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Sleep and delirium - towards a multicomponent intervention to improve sleep on acute medicine of elderly wards

   College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

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  Prof G Mead, Dr Maria Gardani , Prof Tughrul Arslan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Please ensure you check the eligibility criteria before applying to this project.

The Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) is a multi-disciplinary, £20M research centre at the University of Edinburgh. The ACRC will lead society’s response to the grand challenge of an ageing population that is growing in size, longevity and needs through the pursuit of research intended to deliver “high‐quality data‐driven, personalised and affordable care to support the independence, dignity and quality‐of‐life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments”.

This project sits within the ACRC Academy , a dedicated Centre for Doctoral Training, co-located with the ACRC, whose students will deliver key aspects of the ACRC research agenda through a new doctoral-level research and training programme that will also equip them for careers across a wide range of pioneering and influential leadership roles in the public, private and third sectors.

The PhD with Integrated Study in Advanced Care is a structured, thematic, cohort-based, programme of 48 months duration. Each PhD research project within the Academy has been devised by a supervisory team comprising academic staff from at least two of the three colleges within the University of Edinburgh. Each annual cohort of around twelve will include students with disciplinary backgrounds spanning from engineering and data science to humanities, social science, business and commerce, social work, medicine and related health and care professions. This unique level of diversity is a key attribute of our programme.


Delirium is a common and serious acute neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of inattention and cognitive impairment. The student will explore the relationship between delirium, sleep disorders and circadian rhythms; and then use these data to develop an intervention for improving sleep.

This interdisciplinary PhD project, which will complement work with within the Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC), is led by a clinical-academic geriatrician. The co-supervisors have expertise in the psychology of sleep across the lifespan and sleep intervention development, and in novel unobtrusive sensor and engineering solutions to improve health care. They are well informed of current research practices aligned with the Open Science Framework research principles in clinical settings.

The student will learn skills in systematic reviews. Then the student will use non-invasive engineering solutions to study sleep patterns on acute hospital medical wards, measure delirium using standardized methods; use state-of-the-art unobtrusive sensors to monitor and analyse different physiological and movement parameters, such as breathing, during sleep. The student will use these data to co-create a new intervention to address sleep disturbance in hospital. Co-creation involves stakeholders and professionals working collaboratively to identify new solutions to clinical problems. 


We require a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject such as biology, neuroscience, or psychology.

We may also consider your application if you have a UK 2:2 honours degree, or its international equivalent, and sufficient relevant work experience. 

We welcome applications from practitioners with an interest in research: medical, nursing, OT, physio, social work, care home staff, and those with academic backgrounds in social sciences and nursing, medicine, medical anthropology and allied health professions.

Please use this Application Form to apply.

Funding Notes

All offers include an enhanced stipend for the full 4 year period, and the payment of fees.
The call is open to candidates with home fees status only, including, for example, candidates with settled or pre-settled status
Please apply here: www.the4AT.com/dunhill

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