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Suburban Mobility: Shopping and Older People

Project Description

3-year PhD studentship based in the faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling, commencing 1ST October 2019. The studentship includes tuition fees and a stipend (based on 18/19 rates this will be c £15,009.per year) for three years. The studentship will lead to a PhD from the University of Stirling.

The project will be supervised by Prof. Judith Phillips who has a track record in research on ageing and environment and Prof. Leigh Sparks, with expertise and experience of research on retail environments.
In addition to monthly supervisory meetings, the doctoral student will receive mentoring and support from the Dementia and Ageing Research group (particularly architects in design) and by colleagues in the School of Management, Retail Studies group. Both research groups run regular seminars and training events and will provide opportunities for the student to meet and benefit from the experience of other students and staff with relevant expertise. The student will also be able to take advantage of the training events and support through the Institute of Advanced Studies. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop skills and experience in interdisciplinary research as part of a team of researchers in ageing.

Project Overview:
The research project explores features of the retail environment that enable older people to use local neighbourhood and high street shops as well as participate and keep mobile in their ’everyday lives’. The main aims are to determine the barriers and enablers of older people’s access and mobility to and within retail environments (particularly local high streets), and to propose, visualise and evaluate negotiated design modifications for overcoming the barriers and promoting enablers. It adopts a collaborative approach to develop innovative solutions and uses a mixed methods approach in new research to investigate mobility patterns of older people in relation to their local retail environment; the barriers and enablers they experience in their journey to, and inside, shops; and the improvements that could be made. It provides a platform to develop tools to communicate results of this research to retailers.

Additional information can be found here

How to apply:

Applications should include a covering letter; a full CV including the names of two referees (at least one referee should be an academic); a transcript/record of detailed grades achieved during previous university studies; a sample of the candidate’s written academic work; and a short summary (maximum 500 words) written by the candidate that explains how they would approach the project’s research. The short summary of how the candidate would approach the research should refer to the project proposal and will be used to assess the applicant’s knowledge of the research field and of relevant methodological issues. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in Stirling or via online methods.

Closing date: Thursday 12th September. Interviews will be held on Monday 21st October 2019

Applications should be sent by email, to Suzannah Hunter at

Further information
Candidates are welcome to make informal enquiries about the academic project, which should be directed to Professor Judith Phillips telephone: 01786 467022

Funding Notes

The studentship includes tuition fees and a stipend (based on 18/19 rates this will be c £15,009.per year) for three years.

The successful candidate will have:
• A degree level qualification (preferably 2.1) in a relevant subject
• A MRes or relevant post graduate qualification
• A background and interest in research in ageing
• An interest in appropriate methodologies for the project
• Skills in time management and completion of work

How good is research at University of Stirling in Social Work and Social Policy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.97

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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