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User-centred design of a body-worn system to monitor hydration in older adults

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, May 10, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Dehydration in older adults is a significant healthcare issue that can affect cognitive functioning as well as being a significant risk factor for developing kidney stones, urinary tract infection, delirium and falls. There is a need for timely diagnosis and adequate treatment to reduce the impact on the patient as well as associated healthcare costs.

Within the care environment, fluid intake is regularly monitored; determining actual hydration levels is harder to achieve. New sensors are emerging that can alert the user to fatigue, dehydration and high body temperatures. However, there has been little research to explore how these sensors are best incorporated into clothing and accessories, as well as the wider care system to provide useful information that is usable and accepted by end-user.

This research will explore the feasibility and design of body worn devices to detect hydration levels in a care setting. The interdisciplinary project will involve developing and testing solutions.

The studentship will be based within the Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities at Coventry University. The centre applies a multi-disciplinary perspective, to explore and exploit the value of creativity and culture in how we understand, connect and transform communities and enrich individual lives, and in doing so create better futures. One of the core themes of the centre is focused on Well-being and the Arts and considers how we can use creativity to promote health and wellbeing.

The successful candidate will also benefit from connection with the Institute for Future Transport and Cities and the Functional Materials Group at Coventry University, and the Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology, at University of West England, Bristol. The Functional Materials Group has been at the forefront of developing methodologies for the selective metallization of non-conductive materials. In particular, the group has developed expertise in developing processes to introduce electronic connectivity to textiles: an enabling technology for wearable applications.

The Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology (IBST), works with industry and researchers with the aim of creating multidisciplinary partnerships to develop novel bio-sensing technology. The scope of the Institute is broad - ranging from the development of novel technology for detection and measurement of biological systems to the integration of biological systems into novel sensing technology.

Coventry University

Coventry University has been voted ‘Modern University of the Year’ three times running by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide. Ranked in the UK’s top 15 (Guardian University Guide), we have a global reputation for high quality teaching and research with impact. Almost two-thirds (61%) of our research was judged ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship under the supervision of Professor Louise Moody.

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:

• knowledge and/or experience in design or engineering
• an interest in smart materials and sensor technology
• experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn about) co-design processes and working with older adults
• a basic knowledge of chemistry would be a distinct advantage

How to apply

Apply on line

Submitting full supporting documentation, and covering letter, plus a 2000-word proposal addressing the research theme.

Start date: Sept 2019

Duration of study: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: Complete applications must be submitted by close of business (5pm) May 10th 2019

Interview dates will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates.

Funding Notes

Full Bursary (living allowance) plus tuition fees –eligibility is restricted to UK/EU only

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