Newman Studentships

Newman University aspires to be recognised nationally and internationally for the quality of its research and scholarship. As part of the University’s continued commitment to supporting the most promising students to undertake in-depth postgraduate research, applications are invited for two fully-funded PhD Studentships for three years (full-time) for UK or EU students. The Studentship includes a subsistence grant above the recommendations of the UK research Councils of £15,000 each year (for three years) with all fees paid.

Studentship 1

This project is a collaboration between Newman University and the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT).

Project title

The Birmingham Recovery College:  A mixed methods evaluation of a mental health and well-being initiative

Context

BSMHFT has welcomed and responded to the increasing national focus on mental health and wellbeing. The Trust promotes a needs and value-based model of care, driving innovative changes in services and focussing upon hope, opportunity and recovery for its service users. The Trust is committed to offering a comprehensive recovery approach.

A key feature of this is to provide opportunities for education and employment. A BSMHFT Working Group, consisting of service users, carers, staff and colleagues from partner organisations, has developed a Recovery College in Birmingham. Recovery Colleges have been established in other parts of the United Kingdom and evaluations have reported favourable recovery outcomes for attending students.

However, colleges have been unique and idiosyncratic, and established for the requirements of each particular Trust.  Very little is understood about the process of how colleges emerge and develop.  This research aims to comprehensively evaluate the development and establishment of the new Birmingham Recovery College (BRC) to ensure that it is not only meaningful to the Trust’s objectives through the adaptation of the ‘New Dawn’ model of care but it also has relevance to existing and potential Recovery Colleges elsewhere.  

Project outline

Study 1 – This shall be a systematic review of Recovery Colleges, in addition to visiting/interviewing key people from other Colleges. This both informs the working group of existing literature/practice and can also inform future groups seeking to establish their own RC.

Study 2 - This study shall incorporate both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Measurement of outcomes, specific focus dependent upon how the BRC develops - though it is envisaged that key features will be health/recovery, hope and empowerment. This shall help to improve the overall quality and experience of the BRC, and therefore the Trust, whilst also potentially identifying improvements in productivity and efficiency.

Study 3 – Final study shall be an analysis of users’ views and lived experiences, and focus on Co-production.

Requirements

Applicants for PhD should normally possess:

EITHER a Master’s Degree with Distinction from a UK university;

  • OR a Master’s Degree with Merit from a UK university, INCLUDING a Distinction grade for the Dissertation [or equivalent];
  • OR a Master’s Degree from a UK university that does not offer awards with Merit, the Registrar having confirmed that the profile of marks awarded by that University satisfies or exceeds Liverpool Hope University’s requirements for the award of a Master’s Degree with Merit, AND that the Dissertation [or equivalent] was awarded a Distinction grade;
  • OR an equivalent qualification from outside the UK.

Other key criteria for selection and appointment will be:

  • Record of academic excellence of the candidate, in a related subject area;
  • Quality of project proposal, based on the information provided above;
  • Research skills and training;
  • Experience and/or knowledge of youth mental health;
  • Comprehension of mixed-methods approach to research.

The application form can be found at the foot of this page.

Please contact Dr Paul McDonald (P.McDonald@Newman.ac.uk) or Dr Adam Benkwitz) A.Benkwitz@Newman.ac.uk) if you have any queries and to request further particulars.

Please note that Newman University offers its PhD degrees in partnership with Liverpool Hope University (who are the awarding institution), by whose regulations successful applicants will be bound: http://www.hope.ac.uk/research/postgraduateresearch/.

Timescale

  • Deadline for applications: 17 June 2016
  • Interviews: week commencing 27 June 2016
  • Commencement of Studentship: 1 October 2016.

 

Studentship 2

This project is a collaboration between Newman University and the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care-West Midlands (CLAHRC-WM).

Context

CLAHRC-WM is one of 13 collaborations across England established in 2008 and funded principally by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR). In the current second wave that commenced in 2013 the mission continues to create lasting and effective partnerships across health & social care organisations and universities to improve services and deliver for patient benefit. 

CLAHRC-WM has enjoyed extensive success, impacting upon service delivery in key areas relating to maternity and child health; prevention and detection of disease; chronic disease; and youth mental health. This PhD studentship will be based with the youth mental health theme led by Professor Max Birchwood, Dr Charlotte Connor and Dr Paul Patterson.

The work of the CLAHRC-WM youth mental theme has regional, national and international significance.  The team, outputs and current projects can be reviewed using the following link: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/med/about/centres/clahrc/research/theme2-prevention-early-intervention-youth-mental-health/team.

The studentship therefore offers an exciting opportunity to work within this team and be a part of a new collaboration between Newman University and CLAHRC-WM. 

Project outline

An estimated 10-20% of children and young people worldwide are affected by mental health issues 1 with approximately 15-25% of these psychiatric disorders believed to emerge during adolescence 2. Half of lifetime cases of psychiatric illness have had their onset by the age of 14, with around three-quarters by age of 24 3; 78% of 18-26 year-olds with mental health problems diagnosed before the age of 18, 58% before age 15 4. Multiple prospective assessments, such as The Great Smoky Mountain Study 5 and The Dunedin Study 6 have revealed the extent and cumulative rates of mental health disorders in adolescence, concluding that lifetime prevalence of psychiatric disorders during adolescence is around 40% 7; 5.

However, for those aged between the ages of 9-21 years that figure has been argued to be more like 60%, rising to 80% if diagnoses ‘not otherwise specified’ are taken into account, many young people presenting with low level or comorbid mental health problems which may not be captured using traditional DSM diagnoses 6. Such studies derive important information regarding predictors of mental health problems during childhood and adolescence, their duration, likely risk and protective factors and potential malleability of such problems.

A range of biological and environmental factors are thought to put children and young people at risk of poor mental health include congenital defects and low birth weight, poverty, family conflict, negative life experiences, and minority status 8. However, access to protective factors such as i) social competence, ii) problem-solving skills, iii) critical consciousness, iv) autonomy, and, v) sense of purpose 9 are believed to enhance resilience in the face of risk factors.

Resilience is defined as ‘achieving positive outcomes despite challenging or threatening circumstances 10-11 or ‘coping successfully with traumatic experiences, and avoiding negative paths linked with risks’ 12. However, it is an inferential and contextual process and whilst one young person may show resilience when confronted by one risk factor, they may not do so when faced with a different kind of risk 13.

Interventions to promote and develop resilience in children and young people should, therefore, be multidimensional and not over-general, given the multiple factors that may put a young person at risk, factors which are not necessarily definitive or determinant of poor outcome but which merely operate as ‘probabilities’ differing in impact depending on the individual and the context. The research will focus on greater understanding of the concept of resilience with the aim of developing early intervention strategies to help improve outcome.

The candidate will be expected to develop a sound understanding of the known risk and protective factors associated with resilience, and to further increase understanding of why some young people are able to ‘bounce back’ from adverse life events, whilst others cannot.‘

Applicants are invited to submit a research proposal of 5,000-6,000 words focussed upon one of the following titles:

Improving resilience in children and young people

The relationship of attachment to resilience in children and young people

Applicants should consider the following whilst writing their proposal:

  • The current knowledge of resilience and, if relevant, attachment
  • An understanding of current policy on children and young people
  • Developing a series of studies incorporating quantitative and qualitative methodologies
  • Children and young people involvement in the research
  • Seeking the views and lived experiences of children and young people
  • Ethical considerations of research with children and young people

Requirements

Applicants for PhD should normally possess:

EITHER a Master’s Degree with Distinction from a UK university;

  • OR a Master’s Degree with Merit from a UK university, INCLUDING a Distinction grade for the Dissertation [or equivalent];
  • OR a Master’s Degree from a UK university that does not offer awards with Merit, the Registrar having confirmed that the profile of marks awarded by that University satisfies or exceeds Liverpool Hope University’s requirements for the award of a Master’s Degree with Merit, AND that the Dissertation [or equivalent] was awarded a Distinction grade;
  • OR an equivalent qualification from outside the UK.

Other key criteria for selection and appointment will be:

  • Record of academic excellence of the candidate, in a related subject area;
  • Quality of project proposal, based on the information provided above;
  • Research skills and training;
  • Experience and/or knowledge of youth mental health;
  • Comprehension of mixed-methods approach to research.

The application form can be found at the foot of this page.

Please contact Dr Paul McDonald (P.McDonald@Newman.ac.uk) if you have any queries and to request further particulars.

Please note that Newman University offers its PhD degrees in partnership with Liverpool Hope University (who are the awarding institution), by whose regulations successful applicants will be bound: http://www.hope.ac.uk/research/postgraduateresearch/.

Timescale

  • Deadline for applications: 17 June 2016
  • Interviews: week commencing 27 June 2016
  • Commencement of Studentship: 1 October 2016.

 

References:

  1. Kieling C, Baker-Henningham H, Belfer M, Conti G, Ertem I, Omigbodun O et al Child and adolescent  mental health worldwide: evidence for action. Lancet 2011; 378: 1515-1525
  2. Zachrisson HD, Rodje K & Mykletun A. Utilization of health services in relation to mental health problems in adolescents: A population based survey. BMC Publlic Health 2006; 6: 34
  3. Kessler RC, Berglund P, Demler O, Jin R, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2005;62(6):593-602.
  4. Kim-Cohen J, Caspi A, Moffitt T, Harrington H, Milne B & Poulton R (2003). Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder: developmental follow-back of a prospective-longitudinal cohort. Arch Gen Psychiatry 60: 709-717
  5. Costello W, Shanahan L, Costello EJ & Angold A. Cumulative Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders by Young Adulthood: A Prospective Cohort Analysis From the Great Smoky Mountains Study.
  6. Copeland WE, Shanahan L, Costello EJ Angold A. Childhood and Adolescent Psychiatric Disorders as Predictors of Young Adult Disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2009; 66(7):764-772.
  7. Jaffee S, Harrington H, Cohen P & Moffitt TE. Cumulative prevalence of psychiatric disorder in youth. Journal American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry 2005; 44: 406
  8. Rak, C. F. and Patterson, L. E. (1996), Promoting Resilience in At-Risk Children. Journal of Counsellling & Development, 74: 368–373
  9. Bernard B (2004). Resiliency: What we have learned. San Francisco: WestEd.
  10. Brooks JE. Strengthening resilience in children and youths: Maximising opportunities through the schools. Children and Schools 28 (2): 69-76
  11. Masten AS. Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist 56 (3); 227-238
  12. Luthar, S.S., Cicchetti, D., and Becker, B. (2000).  The Construct of Resilience: A Critical Evaluation and Guidelines for Future Work.  Child Development, 71(3), 543-562
  13. Fergus S & Zimmerman MA. Adolescent resilience: a framework for understanding healthy development in the face of risk. Annual Reviews of Public Health 2005; 26: 399-419

 

 

RELATED DOCUMENTS

doc  Newman Studentship Application Form
Last updated: 19 May 2016

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