PhD Studentship: Social emotion and safety in teams

University of Leeds - School of Psychology - Yorkshire Quality and Safety Research Group, Bradford Institute for Health Research

Supervisors: Professor Rebecca Lawton, Dr Jane O’Hara and Dr Andrew Prestwich

Funding: National Institute for Health Research

A PhD studentship available for UK and EU citizens only. The studentship will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £14,553 for up to 3 years, subject to satisfactory progress and will cover the UK/EU tuition fees.

You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject. This project would suit someone with a background in social science or social, clinical, health or occupational psychology OR a healthcare professional with a masters in research.

The Faculty minimum requirements for candidates whose first language is not English are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 92 with the listening and reading element no less than 21, writing element no less than 22 and the speaking element no less than 23.


Patient safety is compromised when working relationships between health professionals falter and there are breakdowns in communication. Disruptive and hostile behaviour within clinical teams ultimately leads to unsafe care. In contrast, we have shown that good working relationships, trust and support for one another improves safety.

The Emotions as Social Information Model is a psychological model that proposes that the emotional display of one or a group of individuals influences the judgements and actions of others, and has been applied to help explain the link between emotional expression and decisional and behavioural responses within teams in a variety of social situations. This project will draw on the EASI model to develop an understanding of emotional expression in teams, and an intervention to promote a co-operative emotional climate. You will collate research evidence and use the EASI model as a theoretical framework to underpin interviews and focus groups (months 0-15) about social emotion in teams. These will then inform the design of the micro-narratives for safety reporting tool which we will test in maternity services in Bradford (Months 12-24). These data will be used to identify the expressive components that contribute to creating a positive or negative emotional team climate. In months 20-30 we will draw on findings to develop and pilot an intervention to foster a positive emotional team climate during team interactions in maternity care.

How to apply:

To apply for this scholarship applicants should complete a Faculty Scholarship Application form and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School

We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these references on your behalf, directly to by no later than Wednesday 31 May 2017.

If you have already applied for other scholarships using the Faculty Scholarship Application form you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email to inform us you would like to be considered for this scholarship project.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to 

Closing date for this studentship is Wednesday 31 May 2017

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