PhD Studentship Can m-health tools improve uptake, engagement and outcome of internet-based interventions for mental health?



Supervisor:  Dr Kate Cavanagh (School of Psychology, University of Sussex)

The evidence base for computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (CCBT) in common mental health problems is expanding rapidly. Recent reviews and meta-analyses have produced promising findings with regard to CCBT’s effectiveness and acceptability (e.g. Grist & Cavanagh, 2013), but developing and supporting effective and sustainable models of CCBT service implementation presents a challenge – not least due to barriers to uptake and engagement (Cavanagh & Millings, 2012). In a world of ubiquitous computing – via smart phones and tablets – integrating mobile health technologies (m-Health) into standard online CCBT packages may be one route to increased uptake and engagement (e.g. Morris, 2012). However, whilst various m-health tools, including ‘apps’ for common mental health problems are available in the public domain – there is a surprising paucity of evidence about their use or impact in research trials or with real-world users.  

This collaborative studentship will be sponsored by Ultrasis plc. (www.ultrasis.com), a health technology company specializing in internet interventions for mental health. There will be scope within the PhD project to focus on optimising internet interventions and m-health tools for specific populations, including populations with chronic disabilities. Technical support for the development of this m-health tool will be provided by Ultrasis plc, but applications from people with some experience of programming/web-development would be welcome.

Applications should be made by Friday 17thJanuary 2014. The award of the studentship will be based on a competitive process. If awarded, it would be a full-time studentship (funded for a duration of three years) covering tuition fee, and a maintenance allowance. The maintenance allowance is currently £13,726 per annum. There is an opportunity to contribute to teaching on a paid basis.

Also Read  Fully funded AHRC PhD Studentship

Eligibility requirements for potential candidates:

  • This award only covers fees at the Home/EU rate.  Candidates may not be eligible for the full award if they do not meet UK residency requirements. For full details of eligibility see Annex 1: Residential guidelines at http://www.esrc.ac.uk/_images/ESRC-Postgraduate-Funding-Guide-DTCs_tcm8-14766.pdf
  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline.

Guidance for applicants:

  • Please send your initial enquires by email for the attention of ‘Postgraduate Coordinator’ to: [email protected]
  • If you wish to discuss the details of this PhD project further, please contact Dr Kate Cavanagh: [email protected]
  • Application procedures can be found at the Apply button below.
  • On the form please specify the proposed source of funding as “ESRC/GTA collaborative studentship”

In addition to completing the online application form candidates should provide:

  • A research statement that briefly outlines our current state of knowledge, hypotheses that could be addressed, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references (minimum 12 font type).
  • A teaching-related statement that addresses the normal expectation that you contribute to teaching of statistics and research methods (up to 300 words).
  • A current transcript with full details of performance on all completed courses.

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