Vice-Chancellor's Studentships 2022

University of the West of Scotland

Funded PhD opportunities with University of the West of Scotland 

University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is one of Scotland’s most innovative modern universities. It’s ranked by Times Higher Education in the world’s top 150 young universities, and in the top 600 universities overall in their world university rankings. 

Research-led solutions for global problems

Under the UWS Vice-Chancellor’s Studentship Scheme 2022, sixteen  funded PhD studentships are offered for October 2022 start. These highly selective studentships span the University’s four academic schools: Business & Creative Industries; Computing, Engineering & Physical Sciences; Education & Social Sciences; and Health & Life Sciences. 

“These sought-after studentships help to drive forward our vision for the institution to be recognised as a world-leading university, supporting excellent, relevant and purposeful research.”

Dr Lucy Meredith, Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor at UWS 

The studentship themes are aligned with the ambitions of UWS Strategy 2025 which sets out the University’s commitment to distinctive research and innovation, and addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

“At University of the West of Scotland, we are incredibly proud of our innovative and diverse research portfolio, which not only addresses major societal challenges, but transforms lives through imaginative thinking and significant academic expertise. The Vice-Chancellor’s studentships demonstrate our commitment to not only significantly expand our research output, but to become a key part of the solution to many of the problems society will face in a post-Covid world and, indeed, beyond that.”

Professor Milan Radosavljevic

UWS Vice-Principal (Research, Innovation & Engagement) 

About these Projects

University of the West of Scotland is seeking to attract PhD candidates of outstanding ability and commitment to join our vibrant and growing programme of internationally excellent research. 

The funded studentships are open to UK citizens and EU applicants with pre-settled or settled status. Funding for applicants meeting these criteria will cover UK fees and they will also receive an annual stipend (currently £15,609).

How to apply

Applications can only be accepted through the UWS online system (

Submit your application along with the required documents mentioned in UWS guidance:  

Closing date for applications - 30 June 2022 

You will find more details on these exciting funded studentship opportunities, as well as details of the contacts for more information, in the project summaries below.



A framework for museums participatory design in virtual reality assisted by AI


The aim of this project is to identify possible solutions to Small and Medium Museums’ (SMM) digital poverty through a collaborative participatory approach and test and implement such solutions by developing a reliable and sustainable infrastructure that supports digitalization of SMM. The project will look for shared solutions to build an open-source software framework for museums participatory design in virtual reality assisted by AI, making such infrastructure accessible to all SMM. 

Finding common digitalization solutions across SMM could improve their sustainability and increase SMM access to information and communication technologies. As SMM preserve local history and heritage and educate local and international communities about it, improving digital accessibility and sustainability of the SMM impacts access to the education the SMM provide to those that do not have the means to go to the SMM. 

The prospective candidate is expected to hold a BSc Hons, MSc, or MProf in Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Computer Games, Computing or related disciplines.

It is expected that the PhD candidate has a working knowledge of VR implementation tools and APIs embedded in game engines such as Unity or Unreal as well as a good understanding of augmented and mixed reality technologies 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022 



A study of everyday solutions deployed by family carers when balancing risk and safety of relatives living in the family home with advanced dementia.


This PhD opportunity sits within the signature research programme of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice at the University of the West of Scotland. Our previous research has shown that keeping a person with advanced dementia safe in family homes requires family carers to mitigate risks. This grounded theory thesis will explore practical solutions to managing risk situations within family caring.  Using an assets-based approach the successful applicant will explore the real-world strategies designed by family carers for managing everyday hazards in dementia care, including before and during the Covid-19 pandemic and post-pandemic recovery. 

The successful candidate will join a vibrant and inclusive research community and take advantage of our established partnerships and close collaborations with family carers of people with dementia. Ideal candidates will have a background in qualitative research methods and demonstrate commitment to applied dementia care research. 

Informal enquires can be made to 

In the online application, please upload a word document entitled ‘research proposal’ which includes the title of the PhD studentship and for the attention of Dr Anna Jack-Waugh within the body of the document. 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Autonomous Fall-Back Communication for Critical Wireless Smart Grid Networks


Safety-critical wireless IoT networks are increasingly ubiquitous. They enable future mobility concepts for e.g. drone swarm coordination and vehicle to everything (v2x) networks. As static networks they underpin in situ monitoring and control of civilian infrastructure such as power and water. Signal jamming at grid perimeters causes breakdown of essential network services, while in mobile platforms the potential loss of vehicle control poses a significant collision and accident risk. 

This project will research, develop and validate a fall-back mechanism technology for fail-safe communication of critical network grids to mitigate the adverse impacts of signal jamming. The study will extend intelligent autonomous nodes to detect and identify anomalous behaviour of signals and update all participating devices in the grid of the anomaly to use the fall-back mechanism.      

The student will be embedded in the Cyber Research Group and ALMADA Research Centre at the UWS Lanarkshire campus, joining a growing team of 4 PhD students, and over 10 faculty researchers. 

For informal queries please contact Dr. Althaff Mohideen at or Dr. James Riordan at 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Children’s voice in times of Covid-19: a critical investigation of participatory research methods with young children


The successful candidate will engage in ethnographic research with 3-5 year olds to explore their perspectives of life during a pandemic. The project will apply a critical lens to the adult researcher, and in exploring children’s agency around a topic that changed their lives, propose new methods to better represent young children’s voices in research and society. In doing so, the candidate will critically explore existing data collection tools with children as co-researchers, analyse power (im)balances and develop new guidance for research with young children.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to engage in research activities and teaching experiences across the University’s Divisions and Schools to provide them with a rich collaborative experience and enhance their post-doctoral employability.

The successful candidate will have experience working with children and be eligible for PVG-membership. Applicants must have a 2:1 degree in education or a related area (e.g., psychology, sociology, social sciences) at a minimum (a Masters degree with a research component would be an advantage). They must also meet one of the following criteria: be a UK National (meeting residency requirements); have settled status; have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements); or, have indefinite leave to remain.

All UWS doctoral studentships are subject to conditions of tenure. For more information or to discuss the project informally, please contact Dr Conny Gollek ( 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Embedding disability rights in sport participation frameworks


About the project

The University of the West of Scotland’s Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science has been recognized as the highest ranked Sport Science research institute in Scotland within the Shanghai Ranking. The Centre for Culture, Sport and Events (CCSE) has been at the forefront of disability sport research since 2014 and our expertise has been sought after by the International Paralympic Committee, Commonwealth Games Federation, Japanese policy forums, and Scottish and Canadian government agencies. Conducting your research at UWS, you will have the opportunity to work alongside leading academics in the field in addition to receiving support from our Doctoral College. The successful candidate will spend 3-6 months in Canada, working closely with our colleagues at Western University, Ontario, contributing to the EU-funded EventRights project led in Scotland by CCSE. 

Project Details

Data from the Scottish Health Survey 2018 shows that disability results in a significant reduction in sport participation for both young and adult age groups. However, this indicates only a small element of the complexities associated with participation in sport and physical activity for people with a disability. This project aims to develop a framework for increasing participation with the human rights of individuals fully embedded. It is anticipated that the project will adopt a qualitative approach to engage with the lived experience of individuals

in Scotland and Canada focused on three key objectives:

  1. To conduct a global desk-based literature review of academic and grey literatures exploring the differential conceptualisations of disability including the medical model, social model, theory of ableism and the bio-psychological model of disability.
  2. To conduct a comparative study of the lived experience of persons with disabilities who want to participate in sport in Scotland (Glasgow) and Canada (Ontario).
  3. To develop a framework for introducing a rights-based model of sport participation for persons with disabilities drawing on their lived experiences. 

The successful candidate will have experience in conducting qualitative research, in developing novel research approaches to data collection including an understanding of the lived experience as a research approach. They will also understand the UN SDG goals within which the research is set. They will also have a suitable Masters qualification in social sciences, sport or disability studies. 

How to Apply

All applications should be completed through the online application system of UWS:

Applications should include the following:

  • Updated CV
  • Cover letter
  • Degree transcripts to date
  • A statement of purpose (1000 words maximum) detailing your suitability for the project 

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Liz Carlin ( 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Feasibility and Design Study for Electric- and Hydrogen-Powered Aircraft


Sustainable aviation is a long-term strategy that sets out the collective approach of academia and industry in tackling the challenge of achieving cleaner, quieter, smarter aircraft. Electric and hydrogen propulsion for aircraft has potential to significantly reduce the impact of aviation on the climate and contribute to decarbonisation objectives. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by current aircraft is more than 900 million tonnes per year (2-3% of worldwide emissions); given a 4% growth rate in aviation, emissions would more than double by 2050. Aviation technology programmes have established the roadmap to achieving sustainability via green technology implementation. Such programmes include Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA), The Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE) and clean sky. In line with such programmes, this project aims to review and test key design parameters for electric- and hydrogen-powered aircraft that will facilitate a concept for zero-emission design. Conceptual design characteristics will be determined by analytical and numerical simulations based on computer programming. Key metrics will be used to determine the level of efficiency against conventional aircraft design.

There is demand for multi-disciplinary studies on the feasibility of electric/hybrid-electric and hydrogen propulsion. The project objectives are therefore as follows:

- To review net-zero emission developments (experimentation, modelling, etc.) in aviation to establish current trends and success in net zero-emission flight operation.   

- To implement mathematical models for design performance analyses.

- To use multi-physics system simulation to model electrical and hydrogen power characteristics.

- To configure aircraft design and power data to assess the feasibility of aircraft operating within the current airline requirements.

Candidates should hold a first- or second-class honours in mechanical/aerospace/electrical engineering or other relevant disciplines. A strong background in simulation, optimization and/or the aerospace industry are desirable but not essential.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Stephanie Docherty at

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022 



Improving Student Mental Health and Academic Success through On-Campus Nature and Animal Interventions


Poor mental health in the university student population is an ongoing global problem and emerging evidence shows a significant worsening of symptoms since the onset of COVID-19. This will place an unprecedented strain on university services that may not be able to meet increased demand. Finding ways to support student mental health, particularly during the transition out of the pandemic and back to on-campus teaching, is a key priority. Improved psychological health, through novel on-campus interventions, will subsequently impact academic motivation and performance, and self-esteem, thus increasing student engagement, reducing retention rates, and ultimately, supporting academic success. Through novel mixed methodology, this project aims to explore current issues relating to student mental health and the subsequent impact on academic success, and barriers to support, and will examine the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of implementing nature and animal-based on-campus interventions to improve student outcomes. The overarching goal is to improve student wellbeing, increase resilience, and improve academic success. 

This role involves working within an interdisciplinary team and carrying out mixed methodologies (quantitative and qualitative analysis, creative methods) to address the research questions. The specialisation in the PhD would be in Psychology (PhD in Psychology). The successful candidate will be at the forefront of tackling poor student mental health, making a significant contribution to improving student wellbeing, experience, and academic outcomes. This aligns with UN SDGs Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, and Reduced Inequalities. 

This project is led by Dr Roxanne Hawkins (Lecturer in Psychology) and will be based in the Division of Psychology, School of Education and Social Sciences, Paisley, Scotland, UK (with potential travel to Lanarkshire campus), working with Dr Nicola-Douglas-Smith (Lecturer in Psychology), and Dr Nick Jenkins (Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Social Policy). Find more about the school here: 

Candidates should hold a first or second class honours degree from a university in the United Kingdom in a relevant discipline. Please quote the Project Reference number above when submitting your research proposal. 

In the first instance, any informal enquiries and applications to these competitive studentships should be made by email to Dr Roxanne Hawkins ( Successful applicants will be asked to submit the application through the UWS online system ( 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022




Investigation of new advanced materials and structures for development of self-charging hybrid energy systems


The PhD research project relates to a recently awarded Vice-Chancellor PhD Studentships 2022. PhD project work will be based within the Institute of Thin Films, Sensors & Imaging (ITFSI – at the University of the West of Scotland`s (UWS – Paisley Campus).

The wholesome concept of smart life by the embedment of innumerable optoelectronic/electronic components and sensors in small devices (smart-watches, smart-phones, tablet) and larger ones (drones, electric-vehicles, robots) is fascinating and era-driven. However, a major issue encountered to these electronic devices is their dependence on a connected power source, hindering their applicability in health-monitoring/care, defence, communication, internet-of-things, and smart-cities/buildings. This has put an immense demand for energy generation which has consequently increased its price and use of non-environmentally friendly production routes to cope with the demand. To overcome this challenge, a cost-effective “greener” energy solution capable of harvesting wasted energy from surrounding environment will make cities to be more sustainable (SDG11) and less impactful on the climate through the improvement of the air quality (SDG13) also contributing to achieve more affordable and clean energy (SDG7) to power sensing platforms and electronics while reducing their downtimes.

This project is aimed at investigating novel advanced materials deposited by physical vapor deposition (PVD) methods developed within ITFSI, to develop a high-performance self-charging energy system (SCES) capable of self-powering electronic devices and sensors.

PhD project director of studies will be Dr Carlos Garcia Nuñez (Lecturer in Physics at UWS) and co-supervisors Prof Des Gibson (UWS ITFSI director of research), and Dr Ashwini Konanahalli (Reader in Civil Engineering). Project will involve working with colleagues at University of Glasgow (Dr. Hadi Heidari, hybrid energy harvesting), and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Prof. Jose Luis Pau, self-powered sensing platforms).

The project will utilise state-of-the-art plasma source technology developed within ITFSI for assisted electron beam deposition and microwave plasma assisted sputter deposition of dielectric thin films materials. Material properties will be optimised (crystalline films, amorphous films, doping, porosity, surface treatments, etc.) in order to use resulting films as active materials for the development of triboelectric and piezoelectric energy generators (TENG and PENG). For that, resulting semiconductor thin films will be characterise using techniques advanced material characterisation techniques (SEM, EDX, Raman, Stress, and CPD). The project will also comprise the development of hybrid energy harvesting devices and their integration with energy storage devices (i.e. supercapacitors), and the use of Python to simulate TENG/PENG power output through the theoretical distance dependent model (DMM). Validity of SCES will be tested in various sensing platforms, including chemical sensors, and photodetectors utilised in applications such as health monitoring and pollution monitoring (i.e. CO2 and NO detection), as well as energy sources for small robots and drones. 

In the first instance, any informal enquiries should be made by email to Dr. Carlos Garcia Nuñez ( Successful applicants will be asked to submit the application through the UWS online system.

Application Deadline: 30th June 2022.

Project start date: 1st October 2022. 



Justice in the Digital Age: Accessing Justice in the Immigration Tribunal


This Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Studentship offers an exciting opportunity to work with a team of researchers at the University of the West of Scotland on a project which seeks to enhance access to justice in the UK Immigration and Asylum System. The successful candidate will be based in the School of Business and Creative Industries at the University of the West of Scotland and supervised by Ms Susannah Paul, Dr Samuel White and Dr Carolynn Gray.

The objectives of the project are to:

Develop an understanding of the nature and impact of the digitalisation reforms in the Immigration Tribunal.

Critically assess the impact of the digitalisation process on access to justice.

Provide resources that will help users navigate the tribunal system in the digital age.

The impact of this research project will extend beyond advancement of academic theory and creates tangible societal impact. This project will be suited to an enthusiastic researcher who seeks to work in a collegial environment as part of a team that seek to produce research which directly benefits the community.

The project will employ empirical and socio-legal research methods. Candidates will be expected to have at least a 2:1 Bachelor Degree in a related discipline. E.g.  law, sociology, anthropology. Postgraduate qualifications would be an advantage. Good knowledge of empirical research methods would be beneficial. The English language requirements of UWS apply.

To apply, please send the following documents to

An up-to-date CV

A letter of motivation

Two references - at least one of which must be from an academic familiar with the applicant’s academic work and abilities

A sample of written work, not exceeding 2,500 words. This can be, for example, an excerpt of published work, an excerpt from a student thesis or similar source. It does not need to be related to the topic of the PhD. 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022




Lagging behind or not in the race? UK compliance with international human rights treaty obligations


This PhD (Lagging behind or not in the race? UK compliance with international human rights treaty obligations) explores the way in which the UK protects human rights and whether the existing domestic legal frameworks match with international human rights treaty obligations. Looking at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, the project will map the extent to which the rights these protect are covered by domestic law. It will also examine how the relevant treaty bodies view the UK’s compliance. It aims to make a contribution to the ongoing debate about how human rights are protected in the UK and how the future of human rights ought to look in order to secure the strongest possible protections.

The project will employ a combination of doctrinal and socio-legal research methods aimed at understanding both what the law says and how it works.

Situated within the School of Business and Creative Industries at the University of the West of Scotland, the successful student will work under the supervision of Dr Samuel White, Susannah Paul and Dr Carolynn Gray. They will be expected to contribute to teaching and research within the Law Unit and to be on campus regularly.

Candidates should have an undergraduate degree in law (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, or Scotland) and to have achieved at least a 2.1 in this.  Undergraduate non-law qualifications or legal qualifications from other jurisdictions may be considered, but applicants should demonstrate they possess the relevant knowledge. A postgraduate legal qualification may be an advantage.

Good knowledge of both UK and international human rights law is essential, as is an understanding of the way in which the UK constitution operates. Broader knowledge of public international law would be useful. The English language requirements of UWS apply.

To apply please send the following documents to

  1. An up-to-date CV;
  2. A letter of motivation;
  3. Two references - at least one of which must be from an academic familiar with the applicant’s academic work and abilities; and
  4. A sample of written work, not exceeding 2,500 words. This can be, for example, an excerpt of published work, an excerpt from a student thesis or similar source. It does not need to be related to the topic of the PhD. 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022




Nitrate supplementation as an alternative to antiseptic mouthwash and a method to reduce the burden of antimicrobial resistance.


This project builds upon our pioneering research which shows that nitrate, a compound found in green leafy vegetables, can substantially improve key markers of periodontitis (gum disease) and cardiovascular health. The majority of adults are afflicted by periodontitis (many severely) which is caused by the actions of certain bacteria in the mouth. Physical removal of bacteria and antiseptic or antibiotic treatment may be used, but the unintentional eradication of “good bacteria” can increase cardiovascular and metabolic health risks and contribute to antimicrobial resistance. In this project we will ascertain whether nitrate consumption can substitute antiseptic mouthwash chemicals to create a balanced oral microbiome. The overall objective is to investigate nitrate supplementation as an alternative method to protect and improve oral and cardiovascular health, whilst reducing the burden of AMR in the individual user and in the environment.

The role of nitrate in human health and metabolism is a signature research area within the School that has resulted in multiple publications, external funding, and international media coverage. Our group has also recently established that ingestion of nitrate-rich beetroot juice reduces salivary acidity following carbohydrate ingestion and endurance exercise in athletes. This interdisciplinary project will significantly extend these findings by testing the hypothesis that dietary nitrate has the potential to be an effective non-antiseptic/antibiotic therapeutic intervention which will contribute to global efforts to reduce antimicrobial resistance.

Candidates should hold at least a first- or second-class honours degree from a university in the United Kingdom and preferably have a Masters degree in a relevant discipline within the biological and medical sciences. Expressions of interest should be emailed to Dr Mia Burleigh –

In the online application, please upload a word document entitled ‘research proposal’ which includes the title of the PhD studentship and for the attention of Dr Mia Burleigh within the body of the document.

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022 



Novel techniques for nuclear energy and the origin of chemical elements


The Nuclear Physics Research Group at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has a fully-funded PhD studentship available. The successful applicants will join a well-established programme of studying atomic nuclei and developing detectors for nuclear research and applications.  Specifically, one of the projects will be concerned with Novel techniques for nuclear energy and the origin of chemical elements supervised by Dr Nara Singh Bondili. 

Our research typically involves the creation of the nuclei of interest using nuclear reactions in the laboratory, induced by bombarding targets with energetic beams of ions from particle accelerators. We then detect the radiation emitted in order to infer the structure and properties of the reaction products. This research will be carried out at overseas particle-accelerator laboratories such as CMAM (Madrid), TRIUMF (Vancouver), Koln (Germany), JYFL (Jyväskylä, Finland) and ISOLDE-CERN (Geneva).

The successful candidate will help to perform simulations for the detector development, tests using materials from assays, set up and run the experiments and will carry out the analysis of data from one or more of the experiments. Experience of hands-on skills, scientific computing, particularly the Linux operating system, or an aptitude for computing would be an advantage.

The studentships are fully funded by the University of the West of Scotland. The funding will cover tuition fees and will provide a standard research-council stipend of approximately £15k per year. Applicants should have, or expect to be awarded, a first-class or upper second-class Honours degree in Physics. Applicants should have a willingness to travel, and to spend short periods (several weeks) at overseas laboratories.  The studentships are open to UK citizens and EU applicants with pre-settled or settled status.

The studentships will start on 1st October 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter. The closing date for applications is 30 June 2022, and we would appreciate early applications.

The Paisley Campus of the University of the West of Scotland. Paisley is located around 10 miles south-west of Glasgow, with excellent travel links to Glasgow (~10 minutes by train to Glasgow Central station) and to the scenic regions of Scotland (e.g. ~25 minutes by car to Loch Lomond). Glasgow International Airport is also located in Paisley. 

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Racist peer victimisation among young people: Cultures of coping and support


In the UK, hate crimes in schools have more than doubled since the Brexit referendum and the number of children being suspended from school for racism has reached a record high with 4,904 incidents reported in 2018/19 (Anti-bullying Alliance, 2020; BBC, 2020; Evening Standard, 2020). Furthermore, 95% of young Black people report that they have heard and witnessed the use of racist language at school (YMCA, 2020). And in a survey of teachers, 18% reported that they had witnessed bullying targeting ethnicity or race either ‘often’ or ‘very often’ (Department of Education, 2020).

Although racist peer victimisation has been identified as an important stressor among young people, very few studies internationally have explored the way in which those victimised due to their ethnicity, culture, national status, or faith cope (Sapouna et al., in press; Stevens et al., 2016). The limited research that has been conducted to date frames coping as an individualistic process, where the focus is on how youth deal with racist victimisation (Banerjee et al., 2020; Mendez et al., 2014). However, the literature suggests that it is important to also consider how wider socio-cultural and structural resources can influence the development of coping among youth (Park et al., 2018; Spencer & Swanson, 2013).

To fill this gap, the aim of this project is to explore how structural (families, communities, institutions, peer groups, social capital) and cultural (religion, values, recognition) ethnic differences affect the way in which ethnic minority youth respond to being victimised by their peers. Addressing this gap can build evidence to shape more effective and targeted strategies to support young people and mitigate against the negative effects of racist peer victimisation.

The project objectives are:

1)         To document the lived experience of online and offline racist peer victimisation among under-represented categories of youth in Scotland.

2)         To examine how young people, their families and their communities cope with racist peer victimisation and how individual, socio-cultural and structural factors influence these responses.

3)         To understand parents’ and peers’ messages to young people that include culturally relevant coping strategies for how to deal with racist peer victimisation.

4)         To inform the development of culturally responsive policies and resources that can support victimised young people in the future.

The project will involve working with young people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and their parents. Arts-based methods will be used to access young people’s lived experiences.

The candidate will receive in-house training and supervision from experts on racism, peer victimisation and qualitative research methods. Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum 2:1 honours undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related area (e.g., education, psychology, criminology, sociology, social work). A Master’s degree with a significant research methods component would be preferred.

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Reducing Inequality in Autism Diagnosis and Support: Knowledge, attitudes and experiences of autistic females and the professionals who work with them


The understanding of autism is based heavily on a male-centred phenotype, with the male to female diagnosis ratio at 3 to 1.  However, this it largely thought to be a result of under-diagnosis due to a limited clinical understanding of autistic presentation in females. Compared to autistic males, females are believed to more effectively mask their social difficulties and behavioural problems which can make detection difficult during clinical assessments. This means that females are often either misdiagnosed, with their symptoms mis-attributed to other conditions, or left undiagnosed, despite experiencing a comparative level of difficulties as their autistic male counterparts. This has a detrimental effect on the support and intervention opportunities for females, resulting in substantial gender inequalities in autism diagnosis and treatment, and impacting heavily on the health and wellbeing of females who present with autism symptomology.

This PhD project will take a mixed-methods approach to examine the knowledge, understanding and experiences of autistic females and professionals who work with, diagnose, and/or treat autistic patients (e.g., social workers, health visitors, teachers, clinicians). The objectives of this project are 1: to determine the level of understanding of the female phenotype currently held by professionals, identify gaps in knowledge or barriers to identifying autistic females and potential unmet training needs; 2: To gain comprehensive and in-depth insight into the experience of autistic women and girls from pre- to post-diagnosis to allow for identification of specific gaps in current support provision or barriers to accessing support at different stages of the process; and 3: to identify barriers and difficulties experienced by caregivers of young autistic girls to help guide recommendations that will improve early diagnosis.

The successful candidate must have a BPS accredited undergraduate degree in Psychology (Hons; 2:1 or above), with experience in both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. An MSc with a developmental or research focus is desirable, but not essential. Prior work experience with vulnerable groups (particularly those with developmental disorders) is also preferable.

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Validation of Novel Physical Performance Assessments for Ski Athletes (VP2231)


This project provides an exciting and groundbreaking opportunity to research, design and test a performance assessment tool alongside Snowsport Scotland and Sportscotland. Specifically, this project will look to examine the validity and reliability of a field-based assessment tool, hoping to assess maximal oxygen uptake, critical power and anaerobic capacity.

In cross-country skiing, a strong positive correlation is present between level of performance and VO2max (Tønnessen, 2015), demonstrating the importance for coaches and athletes to have an accurate assessment of VO2max. Further, due to the demands of cross-country skiing, it is important to assess an athletes’ anaerobic capabilities. As such, current practices within cross-country skiing utilise an ‘all-out’ 3-minute test (Vanhatalo, 2006) on a ski ergometer, allowing for estimation of VO2max, critical power and peak power. However, to date this field based assessment test has yet to be validated against a criterion measure or assessed for reliability so therefore lacks scientific rationale when being used to monitor endurance performance and/or, talent identification.

The Project

Snowsport Scotland have highlighted that to best prepare athletes for future success in the sport they need to be developing those with appropriate attributes including elements associated with double polling performance. A validated field assessment is required to support athletes across their pathway at a range of age groups and performance levels. The aim of this project would be to validate the 3-minute all out maximal exercise protocol (Vanhatalo, 2006) for use during double polling exercise on a ski ergometer. There are a number of component parts to the project:

  1. Concurrent criterion validity will be sought for the 3-minute all out assessment against the gold standard measure for endurance capabilities, via the attainment of VO2max on a RAMP test.
  2. Concurrent criterion validity will be assessed of the critical power and anaerobic capacity estimates gained in the 3-minute all out assessment against a criterion 2 trial critical power protocol.
  3. Assessment of reliability and predictive validity of the 3-minute all out assessment within controlled and field based environments.
  4. Translating the research to an applied environment to allow for continuous monitoring of athletes across the performance pathway in Snowsport Scotland.

Based at the University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) Lanarkshire campus, the candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Tom Macpherson, Dr Laura Forrest and Professor Chris Easton from the Division of Sport and Exercise. At UWS, our Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, which the supervision team are part of, encompasses all exercise, physical activity, and health-related research within UWS. In the 2022 Shanghai Ranking, a global league table of world university rankings, recognised the Institute as the highest-ranked Sports Science research institute in Scotland, and 4th in the UK. Our research institute comprises of 30 academics, which has attracted a research income of over £1.5 million, produced over 350 papers, and successfully graduated over 26 PhD candidates over the last 5 years. The group has received a £2.3m investment in state-of-the-art research facilities, including a bespoke consultancy space - of use to the PhD candidate for data collection and skill development. Our Institute has postgraduate coordinators who liaise directly with students, staff, and the Doctoral College to oversee student progression, and who encourage PGRs with opportunities to engage in research seminars, host events, and foster a PGR community. The UWS Academy and Doctoral College support students using the Vitae Researcher Development Framework and training for your development. The Careers team support students’ career aspirations with advice on writing, publishing work, networking, leadership, presentation skills, and interview preparation. The Doctoral College supports opportunity to undertake the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, and there is opportunity as part of the studentship to gain relevant academic teaching experience. Our PhD candidates have desk-space on campus within a modern, open-plan setting beside all research and teaching staff in the Division, allowing for networking and engagement in a supportive environment. There will also be opportunity for hybrid working to support life balance and a sustainable approach to the research journey. At UWS, we pride ourselves on our holistic support and development of all students and our campus environment supports this.


The successful candidate will have at least an upper second-class undergraduate degree in sport, physiotherapy, or health related subjects. An MSc degree qualification in a relevant area is desirable. Evidence of the skills needed to work with elite athletes and ideally direct experience conducting quantitative research.

In the online application, please upload a word document entitled ‘research proposal’, which includes the title of the PhD studentship and for the attention of Dr Tom Macpherson within the body of the document.

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022



Waste, Expenditure and Resilience: New Discourses, Politics and Public Performances


Waste, Expenditure and Resilience: New Discourses, Politics and Public Performances

The School of Business and Creative Industries at the University of the West of Scotland has a strong and growing research community of world-leading excellence. This funded PhD Studentship seeks an ambitious researcher who is committed to developing original performance through practice-as-research at the interface of civic engagement and interdisciplinary research enquiry. The relevance of the proposed topic of research can be seen across a variety of contemporary geo-political contexts but this studentship has been inspired by Georges Bataille’s important ideas on ‘waste’ which appeared in his 1933 essay ‘The notion of expenditure’. Here, economic utility is not only conflated within a system of conspicuous waste, consumption and expenditure, but directly related to business, industry and capital. The relevance of Bataille’s argument for us today becomes more urgent by conceiving ‘waste’ as being an indispensable part of the very energy of creation. The fundamental assumption is found in the relation between energy and economy, as well as in the resulting inequalities and the catastrophic consequences that arise from this relation. What often results is the sacrifice of human beings through war and other forms of conflict that mark them as disposable – or else, the kind of ‘wastefulness’ that results from an economy of exploitation and/or violence.

The research study invites new thinking about the production of ‘waste’ and particularly the biopolitical production of people-as-waste, aiming to interrogate current socio-politico-economic models that go beyond the mere consumption–waste–destruction model. It is expected that the successful candidate will record narratives of ‘waste’ and curate a series of civic engagement events in accordance with the project’s research objectives and UWS’s commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goals. ( The project’s research topic of ‘Waste’ is broad enough to bring candidates from a range of academic disciplines as long as they are willing to develop interdisciplinary research-as-practice using performance as their principal medium of investigation.

The PhD studentship is hosted by the Protracted Crisis Research Centre ( and the candidate will have the opportunity to work closely with the Compound 13 Lab based in Mumbai, India (, and the Refugee Centre in Lesbos, Greece. It is likely that the project will include the facilitating of international performance/exchange events with international collaborators. In addition, you will participate in the planning and running of an international symposium on ‘Performing Waste, Resilience and Sustainability,' and be given the opportunity to get involved with emerging networks. The candidate will complete training in ethical research and will work towards the publication of parts of this PhD in esteemed, peer-reviewed journals as well as producing public, practice-based outputs.

For more information about the PhD Studentship or any enquires about the project, please contact Dr Eve Katsouraki (lead supervisor) and/or Dr Henry Bell and/or Prof Graham Jeffery.

Closing date 30th June 2022

Start date 1st October 2022