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“Smart” home environments supporting health and wellbeing in later life

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 25, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

There is growing evidence which suggests that despite drivers for older people to continue to age in place, they are often underserved by housing stock which is unable to support or incorporate potentially crucial adaptations which could support and maintain their wellbeing. As a result, they are often forced to choose between moving to a new home or attempting to continue to cope in an unsuitable environment which contributes to poor health and decreased quality of life.

Growing evidence suggests that home adaptations, ranging from minor interventions such as grab rails to major fixed alterations such as wet rooms, can play an important role in helping people to live at home as they would like. In contrast the adoption of new technologies and smart appliances is limited in the older population and more work is required to understand how technological adaptations can have an influence in this area, both in terms of the wellbeing impact of the solutions and the perceptions of technology in such personal spaces.

This PhD will examine both the technological opportunities in Smart (technology-enabled) home environments, in terms of health and wellbeing outcomes, increased functionality and feelings of security. Barriers and enablers to the uses of technology to both people in later life, carers and health, care and housing practitioners.

Based at Northumbria University, this PhD will be conducted in collaboration with housing providers and developers seeking to create alternative technology-enabled housing.

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.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

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

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 25 January 2019

Start Date: 1 October 2019

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.

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences
Department: Nursing, Midwifery and Health
Principal Supervisor: Dr Philip Hodgson

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students where a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2018/19, this is £14,777 pa) and full fees.


Bailey, C. and Hodgson, P. (2018) On the Defense: UK cultural narratives of mistrust between energy users and providers. Aims Public Health.

Thompson, J., Tiplady, S., McNall, A., Murray, J., Cook, G., Hodgson, P. and Bainbridge, L. (2018) 'A workforce competency framework for enhanced health'. Nursing and Residential Care. 20(4), pp. 153-157.

Aitken, D., Hodgson, P., Cook, G. and Lawson, A. (2017) ‘Facework and Trust in Facilitating Health-Focused Housing Interventions’. PLoS ONE. ISSN 1932-6203

Cook, G., Aitken, D., Hodgson, P., Marston, R., Binks, E., Peach, R., McMillan, C., Herman, L., Burke, W., Park, K., Conway, S., Graham, H., Blood, G., Cossar, P. and McKinnon, D. (2016) ‘Approaches to integrated housing, health and social care services: case studies from North Tyneside Council and Northumbria Healthcare. Project Report’. Housing Learning & Improvement Network.

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