“Starting Well” PhD Scholarships - 2 available

Applied Research Collaboration "Starting Well" PhD Scholarships co-funded by University of Sussex and National Institute for Health Research (2020)

Doctoral Research Scholarship - 3 year stipend + UK/EU fees + research and training costs

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

The School of Psychology, University of Sussex is offering two PhD scholarships (3 years full-time) commencing  September/October 2020. These studentships are funded through the NIHR Kent, Surrey and Sussex Applied Research Collaboration (KSS ARC) which aims to develop applied health and social care research across the region for the benefit of patients and the public.

The PhD scholarships are linked to the KSS ARC youth mental health theme (“Starting Well”) led by Professor Fowler and involving other key faculty in the School of Psychology.  We welcome applications from prospective students interested in the below topics: 

  • Identification of early mental health risk indicators related to school functioning and development of relevant screening strategies.
  • Evaluation of new and established school-based mental health intervention models.
  • Evaluation of novel detection and intervention strategies for community-based youth mental health services, with a particular focus on social connectedness and the use of digital and peer support formats.


The research will involve mixed-methods approaches, including co-production and formative qualitative studies with young service users, peers and families identified through schools and youth service settings.  A particular interest is in developing an understanding of the needs of young people and their families in neglected coastal and rural communities. 

Doctoral Tutor role: 

The successful candidate will also be encouraged to apply for 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). This pay is in addition to the Scholarship. 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. 



The successful applicant will be awarded a stipend for 3 years (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £15,009 p.a.). UK/EU PhD fees and research/training costs are also covered. 


  • 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



23 February 2020 23:59 (GMT)

How to apply

  • Please read our Psychology PhD FAQS before you start your application.
  • Please submit your application online for 'PhD in Psychology' for entry in September 2020.
  • In the 'Supervisor suggested by applicant' section of your application, please put 'Prof David Fowler'.
  • In the 'Proposed source of funding' section of your application, please put 'KSS ARC'

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. The research proposal should be approximately 1,000 to 1,500 words in length and not exceed 3 pages, including references. It should be set at a minimum of 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.

Funding partners

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is the nation's largest funder of health and care research and provides the people, facilities and technology that enables research to thrive. 

NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support applied health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations and local health and care systems.

The NIHR ARC KSS is one of 15 ARCs across England, part of a £135 million investment by the NIHR to improve the health and care of patients and the public.

 About ARCs

 Each NIHR ARC is made up of local providers of NHS services, local providers of care services, NHS commissioners, local authorities, universities, private companies and charities. These collaborations work together to conduct high quality, generalisable, applied health and care research that addresses the specific health or care issues in their region.

NIHR ARCs also act to close the second translational gap and increase the rate at which research findings are implemented into practice.

The 15 ARCs work collaboratively to address national research priorities, with individual ARCs providing national leadership in their areas of expertise.

About the NIHR

NIHR's mission is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. The NIHR was established in 2006 and is primarily funded by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Working in partnership with the NHS, universities, local government, other research funders, patients and the public, the NIHR delivers and enables world-class research that transforms people’s lives, promotes economic growth and advances science.




Contact us

For queries with respect to the application process: psychologyphd-enquiries@sussex.ac.uk 

To discuss the details of your research interests further, please contact Prof David Fowler



Deadline: Sunday 23 February 2020 (23:59)



At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
23 February 2020 23:59 (GMT)


The award is available to people from these specific countries: