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Relationship between psychology and digital technology within the public health context (RDF17-R/PSY/VIJAYKUMAR)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr S Vijaykumar  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

We understand a lot more about the psychological consequences of technology on our behaviours than we used to but technology is constantly evolving, bringing new opportunities and threats. Much of the research focuses on the negative aspects of the relationship between people and technology such as social media, however there are also potential benefits for our health and well being. The studentship invites candidates whose research interests lie within the broad remit of exploring the psychological impact of digital technologies on public health and well being, particularly mobile and/or social media technologies. Candidates are welcome to explore one of the following themes, or a new area of specific interest to them: The role of social media in the prevention and management of emerging infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika; Psychological effects of the virality of social media chatter during emerging infectious disease outbreaks; Effectiveness of mobile and/or social media interventions in strengthening public health behaviours such as food safety; The role of digitally-mediated creative expression (such as painting, storytelling, writing, etc.) in addressing mental health issues; The psychological effects of technology-related “addiction” among digital natives.

The studentship will sit within the department of psychology’s PACTLab and provides opportunities to collaborate across disciplines including computing, design and public health.

Eligibility and How to Apply
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

This studentship is in competition for funding with other advertised projects. The funded studentship will include a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2017/18 this is £14,553 pa) and fees (Home/EU £4,350).


Pagliari, C., Vijaykumar, S. (2016) Digital participatory surveillance and the Zika crisis: Opportunities and Caveats. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 10(6):e0004795.doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004795.

Lwin, M.O., Vijaykumar, S.,* Rathnayake, V.S., Lim, G., Panchapakesan, C.K., Foo, S., Wijayamuni, R., Wimalaratne, P., Fernando, O.N.N. (2016). A social media mHealth solution to address the needs of dengue prevention and management in Sri Lanka. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(7): e149. doi: 10.2196/jmir.4657

Vijaykumar, S.,* Jin, Y., & Nowak, G. (2015). Social media and the virality of risk: The Risk Amplification through Media Spread (RAMS) model. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 12(3), 653-677.

Lwin, M., Vijaykumar.S.,* Lim.G., Rathnayake, V. S., Fernando, O. N. N., & Foo, S. (2015). Baseline evaluation of a participatory mobile health intervention for dengue prevention in Sri Lanka. Health Education and Behavior. doi: 10.1177/1090198115604623

Lwin, M., Vijaykumar.S.,* Foo, S., Lim.G., Fernando, O. N. N., Lim, G., Panchapakesan, C.K., Wimalaratne, P. (2015). Social media-based civic engagement solutions for dengue prevention in Sri Lanka: Results of receptivity assessment.” Health Education Research. doi: 10.1093/her/cyv065
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