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The role of design and usability in the adoption of digital self-management technology

Faculy of Arts and Humanities

Wednesday, October 07, 2020 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the area of design for health. The studentship will be hosted within the multi-disciplinary Well-being and the Arts theme within the Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities, and provides an exciting opportunity to undertake research as part of the NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Cooperative ( Devices for Dignity are specialists in developing health technologies with, and for, people of all ages with long-term conditions to help improve independence and quality of life.

Self-management is an important part of care for those living with long-term conditions. It aims to empower and support patients to take control of, and manage their self-care, as well as helping to improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Self-management is often enabled through the adoption of digital technology. In the context of COVID-19 the approach reduces the number of direct contacts between healthcare professionals and patients. The design and usability of this technology, and any accompanying instructions, is important to ensure that it can be used effectively for a diverse range of users.

The PhD research will explore both the usability of digital self-management technology and the accompanying information provided to the user to support their self-management. The project will focus on digital self-management technology aligned to the specialist themes of Devices for Dignity; diabetes, renal or long-term neurological condition.

This project will involve working with people living with long-term conditions alongside healthcare specialists. Specific research activities will include:
• Desk-based review of the literature and existing self-management technology including how games-based approaches might be employed to improve adoption
• Product walkthroughs and usability testing to identify user needs and design requirements
• A series of co-design workshops with stakeholders to develop solutions
• Development and testing of prototypes

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities

Entry criteria for applicants to PHD

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:

Additional items for candidate specification

• The potential to engage in innovative design research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
• A good knowledge, understanding and/or experience in design for health
• Experience of design and user-centred research methods and analysis
• Experience of (or willingness to quickly learn) about use of self-management technology for long-term conditions
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Ability to work independently and also as part of a multidisciplinary team
• Willingness to travel between Coventry University and Devices for Dignity in Sheffield

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact_Louise Moody

To apply on line please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, and a covering letter – plus an up to 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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