Spirituality, wellbeing, and care

   School of Health in Social Science

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  Prof Heather Wilkinson, Dr T Russ  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 an interdisciplinary, £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 interdisciplinarity is a key attribute of our programme.



To describe and explore the spiritual dimension of care in a variety of care settings in Scotland in the 2020s.


  • To summarise the literature on spirituality and care 
  • To recruit a group of people with lived experience and co-design and co-conduct the research project with them 
  • To explore the role of spirituality – broadly interpreted – in the experiences of people receiving care and people working in a caring role, both paid and unpaid 


Spirituality is an important aspect of wellbeing at any age. There is an important focus on this in care settings, through chaplaincy services and research. However, there is a need for this to be examined in greater detail in specific settings. This co-produced project will explore the role of spirituality in a variety of care settings and its importance as a resilience factor through interviews and focus groups with people receiving care, people providing unpaid care, and staff. Spirituality will include faith groups but will also include personal belief frameworks and people who may not immediately identify as ‘spiritual.’  


Applicants must have: a demonstrable interest in ageing and/or care research; experience of co-production in a research project; a keenness to work in an interdisciplinary context.

We aim to foster a supportive and collaborative culture, and welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are specifically looking for applicants who will view their cutting-edge PhD research project in the context of the overall vision of the ACRC, who are keen to contribute to tackling a societal grand challenge and who can add unique value to – and derive great benefit from – training in a cohort comprising colleagues with a very diverse range of disciplines and backgrounds. We advise prospective candidates to engage in dialogue with the named project supervisor and/or the Director of the Academy prior to submitting an application. 

You must read How to apply prior to application

Please Apply here

Nursing & Health (27) Sociology (32) Theology & Religious Studies (34)

Funding Notes

PhDs are funded with an enhanced stipend for the full 4 year period.
The call is open to candidates of any nationality but funded places for overseas nationals will be strictly limited.
It is essential to read the How to Apply section of our website before you apply:
Please apply here:

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