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Fully funded PhD Studentship - 'Moving Lives, Healthy Minds': Using Sport/PA to Support People with Severe and Enduring Mental Ill Health in CMHTs

Newman University - Sport, Physical Activity and Health Research Centre

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £15,000 per year for three years, with all fees paid.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th March 2020
Closes: 17th April 2020

Call for Applications for PhD Studentship to commence 1 October 2020

Applications are invited for one fully-funded PhD Studentship for three years (full-time) for UK students within the Sport, Physical Activity and Health Research Centre, at Newman University. The ‘Moving Lives, Healthy Minds’ (MLHM) project is funded by Comic Relief, and is delivered in collaboration with Newman’s partners Sport Birmingham and the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT).

The Studentship includes a subsistence grant of £15,000 per year for three years, with all fees paid.

We welcome applications from UK nationals for this PhD studentship, which is based on a mixed-methods evaluation of the ‘Moving Lives, Healthy Minds’ project. Applicants may have a background in sport psychology, health psychology, exercise psychology, mental health practice, or a relevant social science; but this list is not exhaustive given the multidisciplinary nature of the project.

Information on MLHM:

Sport Birmingham, Birmingham Solihull and Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and Newman University have secured £425,000 from Comic Relief for a three-year programme that will enable the organisations to work in partnership to bring about changes among people, organisations and local services that will impact local communities and inform a future ‘model’ of working.

Approximately 15,000 people in Birmingham are under the care of BSMHFT Community Mental Health Teams with a diagnosis of severe and enduring mental illness. As many individuals accessing these services have a long history of mental illness, they typically have limited coping mechanisms, low resilience and subsequently are less likely to be engaging in meaningful or healthy activities.

The programme will focus on working with service users of the BSMHFT Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) based in Erdington and Longbridge, and will involve consultation and co-production with service users. The aim will be to create supportive and purposeful physical activity initiatives centred around patient motivations that are embedded in their long-term recovery plans.

In each locality, community organisations with previous success in engaging individuals with additional needs in their activities will be supported to take a lead role in forming a ‘community of learning’ around working with individuals with long term health conditions and poor mental health. These insights and experiences will in turn be used to create a successful social recovery pathway using sport and physical activity with a peer-mentoring support system in place.

Research project related questions can be directed to Dr Adam Benkwitz:

Applicants are expected to possess a Master’s Degree with Distinction, or Master’s Degree with Merit and a Distinction in the Dissertation, from a UK University, or an equivalent qualification.

The application form can be found:

Alongside the standard application form applicants for this PhD Studentship are asked in the first instance to submit 300-500 words on why they are suitable to conduct a mixed-methods evaluation in a setting such as the MLHM project.

Please note that Newman University offers its PhDs in partnership with Liverpool Hope University (who are the awarding institution) by whose regulations successful applicants will be bound:


  • Deadline for applications: 17 April 2020;
  • Interviews: week commencing 4 May 2020;
  • Commencement of Studentship: 1 October 2020.
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