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PhD Studentship: Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship - Digital Technologies in Health and Wellbeing (2023)

University of Sussex

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Falmer
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £17,668 pa
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 25th November 2022
Closes: 16th January 2023

Dr Faith Matcham is a Health Psychologist and researcher in digital mental health. She is interested in the relationship between mental and physical health and how we can use technology to improve our measurement and management of long-term conditions and mental illness.

Digital technologies, such as wearable devices and smartphone sensors offer exciting opportunity to revolutionise how we measure and manage our health. Recent advances in sensors and remote measurement systems provide sophisticated, high-frequency and objective measurement of parameters known to be associated with health outcomes: heart rate and accelerometery sensors in wrist-worn wearable devices can give information indicative of sleep patterns and physical activity levels. Data from smartphone sensors such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Bluetooth, gyroscope, phone screen interactions, ambient noise and light levels have also been used to collect information relating to sociability, movement, speech and activity associated with low mood. Digital technologies provide the unparalleled opportunity to unobtrusively measure real-time changes in cognition, behaviour, and physiology, providing early indicators of therapeutic outcome and targets for personalised intervention.

She is involved in a variety of research activities which examine the utility of these technologies across a range of contexts and clinical populations.

She is keen to extend the knowledge in this field and welcome applications from anyone interested in developing a project with this technology at its core, whether this be via observational data collection, intervention development and delivery, or other scientific methodology.

She is available to supervise PhD projects within her areas of expertise and research interest. She is also open to supervising PhD projects which fall within the remit of her other ongoing research projects:

  1. The use of Experience Sampling Methodology/ Ecological Momentary Assessment to examine daily patterns of behaviours and emotions in elderly people experiencing loneliness.
  2. Digitalised interventions to improve mental health in people with long-term physical health conditions.
  3. Understanding barriers and facilitators of engagement with digital technologies.

The project will be supervised by Dr Faith Matcham and at least one other supervisor from the University of Sussex. 

Eligibility

  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Merit (an average of 60% overall) in a Master’s degree in Psychology or other relevant discipline (e.g. Neuroscience, Engineering).
  • The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background. 

How to apply

Timetable

  • Deadline: Monday 16 January 2023 (23:59 GMT)
  • Interviews (on Zoom): February 2023
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