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WALES ESRC DTP PHD 'COLLABORATIVE' STUDENTSHIP - School of Social Sciences: Inter-agency collaboration to support children with mental health needs

   Cardiff School of Social Sciences

  , Dr Sarah Thompson  Friday, February 04, 2022  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Cardiff United Kingdom Social Work

About the Project

Cardiff University School of Social Sciences, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for PhD study. These particular studentships, known as ‘collaborative studentships’, involve liaison with a non-academic organisation, often at many key stages of the research programme. They will commence in October 2022. 

External Collaborators:

Health and Care Research Wales https://www.healthandcareresearch.gov.wales/

Monmouthshire County Council https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/

Project aims and methods:

The difficulty of getting help for children with emotional and mental health needs is well recognised. There is particular concern about the ‘missing middle’ - i.e., the lack of support in between universal services and specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), especially for children with emotional or behavioural problems who do not meet thresholds for specialist CAMHS because of not having diagnosed mental illness. Rather than seeing the problem just as ‘access to CAMHS’, the Welsh Government is increasingly expecting a whole-system approach. This approach takes its lead from the example in Gwent, where the aim is for children’s mental health to be a shared responsibility across the public sector. The research will focus on one aspect of the complex service architecture, the Single Point of Access for Children's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health (SPACE well-being) panels. These ensure that any child there is concern about will receive help from somewhere. The aim of the doctoral research project is to understand how these panels work and what lessons can be learned from their operation. This will most likely be a mixed-method case study, requiring some qualitative methods such as interviews and observation.

Please note that whilst Professor Jonathan Scourfield is involved with the design and recruitment of this studentship, he will not be part of the supervisory team. However, if would like to discuss this studentship further, please email Professor Scourfield as the key contact.

Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, or appropriate Master’s degree. Both the University and the ESRC Wales DTP value diversity and equality at all levels and we encourage applications from all sections of the community, irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. In line with our commitment to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, and to increase recruitment of currently underrepresented groups, applications from Black British, Asian British, minority ethnicity British and mixed race British candidates are particularly encouraged and welcomed.

We welcome applications for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time Doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant.

Applications welcomed by 12:00pm GMT on 4th February 2022. Short-listed to be invited to interview between 23 February – 1 March February 2022. 


Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project and may wish to contact the named member of staff for a discussion prior to applying.



ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or strong upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Masters degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a +3 award. Wales DTP studentships are available to both home and international (including EU and EEA) students. Successful applicants will be eligible for a full award consisting of a maintenance stipend and payment of tuition fees at the UK research organisation rate. Applicants must satisfy studentship eligibility requirements. For further details see the UKRI website. Successful international student applicants will receive a fully-funded Wales DTP studentship and will not be charged the fees difference between the UK and international rate.

1+3 OR +3?

Awards are available on either a 1+3 or +3 basis. A 1+3 studentship provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training Masters in the 1st year, followed by 3 years research funding for a PhD. A +3 studentship provides funding for the three years PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent).


The closing deadline for applications is 12.00 noon on Friday 4th February 2022. Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview, which are expected to take place between 23/02 - 01/03/2022. After interview, a final short-list of applicants will be put forward to a Panel convened by the ESRC Wales DTP Management Group at which final decisions with regard to studentship awards will be made. Successful applicants can expect to hear by early April 2022.

Funding Notes

Studentship Awards commence in October 2022 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,609 p.a. for 2021/22 for full-time students, updated each year); and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG), though an element of this latter fund may be ‘pooled’ and require separate applications from 2022 onwards. There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, overseas institutional visits and other small grants.


A completed online application form for admission to Doctor of Philosophy in Social Sciences with an October 2022 start date. The application deadline is 12.00pm GMT on 4 February 2022. Incomplete applications or applications received after this specified time will not be accepted.
In the funding section, please select “I will be applying for a scholarship/grant” and “ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Partnership”. The application must contain (this also applies to Fast Track applicants):
1. Covering letter: Addressed to Dr Mannay, Director of PGR. The covering letter must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Cardiff University, and the pathway; your understanding and expectations of doctoral study; and your academic interests generally, particularly of those relating to your proposed research. The covering letter should be no more than two pages. Please also specify which pathway you will be applying to and whether you wish to apply on a +3 or 1+3 basis. (Upload to ‘Personal Statement’ section)
2. Academic / Professional Qualifications: Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
3. References: All applications require two academic references dated within the last 6 months. Candidates must approach referees themselves and include references with their application.
4. Curriculum Vitae: No longer than two pages [to be uploaded to Professional Experience section section].
5. Research Proposal: For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
• Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
• An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
• Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
• A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
• Bibliographic references.
This program is available in English only. To request information in Welsh, please contact the Postgraduate Recruitment Team (postgradmarketing@cardiff.ac.uk).

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