Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


3 PhD Opportunities - NIHR 3 Schools Dementia PhD Studentships at UCL

We have three exciting, funded dementia PhD studentships available at UCL. Details of each of the studentships are provided below.  

Funded by the NIHR Three Schools’ Dementia Research Programme the Doctoral Studentships will support individuals with a stipend and fees for 3 years from October 2024. The studentships would be based in the Centre for Ageing Population Studies (CAPS) a friendly multi-disciplinary group of researchers in dementia across all career stages. The studentships would join a thriving group of 44 other PhD students in the Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health at UCL part of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care. Our exciting PhD community includes a peer led student support group, active seminar and journal club series, as well as annual student conferences. The students will also join a cohort of 15 students within the NIHR Three Schools programme which are spread across multiple universities in England. As members of the Three Schools, students will have access to a range of training opportunities, including webinars, masterclasses and conferences. Applicants are invited to apply for the programme and rank their preference of projects.

Project 1

Managing delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD), in primary and social care

Supervisors: Dr Nathan Davies, Prof Liz Sampson, Prof Kate Walters, Prof Carol Brayne, Prof Martin Knapp, Prof Dan Davis

Delirium is an acute and fluctuating neuropsychiatric syndrome, affecting attention, consciousness and cognition. Delirium is a major public health issue, particularly in frail older people with dementia, increasing cognitive decline and worsens quality of life. Delirium occurring in someone with dementia is referred to as delirium superimposed on dementia (DSD). DSD is often unrecognised by healthcare professionals and caregivers. This PhD will investigate how DSD is detected and managed in the community. The studentship will consist of three mixed methods studies which the student will refine, but examples include a literature review, descriptive quantitative study, and mixed methods case studies.

Contact: Dr Nathan Davies – n.m.davies@ucl.ac.uk

Project 2

How can primary and social care providers best support distance caregivers of people with dementia?

Supervisors: Dr Sarah Griffiths, Dr Nathan Davies, Dr Mike Clark

Distant care givers (DCGs) of people with dementia provide unpaid care to a relative/friend, from whom, for example, they live at a geographic distance. DCGs can experience high levels of carer strain and wish for better communication with primary and social care providers. The aim of this studentship is to develop guidance for a) primary and social care providers, enabling them to support DCGs of people with dementia, and b) DCGs, to support them in navigating their relationships with providers. Methods will include an evidence review, qualitative interviews and co-design workshops. The student will be supported by a supervisory team with a wealth of experience in primary and social care research, qualitative methods and co-design.

Contact: Dr Sarah Griffiths - s.a.griffiths@ucl.ac.uk 

Project 3

Decision aid for Parkinson’s Dementia (DECADE)

Supervisors: Prof Kate Walters, Dr Kumud Kantilal, Dr Nathan Davies

As dementia in people with Parkinson’s progresses, decisions are often left for carers to make. However, carers find making decisions stressful and challenging. This project aims to understand the complexity and context of decision-making among carers of people with Parkinson’s dementia and develop a prototype decision aid. Proposed methods include an evidence review, qualitative interviews with carers, focus groups/surveys with professions and stakeholder workshops to develop a prototype decision aid. The multi-professional supervisory team with expertise in primary care, social care, and public health will work with the student to develop their ideas and focus for the PhD.

Please send a CV and covering letter highlighting your skills and experience to study for a PhD and reasons for why you would like to study a PhD. Please rank in order of preference the PhD topics and explain why you would like to study these.

Interviews will be held in the morning of 9th April in person at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London.

Please send your applications by 5pm 21st March 2024 to Alice Pritchard: alice.pritchard@ucl.ac.uk

Click here for further information about these opportunities

This studentship covers the cost of tuition fees based on the UK (Home) rate.  Non-UK students can apply but will have to personally fund the difference between the UK (Home) rate and the overseas rate where they are not eligible for UK fee status.

NB: You will be asked about your likely fee status at the interview so we would advise you to contact the UCL Graduate Admissions Office for advice should you be unsure whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria for Home fee status.  Further information on Brexit and the definitions for fee status assessment can be found on the UCL website and also the UKCISA website (Higher Education: Definitions for fee status assessment).