Psychology PhD - Start date 11 May 2020

Psychology Doctoral Research Scholarship - Infant Vision and Visual Aesthetics (2020)

Doctoral Research Scholarship - 3 years and 4 months 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

PhD studentship in developmental vision science supervised by Professor Anna Franklin

The Project:

Principles that guide adults’ perception and aesthetic appreciation of art, abstract patterns and natural scenes have been identified (see Palmer, Schloss & Sammartino, 2013).  This PhD will investigate infants’ visual preferences to establish whether these principles have roots in infant perception. Infant eye-movements will be analysed to identify the contribution of features such as colour and luminance, spatial composition and natural image statistics to infant visual preferences.  The PhD will also investigate the neural correlates of visual preference in infancy using methods such as EEG.  The PhD will be conducted in the Sussex Baby Lab supervised by Professor Anna Franklin, in collaboration with Etta Loves who produce products which aim to be optimised for infants’ immature vision

Doctoral Tutor role: 

In addition to the stipend, you 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. You 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 years and 4 months (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £15,009 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 £25,941 p.a. pro rata), covering contact time, preparation, and marking). 


  • 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.
  • Only full-time students can be accepted.
  • International students may apply but must fund the difference between Home/EU fees and Overseas fees (approximately £18,000 in 20/21) themselves.
  • 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



25 March 2020 23:59 (GMT)

How to apply

  • In the 'Supervisor suggested by applicant' section of your application, please put 'Profressor Anna Franklin'.
  • In the 'Proposed source of funding' section of your application, please put 'Joint funded Psychology and Etta Loves Doctoral Studentship'.

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.
  • A document summarising any teaching experience you have and illustrating your suitability for a Doctoral Tutor role. 
  • International students who are liable to pay overseas fees should also upload a document detailing their plan to cover the difference between home and overseas fees. This fee difference is £16,423 in 19/20.



Funding partners

Contact us

For queries with respect to the application process:

For informal discussion and to request further details about the project, please email Professor Anna Franklin



Deadline: Wednesday 25 March 2020 (23:59)

Interviews (in person or via Skype): 1 April 2020

Start date: 11 May 2020


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
25 March 2020 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: