PhD Studentship

Anglia Ruskin University - Faculty of Medical Science

About Anglia Ruskin University:
Anglia Ruskin is a vibrant workplace and our University is gaining prominence both nationally and internationally. We have ambitious plans for the future and we are determined that our students and staff will realise their full potential. Our main campuses in the cities of Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough have been transformed with major capital investment. With an annual turnover of over £200m, we are a major force for higher education and one of the largest universities in the East of England.

About the role:
This fully funded PhD studentship offers the opportunity to develop and pilot a Digital Behaviour Change Intervention to target physical activity in isolated older adults

In older adults (60 years and over) regular participation in physical activity has been found to be associated with healthy ageing and reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, as well as the prevention of falls, and greater independence. However, despite these benefits in this age group physical activity levels are low. To date, interventions to promote sustainable physical activity in older adults have achieved limited success particularly over the long term. Novel and sustainable physical activity interventions are urgently required.

Digital Behaviour Change Interventions have been used in the promotion of medication adherence, management of long-term conditions, promoting smoking cessation and promoting physical activity participation and dietary behaviours in young adults. The evidence in older adults is less clear, yet the potential is considerable. The purpose of the present PhD will be to develop and pilot a Digital Behaviour Change Intervention to target physical activity in isolated older adults. The student will be strongly encouraged to publish findings from the thesis in International journals as they develop over the course of the PhD.

The successful applicant will benefit from a strong supervisory team: Dr Lee Smith who has expertise in physical activity and quantitative analyses, Dr Brendon Stubbs who has expertise in mental health, healthy ageing and systematic reviewing, and Professor Patricia Schofield who has expertise in multi-disciplinary research and healthy ageing.

Applications from a wide range of disciplines are welcomed, including sport science, psychology, medicine, physiology, or other life sciences with at least an upper Second Class Honours Degree. Previous experience in quantitative research methods is essential. Informal enquires can be made to Dr Lee Smith (

The three year funding is for a full time PhD student starting January 2018 to cover tax free stipend £14,296 + fees paid.

Please apply with a CV and cover letter to

For more information on our senior staff please see the links below:

Dr Lee Smith:

Dr Brendon Stubbs:

Professor Patricia Schofield:

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South East England