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PhD Studentship: Learning About Early Literacy Acquisition Through Student Interactions With Research-based Game Environments and Statistical Time-network Analysis

Lancaster University - Data Science Institute

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Lancaster
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Fully funded (stipend and UK home fees)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 26th March 2021
Closes: 21st April 2021

Research Centre/Group: Data Science Institute, Lancaster University

Supervisors: Prof Kate Cain (Psychology); Dr Rebecca Killick (Mathematics and Statistics)

Application Deadline: Wednesday 21st April 2021

Project Title: Learning about early literacy acquisition through student interactions with research-based game environments and statistical time-network analysis

Funding Details: A fully funded (stipend and UK home fees) EPSRC PhD studentship for UK/EU students (conditions may apply to non-UK students).

About the Project: This cross-disciplinary PhD will develop statistical models of time-networks to advance understanding of early literacy development through analysis of children’s interactions with a digital reading support - Amplify Reading ( This evidence-based curriculum supplement has been adopted by ~2,000 schools in the U. S., reaching ~250,000 5- to 11-year-olds. The successful applicant will develop time-network models of literacy to understand how one aspect of literacy interacts and influences other aspects of literacy learning over time. The dataset is rich and dense in both student numbers and observations over time, providing a unique opportunity to study developmentally the interrelations among key components of reading development and model reciprocity, dependencies and change.

Person: Due to the interdisciplinary nature of this work, applicants with a range of experience who can demonstrate a strong interest in this topic will be considered. The project is ideal for a person who is interested in receiving advanced training in statistics and its application to psychology and education. The person will ideally have an undergraduate or Master’s degree in statistics or data science, or a psychology qualification with a strong statistics component. Prior experience with statistics computing software (e.g., R) is desirable.

Further details and contact: Standard EPSRC eligibility rules apply. The post will ideally start in October 2021, but there is some flexibility. For informal enquiries, please contact either Prof Kate Cain (Psychology: or Dr Rebecca Killick (

Closing date: Wednesday 21 April 2021

Interview date: Wednesday 28 April 2021

Application notes: Please make an online application for this project :

Please ensure that you write “I would like to be considered for the EPSRC funding award with Prof Kate Cain and Dr Rebecca Killick”.

Please include a brief overview of your experience in statistics and/or psychology and why you are interested in this particular project.

Interested candidates should apply as soon as possible, as applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the April closing date

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