Ph.D. Studentship in Developmental Psychopathology

Applications are invited for a Ph.D. studentship to begin in October 2013. The studentship will cover home/EU tuition fees, a tax-free maintenance grant for 3 years, and a research budget. International Students from outside the EU may also apply, but will be liable for the difference between UK/EU and International (OS) tuition fees (UK/EU: £3,900, OS: £16,990 – 2013/14 rate, subject to annual increase).

The successful applicant would be based in the Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory (DBBL) in the School of Psychology, and would be supervised by Dr Graeme Fairchild and Prof. Edmund Sonuga-Barke. The DBBL is a vibrant and active research group with a strong focus on developmental psychopathology.

The proposed project, which is jointly funded by a Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate Scholarship and the FP7 Health Framework of the European Commission, will involve characterising the neurobiology of antisocial behaviour in children and adolescents, with a particular focus on female adolescents. The study will involve both cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches, and data collection will occur at multiple sites across Europe. The Southampton arm of the project will involve measuring hormone levels under resting and stressful conditions, psychophysiological and neuropsychological testing, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and diagnostic interviewing.

The Ph.D. student will work with the Principal Investigator, Dr Graeme Fairchild, and the post-doctoral Research Fellow to recruit participants, carry out diagnostic interviews, and run neuroendocrine experiments investigating cortisol secretion under both resting and stressful conditions. They would also investigate the impact of puberty on hormone secretion and stress reactivity, and help to collect neuropsychological data and DNA samples. The successful candidate would play a key role in analysing data, preparing scientific articles for publication, and disseminating results at scientific conferences and project meetings. He/she will gain experience of working with clinical populations and undergo training in the collection and analysis of neuroendocrine data. He/she will also learn to carry out diagnostic interviews using DSM-5 criteria. 

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Applicants would ideally have or be close to obtaining a M.Sc. in Developmental Psychopathology, Neuroendocrinology, or Physiology, with at least a 2.1 in their first degree. However, we would also consider applications from talented graduates with prior experience of studying hormone-behaviour relationships (especially the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis). A high level of motivation and excellent interpersonal and organisational skills are essential. Prior experience of working with adolescents or clinical populations, and advanced statistical skills such as multi-level modelling, would be advantageous.

The deadline for applications is 5 pm on the 5th July 2013. 

If you have specific questions or would like to request more information about the above project, please contact Dr Graeme Fairchild at     

Prospective candidates are required to apply for this studentship using the University of Southampton on-line application system. A copy of the on-line application form and guidance notes can be found at the following website:

Please indicate in the funding section of the application form that you wish to be considered specifically for this studentship, and e-mail Claire Caffrey ( to indicate you have applied.

For any enquiries about the application process, please contact Dr Fairchild or the Graduate School Administrative Officer, Claire Caffrey (E-mail: ; Tel 02380 593476).

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