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Three newly funded PhD studentships are available within the Centre for Applied Vision Research within the School of Health and Psychological Sciences

City, University of London

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £20,622 per annum
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 1st February 2024
Closes: 15th March 2024

Application Closing Date: 15 March 2024

Shortlisted Candidates Informed: w/c 25 March 24

Interview Dates: w/c 15 April 2024

Offers Made: early May 2024

PhD Start Date: October 2024 & February 2025

PhD projects

Three projects are available and two are concerned with the eye condition nystagmus. Nystagmus is an eye disorder that results in involuntary, rhythmic movements of the eyes. It can occur in early childhood (infantile) or be acquired subsequent to neurological or vestibular disease (latent). Both forms have a combined prevalence estimated at 24 per 10,000 of the population. Infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS) develops within the first few months of birth and is a lifelong condition. Its prevalence is around 6 per 10,000 births and can be idiopathic or related to pathology of the visual system. There is no known cure and treatment usually involves careful investigation for any underlying cause, optimising visual acuity with spectacles or contact lenses, correcting squint or abnormal head posture with prisms or surgery (if appropriate) and support for patients and carers. Although there is no prospect of cure, it is important that those with the condition are supported to live the best life possible.

The two projects aim to understand:

  1. how vision in INS impacts daily activities leading to advice on how best to cope with the condition; and,
  2. the impact of INS on health-related quality of life leading to the development of resilience interventions to counteract some of the negative aspects of living with the condition.

(For an informal conversation about these projects, please contact Professor Chris Hull on c.c.hull@city.ac.uk)

The third project, the GlareRet project, aims to explore long-range interactions within the retina in patients with retinal disease. This study is based on empirical observations which suggest that, in some subjects, stimulation of the peripheral retina affects visual sensitivity in central vision and that this effect cannot be attributed to light scatter in the eye. Observations also suggest that the effect is much larger in patients with early diseases of the retina.  

The project proposes to develop and validate a new test to investigate how stimulation of the peripheral retina at discrete eccentricities (when no changes in scattered light are involved), affects the sensitivity of the central foveal region. The test will then be used to investigate how the strength of these long-range, retinal interactions vary as a function of age in heathy normal subjects. Preliminary experiments will also be carried out to assess the potential advantage of this test as an early-stage, biomarker of retinal disease in patients with signs of age-related macular-degeneration and also in subjects identified as being at risk of developing glaucoma and diabetes. 
(For an informal conversation about the GlareRet project, please contact Professor John Barbur on j.l.barbur@city.ac.uk)

Funding

Students will receive a maintenance grant that is aligned with the UKRI rate (including London weighting), currently £20,622 per annum, and home tuition fees. Overseas students who are successful will have to meet the difference between the home fee, included in the funding, and the overseas fee.

General requirements

The studentship will be awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and potential to produce cutting edge-research.

Applicants should have:

  • a bachelor's degree with honours with a 2:1 degree classification or above (or overseas equivalent), and a Master's degree or equivalent qualification/experience. Qualifications will ideally be in medical or allied health subjects, psychology, physics or a related field;
  • experience of research;
  • an IELTS score of at least 7 (with a minimum of 7.0 in writing) if your first language is not English.

What we offer

In the School of Health and Psychological Sciences, we offer PhD candidates a world-class research environment:

  • 100% of our research environment and impact was judged as world leading or internationally excellent in the Allied Health Professions Unit of Assessment
  • 82.5% of our impact was judged as world leading or internationally excellent in the Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience Unit of Assessment.

We place a priority on:

  • researcher development
  • creating a positive research culture
  • strengthening interdisciplinary research, and
  • working with our communities and achieving a strong impact through our research.

Successful candidates will be supervised by a multi-disciplinary team of supervisors including vision scientists, clinicians and health psychologists.  All supervisors have extensive supervision and research experience.

How to apply

Applicants are required to submit their application online by clicking 'Apply' above. 

The specific project you are applying for should be clearly stated.

Applicants will submit a personal statement accompanied by a current CV. The personal statement should address why you wish to pursue doctoral study, what attracted you to the particular project, and what skills you believe you have that will help you successfully complete a doctoral degree.

Please click on the link to apply and ignore the request to provide a 1-2 page research proposal. Please apply under the visual science route. You must follow the criteria and process outlined here and not the generic criteria on the application page because these projects are already broadly prescribed.

Please make sure you allow sufficient time for your application and understand what documentation is required, for example, certificates of qualifications.

The deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 15 March 2024.

Applicants can expect to hear the outcome of shortlisting in the week commencing 25 March 2024.

Shortlisted applicants will be expected to attend an interview or be interviewed on-line during w/c 15th April and final decisions will be communicated early in May 2024

For any general enquiries about the PhD studentships that are not addressed in the above information, please contact SHPS Doctorate Enquiries on SHPSresearch@city.ac.uk.

City, University of London is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in all its activities, processes and culture, for our whole community, including staff, students and visitors.

We welcome applications regardless of age, gender, gender identity, trans status, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief or social class.

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