GroundsWell Project: PhD Studentship
This fully funded 3-year PhD project will explore new and innovative ways of capturing individuals’ use and perceptions of UGBS and related environmental exposures. Successful candidates will be jointly based in the Schools of Health in Social Science and Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh and will take advantage of being part of a large and thriving postgraduate community across both schools.
This fully funded 3-year PhD project will explore new and innovative ways of capturing individuals’ use and perceptions of UGBS and related environmental exposures. Successful candidates will be jointly based in the Schools of Health in Social Science and Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh and will take advantage of being part of a large and thriving postgraduate community across both schools. The PhD is designed to run alongside the £7.1M UKRI funded GroundsWell project that seeks to identify how we can use urban green and blue spaces to reduce health inequalities. The appointed candidate will join the team and benefit from working alongside a larger team of researchers across the UK.
This 3-year PhD project will explore innovative ways of capturing individuals’ use and perceptions of urban green and blue spaces (UGBS) and related environmental exposures. We know that spending time in and around UGBS is beneficial for health and wellbeing. It provides opportunities to spend time in natural environments, offers spaces for regular exercise and physical activity and as venues for sports and other outdoor activities.
Policy interventions targeting UGBS are a potentially important tool for improving population health, reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and narrowing inequalities in health and wellbeing. However, not all UGBS is made equal and there are inequalities in availability of local, high-quality, safe and secure UGBS. Furthermore, data on greenspace quality is sparse and we lack understanding of how individuals perceptions of UGBS quality matter when examining potential improvements in health and wellbeing.
Recent advances in mobile applications and wearable sensor technology together with citizen science approaches offer a promising avenue to start to address this. The University of Edinburgh is leading the rollout of sensor communication networks in the Edinburgh City region and this PhD project will leverage these opportunities. It will explore how citizen science approaches can help us understand the quality of UGBS and how this influences how people use and access these spaces. Within the project, there is considerable scope for the successful candidate to shape the programme of research but example activities might include:
- Use of low-cost mobile devices (e.g. GPS, accelerometers) to capture key indicators of participant activities in UGBS and related health and wellbeing indicators.
- Use of sensors to measure key exposures (e.g. urban noise and poor air quality) in and outside greenspace environments.
- Working with existing mobile applications such as the “OurOutdoors” app and other social media data sources to capture comparable subjective perceptions of greenspace environments and wellbeing.
- Development of innovative methods for assessment of greenspace quality including the use of both primary and secondary data and objective and subjective measures.
- Use citizen science principles to develop interactive tools and games to encourage active engagement with UGBS.
The PhD will be jointly supervised by Prof. Ruth Jepson and Dr. Tom Clemens, will be based jointly at the School of Health in Social Science and the School of Geosciences, and be part of the UK wide GroundsWell consortium of researchers.
Within the University of Edinburgh the student will have access to the wide range of research methods courses available to PhD students to meet their learning needs. The University of Edinburgh is one of the leading Universities in the world, and the School of Health in Social Science offers a research-rich environment that specialises in research capacity development through doctoral and post-doctoral education and opportunities.
This Studentship is for 3 years. This will cover a stipend of £15,500 per annum and University fees. Funding will cease at 3 years or on submission of the PhD thesis, whichever is earlier.
The PhD programme will start September 2022.
Both Stages must be completed by 13th June 2022, 11.59pm
- A good honours degree (First-Class Honours or Upper Second-Class Honours) in a relevant subject area (e.g., Public Health, Epidemiology, Geography or other relevant social science).
- Background in quantitative and statistical analysis and data science.
- Applicants must have applied or plan on applying to the PhD in Health in Social Science.
- Masters degree in a related disciple.
- Some background or experience in one or more topics/disciplines of computer science, engineering, informatics or design.
Application to this Studentship is a two stage process – you must have carried out both stages by the deadline to be considered for the funding. If you are having any difficulty with your submission, have queries about the application process, or wish to check that your application has been received please contact our Research Admissions Administrator at PGRAdmissions.Health@ed.ac.uk; 0131 651 5144 before the deadline.
Please also complete the online application system for the PhD in Health in Social Science (https://www.ed.ac.uk/health/subject-areas/counselling/postgraduate-research/health-in-social-science/apply) by the deadline. You will be asked to provide your degree certificate(s); degree transcript(s); references and other documents. For further information please refer to: https://www.ed.ac.uk/health/subject-areas/counselling/postgraduate-research/health-in-social-science.
Applications will only be considered if the online application, CV and covering letter have been submitted by the deadline.
Applicants should expect outcomes on their applications by mid-July
Prof. Ruth Jepson- firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr Tom Clemens – email@example.com