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Getting Up And Out: Exploring The Impact Of Gardening And Outdoor Activity On Physical And Mental Health

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  • Full or part time
    Dr L Moody
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Eligibility: UK/EU applicants and existing Coventry University employees with the required experience

Duration: 3 years 6 months fixed term. If the PhD is completed within 3 years the PhD holder will be eligible to apply for one year’s post-doctoral funding to continue the work

Application deadline: February 24th

For informal enquiries about this studentship, please contact Dr. Louise Moody: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-directories/researchers/louise-moody/

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree as part of the Data Driven Research and Innovation collaborative programme. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’ (http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/about-research-at-coventry/). Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms (http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-students/research-studentships/research-studentships-the-benefits/?id=98267) you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

Keeping active is important to maintaining good health and independence in old age. Research has demonstrated the positive effect of engagement in gardening as a way of motivating people to stay physically active. Gardening has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing as well as being linked to overall physical health, prevention of falls and the improvement of balance and gait speed. General outdoor time also has positive impact on health in terms of vitamin D levels, which are vital in the maintenance of bone strength and in the prevention of falls and osteoporotic fractures.

In line with this research a strategic sector partner-one of the UKs leading specialist care home providers, seeks to ensure that each of the residents that they care for spends 90 minutes outside per week, and they have introduced specific interventions to support this.

Through this partnership this interdisciplinary research will focus on exploring the impact of gardening and outdoor activity on physical and mental health; and designing and testing an outdoor intervention to meet the needs of older adults.

This is an Inter-Disciplinary PhD bringing together several research centres from across Coventry University.


Visual Arts Research (VAR): an emerging research centre in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. One of its core areas of focus is the intersection of health and wellbeing and the creative arts.

Centre for Mobility and Transport (CMT)- http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/areas-of-research/mobility-transport/ : focuses on the design and engineering of future transport systems. There is a core team focused specifically on the impact of physical activity on human mobility.

Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR)- http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/areas-of-research/agroecology-water-resilience/: seeks to reverse destabilising processes that adversely affect food and water security, community and socio-ecological resilience, and human well-being.

Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences (ABES)- http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/areas-of-research/applied-biological-sciences/: aims to further the understanding of fundamental biological pathways and processes; applying biological sciences to advance diagnosis and prevention of disease.

Successful applicants will have:

- a taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. sport science, occupational therapy, physiotherapy), involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark
- the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three-year period of study
- a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


- knowledge and/or experience of working with older adults
- analytical experience
- experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) cross disciplinary transfer of methods and approaches e.g. co-design methods and social return on investment.

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Dr. Louise Moody(http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-directories/researchers/louise-moody/) for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity. You can also find the Research Studentship Application Form here: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/Global/08%20New%20Research%20Section/RD03%20Research%20studentship%20application%20form.pdf


UK/EU Students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found at the making an application page (http://www.coventry.ac.uk/research/research-students/making-an-application/). Existing Coventry University employees with the required experience are also eligible.

Funding Notes

Award Details: £15,000 bursary per annum plus tuition fees

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