demonstrating how the skills you have maps to the area of research and why you see this area as being of importance and interest. 

If applying online, you will need to upload your statement in the supporting documents section, or email the application form and statement to [Email Address Removed]. Closing date 18 March 2024. Expected start date October 2024.

Interviews will be held w/c 1 April 2024.

Please quote the reference: ArtsHums-HS-2024-AHGMCA

Sociology (32)
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 About the Project