Psychology PhD Studentship

Psychology Doctoral Research Scholarship - Investigating the neural underpinnings of individual variation in conditioned and motivated behavior (2019)

Doctoral Research Scholarship - 3.25 years stipend + UK/EU fees + research and training costs + Doctoral Tutor contract for teaching up to 165 hours per year for 3 years (paid in addition to the stipend)

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

Effective treatment options and long-lasting recovery from substance use disorders have been elusive because of the propensity of drug abusers to relapse into drug-seeking and -taking. The reinstatement of these behaviours is often precipitated by re-exposure to conditioned stimuli (CS), or cues, associated with drug use. Importantly, there is considerable individual variation in the degree to which cues exert motivational control over behaviour. Accordingly, the student’s research will address one of the following: 

1) Does variation in neurotransmission and intracellular signalling contribute to how strongly cues motivate behaviour? 

2) Can we develop new translational animal models of substance use disorder that reflect how people procure and take drugs, and how variation in these patterns of drug-use impact potential for relapse? 

Various techniques may be used to address these questions, including rodent behavioural procedures, fast-scan cyclic voltammetry, dendritic imaging, photometry, pharmacology, and biochemistry. 

Doctoral Tutor role: 
The successful candidate will also be offered a 3 year fixed term contract, as a Doctoral Tutor, to teach up to 165 hours per year (0.1FTE Grade 5.1 (currently £25,482 p.a. pro rata), covering contact time, preparation, and marking). Doctoral Tutors will begin teaching in the second term of their studies. They will be encouraged to study for a formal teaching accreditation (Associate of the Higher Education Academy), including enrolling on a ‘starting to teach’ module in the first term before they begin teaching. Candidates who demonstrate suitability for, and express interest in, the additional Doctoral Tutor role will be preferred. 



The successful applicant will be awarded a stipend for 3.25 years (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £14,777 p.a.). UK/EU PhD fees and research/training costs are also covered. 

The successful applicant will also be offered a 3 year fixed term contract, as a Doctoral Tutor, to teach up to 165 hours per year (0.1FTE Grade 5.1 (currently £25,482 p.a. pro rata), covering contact time, preparation, and marking). 

International students may apply but must fund the difference between the Home/EU fees and International Fees (approximately £16,000 per year).


• This award will only pay fees at the Home/EU rate. 
• Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline. 
• 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 celebrate and promote diversity, equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background. 

Number of scholarships available



10 March 2019 0:00 (GMT)

How to apply

• Please submit your application online at for the ’PhD in Psychology’ programme for September 2019. 
• In the ’Supervisor suggested by applicant’ section, please put ’Singer’ 
• In the ’Proposed source of funding’ section, please put ‘Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship’ 
• FAQs can be found in ’Applying for a PhD in Psychology at the University of Sussex for 2019 Entry’ at 

Candidates should provide: 
• A research proposal that outlines your knowledge of the research area, hypotheses that could be addressed in your PhD, and an outline of potential methods. Your answer should not exceed 2 pages including references, be set at minimum 10-font type with margins a minimum of 1cm. 
• Current degree transcript(s) with full details of performance on all completed courses. 
• Two academic references. 
• An up-to-date CV. 
• A document summarising any teaching experience you have and illustrating your suitability for a Doctoral Tutor role. 


Contact us

For queries with respect to the application process:  
To discuss the details of your research interests further, please contact Dr Bryan Singer:  



At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
10 March 2019 0:00 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: