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What is the role of brokers and brokerage in the appropriation of Assistive Technologies in dementia care? (RDF17/NUR/BRITTAIN)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

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  Dr K Brittain  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

People with dementia and their informal carers often find themselves in and out of services across the health and social care divide. These networks of formal care often collide and intersect with networks of informal care. Arguable these networks span both highly qualified and unqualified domains of care and yet how these networks interact and connect is often neglected. One area in which formal and informal networks collide is in the decisions surrounding assistive technology to help people with dementia to ‘age in place’. And yet the role of informal carers in the appropriation, acceptability and purchase of assistive technology is often invisible, justified by claims that the technologies support carers. Government policies on personal budgets and the increasing shortage of resources have moved tasks such as making assessments of need, sourcing information about the usefulness of assistive technology and purchasing decisions and evaluation from the domain of OTs and Social Workers and made them increasingly part of the work of informal care. Carers find themselves making judgements based on the information that they access with limited knowledge as to the provenance and credibility of their sources or guidance on how they match the claims to the needs of those for whom they care. This studentship will explore, through qualitative methods, how decisions surrounding the use of assistive technology for people with dementia are made, and discuss the potential use of digital platforms to broker care services and assistive technologies in the interaction of formal and informal networks of care.

Eligibility and How to Apply
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required (evidence required by 1 August 2017).

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.
Deadline for applications: 20 January 2017
Start Date: 2 October 2017

Northumbria University is an equal opportunities provider and in welcoming applications for studentships from all sectors of the community we strongly encourage applications from women and under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

This project is being considered for funding in competition with other projects, through one of two types of funding packages available:
• Fully funded studentships include a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates for 2017/18 (this is yet to be set, in 2016/17 this is £14,296 pa) and fees (Home/EU £4,350 / International £13,000 / International Lab-based £16,000), and are available to applicants worldwide.
• As Northumbria celebrates its 25th anniversary as a University and in line with our international outlook, some projects may also be offered to students from outside of the EU supported by a half-fee reduction.


Brittain KR, Degnen C, Gibson G, Dickinson C, Robinson AL. When does walking become wandering – representing the fear of the fourth age? Sociology of Health and Illness (in press).

Lie M, Lindsay S, Brittain K. (2016) Technology and trust: older people's perspectives of a home monitoring system. Ageing and Society; 36,7: 1501-1525.

Brittain KR, Corner L, Robinson AL, Bond J. (2010) Ageing in place and technologies of place: the lived experience of people with dementia in changing social, physical and technological environments. Sociology of Health and Illness; 32(2):272-287.

Vines, J., Pritchard, G., Wright, P., Olivier, P., & Brittain, K. (2015). An Age-Old Problem: Examining the Discourses of Ageing in HCI and Strategies for Future Research. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 22(1), 2.

Vines, J., Lindsay, S., Pritchard, G. W., Lie, M., Greathead, D., Olivier, P., & Brittain, K. (2013). Making family care work: dependence, privacy and remote home monitoring telecare systems. In Proceedings of the 2013 ACM international joint conference on Pervasive and ubiquitous computing (pp. 607-616). ACM.
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