PhD Studentships Commencing January 2017 - Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research

Coventry University - Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

The Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Coventry University is pleased to offer 2 new studentships to the highest calibre and most talented students. This research centre comprises over 40 staff from multi-disciplinary backgrounds who contribute to a research portfolio that builds on our international strengths in psychological health, behavioural interventions, children and families research, supported by technological innovation and translation, and health economics. We have over 30 PhD students currently studying with us and offer experienced inter-disciplinary, national and international supervisory teams to support students to achieve excellence in their research.

1. Mobile apps and wearables to support lifestyle and health: how to sustain their continued use?

This PhD aims to enhance our understanding of the determinants, barriers and facilitators of lifestyle app and wearable use to be able to design lifestyle and health interventions that stimulate adherence and prolonged use. Objectives are:

  1. To describe the duration and frequency of use of lifestyle apps and wearable devices in given individuals over time
  2. To identify determinants of and barriers and facilitators to prolonged use of lifestyle apps and wearables in a given subgroup, whilst considering the characteristics of the mobile devices themselves and the context of their use
  3. To develop a conceptual framework or guidelines that identify how we can stimulate prolonged use of apps and wearables for lifestyle management in a given subgroup of people.

Director of Studies Professor Petra Wark.

Contact in the first instance

2. Understanding Obese Children’s Emotional Eating: the development of an intervention for parents.

This PhD aims to examine parental feeding practices in the context of early obesity using theoretical models that could inform the development of suitable interventions to help parents change their feeding behaviour to better support health eating outcomes. Objectives are:

  1. To review the literature on the development of children’s emotional eating and potential strategies for intervention.
  2. To examine the perspectives of parents of obese children concerning their children’s emotional eating and their feeding practices.
  3. To identify children’s individual differences and child characteristics that may elicit specific feeding practices or moderate the outcomes of those practices.
  4. Using the behaviour change wheel framework, to examine the potentially fruitful targets for behaviour interventions.
  5. To examine the potential for the development of a brief parent focused intervention to change feeding behaviour (perhaps delivered by an app which extends our existing adult emotional eating app, comforteaterbeater).

Director of Studies Professor Jackie Blissett.


Candidate specification

  • Entry criteria for applicants to PHD (standard)

A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with  a minimum 60% overall module average.

In the event of a first degree classification of less than 2:1, a Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at minimum merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at minimum merit level (60%).


  • a taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline, 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)

In all cases the most recent and highest qualification attained will be that utilised for assessment purposes

Additional items for candidate specification

Depending on the studentship applied for;

  • knowledge and/or experience in the subject
  • a good knowledge of appropriate research methodologies
  • experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about systematic reviews, mixed method studies, health technology assessment and behavioural change techniques

How to apply

Application form, full supporting documentation, and covering letter, plus a 2000-word proposal addressing the research theme


UK/EU/International students with the required entry requirements

Reason for eligibility restriction

Funding limited to UK/EU fees.
Successful applicants will receive a fees to the value of Home/EU student PhD fees, plus an additional  tax-free stipend.

PhD funding award: Bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU only
Start date: January 2017
Duration of study: Full-Time - three years fixed term
Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates - to be held in November

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