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PhD Studentship: The Impact of Neurodiversity on Parents and Infants: Investigation in the Mother and Baby Unit and the Wider Community

Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Please refer to the advert text
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 26th January 2024
Closes: 29th February 2024

ESRC DTP Collaborative Studentship

University of Birmingham and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust

The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 15 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham, Nottingham, Aston Leicester, Loughborough, De Montfort and Nottingham Trent.

University of Birmingham as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborative partner Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust to commence in October 2024.

The perinatal period (pregnancy to one-year post-partum) is a critical time of novelty and challenge for parents and infants, during which the parent-child relationship is established. Perinatal mental health problems are often associated with high levels of distress that can have a lifelong impact. There are good reasons to believe that parental neurodiversity has an impact on these experiences. Differences such as autism and ADHD likely impact the transition to parenthood and response to perinatal mental health treatment. Similarly, neurodiversity in infants, such as differences in sensory and multisensory processing is likely a key marker of infant outcomes. We know little about how such dimensions affect the course of mental health for parents, or the development of infants born to parents with perinatal mental health conditions.

The School of Psychology and the Perinatal Mental Health Service have partnered to try and answer these questions. The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Dr Andrew Surtees and Prof. Andrew Bremner at the University of Birmingham, and Dr Giles Berrisford and Dr Jelena Jankovic with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust. They will learn and develop methods for assessing neurodiversity, and neural (EEG) and behavioural measures of infant sensory processing. They will work with clinicians across a multi-disciplinary team to understand key decision-making in clinical practice. They will work with experts by experience to shape research questions that are meaningful for service users. They will complete a programme of research and impact to support meaningful outcomes.

We are keen to work with a candidate who has a strong passion for research, and an interest in the intersection between neurodiversity, mental health and developmental science. The successful applicant will have strong analytical skills, good knowledge of research and theory in psychological science, and a strong work ethic. The project will primarily use methods requiring quantitative analysis.

Application Process

To be considered for this PhD, please click 'Apply’ button above to be redirected to our website, where you can download an application pack for the Collaborative Studentship application form.

Please upload an anonymised CV and cover letter as part of the online application process. Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide transcripts and two references.

Application deadline: 29th February 2024

(Interviews 11th-13th March)

Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP

Our ESRC studentships cover fees at the home rate, a maintenance stipend, and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available to both home and international applicants. For further details, visit: www.mgsdtp.ac.uk/studentships/eligibility/.

Informal enquiries about the research or the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham prior to application can be directed to Dr Andrew Surtees (A.Surtees@Bham.ac.uk) and/ or Prof. Andrew Bremner (a.j.bremner@bham.ac.uk).

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