SGSSS +3/1+3 Studentship (commencing Autumn 2018): How Might Access to, and Engagement with, Diverse Forms of 'Green Space' Support Reductions in the use of Alcohol and Drugs among Young People in Scotland? An Interdisciplinary Feasibility and Acceptability Study

University of Stirling - Faculty of Social Sciences

Supervisors: Dr Tessa Parkes and Professor Kirsty Park

Applications are invited for a full-time PhD scholarship in the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling. The scholarship is available to support either a 3-year research degree, or a 4-year programme incorporating a Masters course followed by 3-year research degree.

Evidence now exists supporting the hypothesis that access to urban green space (UGS) can have a positive impact on health (Richardson and Mitchell, 2010), partly via a reduction in stress and through behavioural changes such as increased levels of physical activity (Wan and Shen, 2015). Research has also demonstrated a link between access to UGS and better mental health, for example in lower incidences of mood disorders in environments with greater access to UGS (Nutsford et al, 2013). Reductions in health inequalities through increased levels of physical exercise, and higher levels of social capital, have been documented among people who experience social deprivation living in environments with greater UGS (Allen and Balfour 2014). Despite these developments there is a substantive gap regarding how access to, and engagement with, UGS affects alcohol/drug use, with most studies focusing on general mental health. However, psychological restoration and coping with stressful life events closely relate to use of alcohol/drugs. This studentship will explore the use of UGS to provide young people with alternative or ‘diversionary’ activities to those that involve use of alcohol/drugs. Social and conservation science will be used to explore how spaces which provide enhanced opportunities for more ‘intensive’ engagement with nature, such as woodlands, ecological/conservation schemes, might impact the potential resultant health benefits, including reductions in substance use.

How to apply

Applications should include:

  • A two-page covering letter:
    The covering letter should demonstrate both interest and capability of undertaking this particular PhD, making reference to the essential criteria.
  • A full CV – but no more than 4 pages - including the names of two referees (at least one referee should be an academic); Please ensure the CV contains details of all relevant academic training received especially the masters modules undertaken if a Masters degree has been achieved or is expected.
  • Applicant statement: a short summary (maximum 700 words) explaining interest in undertaking an interdisciplinary project of this nature. The summary should refer to the project proposal, could discuss conceptual, theoretical and methodological issues and challenges linked to the project, and will be used to assess the applicant’s knowledge of the research field as well as aptitude for the interdisciplinary working needed in this project.
  • Academic transcript(s) and Degree Certificate(s).
  • Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership Equal Opportunities Form

Applications will be assessed by a selection panel and shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in Stirling or via online methods.

Closing date: 4th June 2018 at midnight.

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