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Understanding Care Transitions in Remote Communities

School of Social and Political Science

Edinburgh United Kingdom Public Policy Social Anthropology Social Geography Social Work

About the Project

The Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a new £20m interdisciplinary research collaboration aiming to transform later life with person centred integrated care

The vision of the ACRC is to play a vital role in addressing the Grand Challenge of ageing by transformational research that will support the functional ability of people in later life so they can contribute to their own welfare for longer. With fresh and diverse thinking across interdisciplinary perspectives our academy students will work to creatively embed deep understanding, data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics into systems of health and social care supporting the independence, dignity and quality-of-life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments.

The ACRC Academy will equip future leaders to drive society’s response to the challenges of later life care provision; a problem which is growing in scale, complexity and urgency. Our alumni will become leaders in across a diverse range of pioneering and influential roles in the public, private and third sectors.


This project presents an exciting opportunity for a social scientist interested in conducting comparative ethnographic and co-production research that aims to make a tangible difference.

Improving the experience of later life for an ageing population demands research that contextualises individual experience and choice within the realities of physical, social and political contexts. For older people living in remote communities, making choices about ageing futures are likely to be particularly challenging. Working with older residents in two remote communities, you will explore care transition decisions and alternatives in two communities that are politically distinct but which have socio-cultural overlaps: one in Scotland, one in the North East of England.


The study also answers calls for meaningful engagement with older people to enhance ageing futures (e.g., WHO Decade of Health Ageing). Taking a life course approach, the comparative ethnographic aspect of the study will seek to understand how personal experiences and anticipations of their own or others’ care have influenced preferences and decision-making in rural communities, where material and social resources may be limited but work-arounds may be innovative. Then, working creatively with residents, you will explore if co-production might reveal some of those innovative, alternative solutions, which can be shared more widely.


The supervisory team for this project includes an expert in the social policy of care and caring, a geographer interested in what things are and how they happen, and a social anthropologist of social and cultural identity with experience of co-production and conducting immersive field work in Britain. As a complementary study to the ACRC work package Understanding the Person in Context, you will also have opportunity to learn from and contribute to the programme’s qualitative strand and work with its own multidisciplinary team.

Funding Notes

PhD's are fully funded with an above industry 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 to 3 international students who can apply for the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Application forms are now available here:
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Find more information on how to apply on the How to Apply section of our website:
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ACRC Academy Video:

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