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Social regeneration and mitigating isolation: strategies and solutions for improving well-being for people living with advanced illness towards the end of life.


   Hull York Medical School


About the Project

This is an opportunity for a full time PhD in Medical Sciences on the topic of “Social regeneration and mitigating isolation: strategies and solutions for improving well-being for people living with advanced illness towards the end of life”. 

Summary: The profound physical deterioration and social changes associated with advanced illness places people at greater risk of social isolation, loss of social connectedness, and what has been referred to as ‘social death’. The PhD candidate will explore these concepts, their conceptual value and explanatory applicability. The focus is on understanding what protects social and personal wellbeing in advanced illness. The project will be undertaken within populations at high risk of social isolation including those, for example, with multimorbidity and frailty, advanced heart/lung/kidney disease. 

For informal inquiries, please contact Prof Fliss Murtagh,

Location and Research Culture 

The student will join a dynamic research team within the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre. This Centre brings together researchers, health and social care professionals from a range of disciplines, with input from patients, families and members of the public, to find and help deliver the best palliative care services and treatments. 

We conduct palliative care research, and provide education and information relevant to the needs of people living with and dying from serious illness, their families and communities. We aim to improve quality of life and reduce inequalities in care, especially those driven by socio-economic status and diagnosis. 

We are committed to involving patients, carers, families and local communities as active partners in shaping our research. We want to make sure that people with many different perspectives and experiences have the chance to influence what we do and how we do it. This helps us to focus on what really matters to people.  

Hull York Medical School’s unique partnership brings together the expertise of both the Universities of Hull and York and offers a thriving environment in which to conduct world-leading research. Strong partnerships with NHS Trusts and community health organisations offer a wide clinical base within which to study those conditions, which most affect our communities – improving their health while developing research work that can be applied nationally and globally. 

The School’s academic and clinical researchers at have a strong reputation for their work, 85% of which is classed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). Their research is advancing improvements in healthcare – treatment, diagnosis and care – improving the health of people locally and impacting national and international health agendas in areas such as cancer research, palliative medicine, mental health and global public health. 

The student will be based in the new Allam Medical Building with excellent facilities, and at the heart of the University of Hull’s £28 million health campus.  

Named Academic 

Prof Fliss Murtagh (supervisor) 

Prof Liz Walker (supervisor) 

Start Date 

1st October 2021 

Qualification Required 

Demonstrable enthusiasm and commitment to this area of research is essential. An MSc is desirable.  

In order to qualify for this scholarship, you will require an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.1, or equivalent, in a relevant subject, and (if relevant) English Language IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component. 

All applications MUST BE submitted to Hull York Medical School via the online application method choosing option “PhD in Medical Sciences 2021 October, full time”:  

https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/courses/apply?course=DRPMEDSMED3&level=postgraduate 

The deadline for applications is the 5th August 2021. 

 For the Panel to get a sense of your academic background, commitment and interest, you are required to complete the application form in full and provide a research proposal/outline of academic interest. Research proposals and personal statements may be used in selecting applicants for interview. If you have any queries on how to apply please email 


Funding Notes

A full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarship will include fees at the home/EU student rate and maintenance (£15,609 in 2021/22) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress. For an international student, a full-time International Fee PhD Studentship will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress

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