Fully Funded 3-year PhD Studentship in Writing Development in Children with Neurocognitive Developmental Disorders

Bangor University - School of Psychology

Fuding Amount: The Studentship will cover the full cost of UK/EU tutiton fees, plus a maintenance stipend in line with RCUK rates (provisional £14,296* for full time award holders in 2016/17) per annum for 3 years and a research allowance of £750*

Hours: Full Time, Commencing Octover 2017

Supervisor: Dr. Markéta Caravolas

Project: Pathways to Impaired Writing Development. 

This studentship will focus on research into the nature and causes of writing difficulties in children with Specific Learning Disorders (SLD)/Neurocognitive Developmental Disorders (NDD), in particular those with dyslexia, DCD, and/or AD(H)D. Writing is an important human skill that, alongside reading, dominates the early education of every child. It is, however, highly complex, requiring the integration of several cognitive, language, and motor processes -- all under the control of executive functions, any of which may be impaired selectively or in combination. Clinical groups with dyslexia, DCD, and/or ADHD often have difficulties with written production, but these may arise for different reasons, which are still poorly understood.  In this project, concurrent comparisons of different disorder groups will be made on spelling, handwriting, orthographic learning and text writing tasks in order to uncover the cognitive, linguistic, motor and attentional pathways to writing difficulties. 

The programme of research will build on and extend our current eye- and pen-tracking investigations among groups with developmental disorders. This combination of tracking approaches provides a novel and powerful methodology to investigate writing processes at a level of depth not possible with standard offline pen-paper methods. The successful applicant will carry out a series of eye- and pen-tracking studies examining copying, spelling, and orthographic learning among children with single or co-occurring developmental disorders of dyslexia, DCD, and/or attention, as compared with typically developing writers. The main aim will be to advance understanding of disorder-specific causes and manifestations of poor spelling and writing, as well as of the aspects of impaired writing that are general across disorders. 

The School
Established in 1963 the School now has one of the largest student cohorts in the UK and a cosmopolitan feel due to the presence of staff and students from over 20 countries. It has consistently performed exceptionally well in the UK's annual National Student Survey (4th in NSS 2016) and is currently ranked in the top 20 in the 2014 REF.

Requirements: Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class or strong upper second class honours degree, and appropriate Master’s degree.

Further information: Applicants are welcome to approach Dr Markéta Caravolas (www.bangor.ac.uk/psychology/contact.php.en#staff), before submitting their application, with further inquiries about the project.

Residency requirements: This studentship is open to UK and EU students. Interested students from outside the UK/EU should contact Dr. Caravolas to discuss conditions for funding of International students.

General information: PhD students are expected to contribute to teaching in the department.

General enquiries: For administrative advice about how to apply and eligibility, please contact: Everil McQuarrie e.mcquarrie@bangor.ac.uk

How to apply: Apply online (https://apps.bangor.ac.uk/applicant/) by the deadline of 7th April 2017. Short-listed applicants will be invited to interview, which are expected to take place in the week of 8-12, May 2017.

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