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VCRS funded International PhD Studentship – Art & Design

  • Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)

Profile Description

 Applications are invited for a VCRS funded PhD studentship tenable in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. This award will be aligned to Art & Design Research within Ulster's new Creative Industries Research Institute.

Research Project Summary:

This is a Design-led and Healthcare themed call for research proposals, led by the Belfast School of Art in collaboration with the Department of Finance's Innovation Lab, the Public Health Agency and the Patient Client Council. A specialist clinical steering group will be available o support this research. Current research explores the use of Design Thinking (DT) applied to Healthcare, enabling decisions makers to empathise with patients, creatively resolve ‘wicked problems' and iteratively develop solutions. User experience (UX) profiling leads to innovations which are both a paradigm shift for the infrastructural system of healthcare and intuitive communication solutions for Patients. We welcome extended proposals against the following theme.

Visual mapping of pain
Chronic pain is evident across all adult age groups within adulthood, with prevalence rates of between 35% to 51.3%, increasing significantly with age, and 11% to 38% in children, according to the most recent systematic reviews (Fayaz et al 2016, King et al 2011). This ‘silent epidemic' has huge impact on people's lives and in turn the economy. A body of work relating to pain service mapping exists to improve the patient's ability to find the best help for them. Established principles around the ‘Pain Pyramid' has provided a guide within healthcare, however advances in medicine and rehabilitation treatment have changed and influenced this model (Raffa & Pergolizzi 2014). Living with and communicating their condition more effectively remains a challenge for patients. Effective communication of pain is one of the key barriers to pain self-management (Gordon et al 2017). This research topic seeks Art & Design led approaches to generate UX visual maps capturing the complexity of pain as a communication system for both patient and clinicians. Lifestyle-related models are required which encompass the ‘wicked problem' of pain in an intuitive way for adults of all ages, young people and children. The associated challenges of pain include acceptance, resilience, empowerment and self-efficacy. The intended purpose is to empower end users to have better self-care and self-management of pain, benefiting physical, emotional, mental and intellectual functioning. The anticipated visual framework may have applications as website resources, printed guidance material or outline connected service pathways.
You are encouraged to seek guidance on your proposal before submission.
Please contact - Dr Justin Magee at



Entrance Requirements:

All applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree relating user experience workflows and design thinking or a closely related cognate area. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate's qualifications, skills experience and interests. Successful candidates will enrol as of 1st December 2017, on a full-time programme of research studies leading to the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The studentship will comprise fees together with an annual stipend of £14,553 and will be awarded for a period of up to three years subject to satisfactory progress.


For more information on applying go to ulster.ac.uk/research
Apply online ulster.ac.uk/applyonline

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 20 October 2017

Interviews will be held in November 2017

Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. It is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full programme details for further information.

How good is research at Ulster University in Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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