Research opportunities in the School of Healthcare Sciences

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Healthcare Sciences and Bangor Institute for Health and Medical Research:

Research Centres

Research Groups

Bangor Institute for Health and Medical Research

Bangor University launched the Institute of Health and Medical Research in 2016 in order to build on our innovative research programme, providing an integrated platform for dedicated health-based research and postgraduate research work within the School of Healthcare Sciences. The new Bangor Institute for Health and Medical Research (BIHMR) advances an established foundation of research excellence: www.bangor.ac.uk/healthcaresciences/research/ref.php.en

The expertise embedded in the BIHMR focuses on five core research groups, representing themed activity and staff: www.bangor.ac.uk/healthcaresciences/research/groups.php.en These are the Dementia Services Development Unit (DSDU), Implement@BU, the North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health (NWORTH), the Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME) and the North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR). In this way, BIHMR provides a forum for a critical mass of academics from across different scientific and professional disciplines to work collaboratively, providing opportunities for interdisciplinary working in clinical and applied research. Particular areas of excellence that emerge from these groups focus on dementia, cancer and rehabilitation, as well as developing new methods for doing high quality research across a range of methodologies. Overall, the Institute facilitates interdisciplinary research that spans discovery in the laboratory through to research that solves complex health problems in the real world. In this way, BIHMR contributes to improvements in local health and healthcare, as well as making an impact across Wales, the United Kingdom and internationally.

Within the School of Healthcare Sciences the BIHMR offers a variety of exciting opportunities for engaging in a postgraduate research programme for PhD, MPhil or MSc by Research. It provides an excellent environment and training programme for postgraduate research students of health and medical research that enables personal and professional growth. The four research groups; Innovative Approaches and Methodologies, Ageing and Dementia, Rehabilitation and Cancer, represent a substantive reservoir of expertise and interests and potential areas of interest for postgraduate study is detailed in the 'Research Projects' tab, firstly representing internationally recognised expertise in innovative methodologies and approaches to health sciences relevant to a wide range of context, including Implementation science and complexity in trials, and secondly focused on the themed areas of dementia, rehabilitation and cancer.

Research Project Opportunities

Please note the research project opportunities detailed here are NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Candidates wishing to research any of the projects listed in this section should apply as follows:

  • International candidates requiring a pre-sessional English course will be enrolled on a Combined English / Study Skills and Research Course at the University before starting the PhD degree. The research proposal will be developed and written when enrolled on this course.
  • UK nationals or European and International candidates who have already reached the level of English required for entry should present a relevant research proposal when applying for admission.

Alternatively candidates may present a research proposal related to the research expertise & specialisms within the School. Please refer to the 'Apply' section for further details.

Ageing and Dementia Care

Supervisor: Prof. Bob Woods

T: +44 (0) 1248 383719 / b.woods@bangor.ac.uk

Dementia Services Development Unit (DSDU)

A range of projects are possible within the remit of Bangor’s Dementia Services Development Centre, which is active across a wide range of ageing and dementia research activities. These can be broadly categorised:

  • dementia care (including Alzheimer's disease, family care-giving and psychosocial interventions). Interventions that have been studied here with people with dementia include cognitive stimulation, life story books and creative arts interventions, with a view to understanding and enhancing quality of life.
  • maintaining function and well-being in later life. Theory-driven analyses of the longitudinal cohort data from the CFAS Wales study, involving 3500 people aged 65 and over are of particular interest. What are the risk factors for lower well-being?

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Cancer in primary care

Supervisor: Prof. Clare Wilkinson

T: +44 (0) 1978 726653 / E: c.wilkinson@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR)

 

People survive cancer for longer after treatment; but often suffer a raft of physical, psychological and social morbidity to the extent that this has become a new chronic disease area. PhD questions would involve designing and testing complex interventions for use in primary care settings to improve morbidity for cancer patients. Methods might include systematic reviews, qualitative interviews and pilot trials leading to pragmatic randomised trials in health service settings. The research could concentrate on various cancer.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Cancer in primary care

Supervisor: Prof. Richard Neal

T: +44 (0) 1978 726651 / E: r.neal@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR)

Timely diagnosis of cancer is important as it may lead to earlier stage disease and more effective treatment. However it remains a challenge in many cancers. There remain many unanswered questions regarding

  • The most effective ways to raise awareness of potential cancer symptoms, and empower patients to present these to their doctor
  • The most effective ways of educating doctors and developing tools to facilitate diagnosis
  • The most effective routes of referral and investigation

 Methods may include systematic reviews, secondary analysis of datasets, qualitative interviews and pilot trials leading to pragmatic randomised trials in health service settings. The research may be specific to one cancer, a group of cancers, or cancer more generically.

 

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Clinical trials

Supervisor: Professor Paul Brocklehurst

T: +44 (0) 1248 383218 / E: p.brocklehurst@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health (NWORTH)

My work is divided into two broad areas: trial methodology and dental public health. For the former, I am interested in ways of improving the implementation of research evidence generated from trials and how implementation research can improve the external validity and efficiency of trial design. In dental public health, most of my work to date has examined the potential for role-substitution in dentistry, looking at ways the dental work-force can be better designed to meet the public health challenges of the future. I am also involved in an evaluation of how different remuneration methods influence the behaviour of primary care clinicians in Northern Ireland. My final area of interest relates to how we manage the challenges of ageing on oral health and how we best design service provision for older people as they loose their independence.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Clinical trials

Supervisor: Dr. Zoë Hoare

T: +44 (0) 1248 388840/ E: z.hoare@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Organisation for Randomised Trials in Health (NWORTH)

My work and themes are based around the application of statistical methodology to pragmatic trials of complex interventions. This includes work around randomisation methodology, consideration of constructing composite outcome measures to reduce the issues of multiplicity within trials and methods to improves the efficiency of trials.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Dementia and family carers

Supervisor: Prof. Rhiannon Tudor Edwards & Dr Carys Jones

T: +44 (0) 1248 382483 / E: c.l.jones@bangor.ac.uk

Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME)

Dementia is now one of the leading causes of morbidity in older age. Family carers provide informal care allowing people with dementia to stay in their own home as long as is feasible. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence is realizing that when undertaking economic evaluations of interventions for people with dementia, it is important to factor in the impact on those caring for them too.   There is growing interest in how best to support informal carers of people with dementia, how to measure their health related quality of life, and where resources might best be placed in order to support them.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Exercise rehabilitation for chronic disease

Supervisor: Dr Nefyn H Williams

T: +44 (0) 1978 726074 / E: nefyn.williams@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR)

A large part of the disease burden managed in primary care is for chronic disease. Most patients with these conditions are physically deconditioned and addressing physical inactivity is an important part of their clinical management. However physical inactivity is neither assessed routinely nor addressed in a systematic fashion. Methods would fall into the MRC framework for evaluating complex interventions and would involve a variety of research methods. Reviews of the literature which could be systematic or realist and involve mixed methods, meta-analysis or novel methods such as network meta-analysis. Developing the intervention could involve surveys, qualitative research such as semi-structured interviews or focus groups, or secondary analysis of existing datasets. Testing the intervention in pilot randomised controlled trials prior to a definitive RCT and concurrent economic evaluation.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Health and well-being in later life

Supervisor: Dr Gill Windle

T: +44 (0) 1248 383968 / g.windle@bangor.ac.uk

Dementia Services Development Unit (DSDU)

In addition to the above, I have a special interest in resilience in later life, understanding how people can maintain well-being despite significant challenges, such as chronic illness, acquired disability and cognitive impairment. Questions to address include ‘Can resilience be promoted through an intervention, and if so, how? What strategies do people adopt to minimise the risk of serious health threats in later life? The second topic relates to creative/arts based interventions for people living with dementia. There are some significant challenges in how researchers design studies and measure outcomes associated with the potential positive impact these activities might have. There is a need for further theoretically informed research, to develop, adapt and test new approaches that can best capture any benefits.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Health economics of Mindfulness

Supervisor: Prof. Rhiannon Tudor Edwards

T: +44 (0) 1248 383712 / E: r.t.edwards@bangor.ac.uk

Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME)

Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MBCT) has been found to be effective and cost-effective in reducing the frequency of relapse of depression, used in conjunction with anti-depressant medication. As a way of promoting resilience, Mindfulness is being offered now in workplaces, schools and for certain patient groups within the NHS, e.g. cancer patients. Through our links with the Bangor Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, we can offer PhD research projects on the cost-effectiveness of Mindfulness in different settings and with different groups of people.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Implementation Science

Implementation Science

Supervisor: Jo Rycroft-Malone,

Implement@BU

T: +44 (0) 1248 383119 / E: j.rycroft-malone@bangor.ac.uk

My research programme centres on investigating and developing the area of ‘Implementation and Improvement Science’. This field is of increasing importance across a range of disciplines and seeks to research the practice and methods for closing the gap between evidence and what occurs in practice. My research involves a substantive programme of work that explores the theory, practice and utility of implementation science and its potential to transform the implementation of complex evidence in a range of practice environments. I have expertise and projects that focus on advancing the field of implementation science, utilising mixed methods and qualitative research, including case study, ethnography and realist enquiry.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Informal involvement in health among friends or family

Supervisor: Dr. Julia Hiscock

T: +44 (0) 1978 726649 / j.hiscock@bangor.ac.uk

Supervisor: Prof. Richard Neal

T: +44 (0) 1978 726651 / E: r.neal@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR)

Within medical sociology it is well known that on an everyday basis people interact informally about health with each other, totally outside of the formal health services. This informal role played by family and friends may be in providing support for the management or maintenance of others’ health. PhD questions could relate to social support, caring, the role of social networks in health, or other sociological questions about informal (lay) involvement in health among friends or family. Methods are likely to include qualitative methods. Data gathering could be through interviews or focus groups.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Interventions for musculoskeletal problems

Supervisor: Dr Nefyn H Williams

T: +44 (0) 1978 726074/ E: nefyn.williams@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR)

Musculoskeletal problems are common, debilitating and often under treated particularly in primary care. Methods would fall into the MRC framework for evaluating complex interventions and would involve a variety of research methods. Reviews of the literature which could be systematic or realist and involve mixed methods, meta-analysis or novel methods such as network meta-analysis. Developing the intervention could involve surveys, qualitative research such as semi-structured interviews or focus groups, or secondary analysis of existing datasets. Testing the intervention in pilot randomised controlled trials prior to a definitive RCT and concurrent economic evaluation.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Parental experiences of caregiving, mindfulness, first-hand accounts and other representations of long-term conditions and disability

Supervisor: Dr Jaci Huws

T: +44 (0) 1248 383155 / E: j.huws@bangor.ac.uk

My research interests include parental experiences of caring for a child with complex needs, mindfulness and, first-hand accounts and other representations of long-term conditions or disability. In particular my research centres on aspects of Health Psychology, Child Health (Health Sciences), Autism Spectrum Disorders, Autism Spectrum Treatment, Clinical and Research Applications of Complexity Sciences in Healthcare, and Psychology. Most of my research involves the use of qualitative methods and methodologies (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), Discourse Analysis, Grounded Theory), and I am an IPA methodology (UK) Regional/International Contact.

 

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Peer support and coaching

Supervisor: Dr Sion Williams,

T: +44 (0) 1248 388451 / E: sion.williams@bangor.ac.uk

Supervisor: Dr Chris Burton

T: +44 (0) 1248 382556 / E: c.burton@bangor.ac.uk

Implement@BU

Models of peer support and coaching are increasingly being developed within health and social care as led-led intervention. Our work focus on the development of peer support models in community and hospital contexts, with a particular interest in people living with the effects of stroke. Drawing on insights from transformational leadership theory and the principles of coaching we examine ways of developing theoretically-grounded and effective models of peer support and coaching intervention.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Positive approaches towards mental health

Supervisor: Dr Marjorie Lloyd

T: +44 (0) 1248 383139 / E: m.lloyd@bangor.ac.uk

My research interest is in mental health and nursing and improving and developing services towards more recovery focused health promoting interventions. Mental health research often falls into the realm of narrative enquiry listening to the stories of people who use services and analysing them to improve nursing practice. Developing strong links between service users, their carers and education and practice is therefore an important part of any research project or service development in mental health service provision. My research methodology therefore follows an interpretive ontological approach using case based narrative methods.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Statistical Methods and Health Economics alongside pragmatic trials

Supervisor: Prof. Dyfrig Hughes

T: +44 (0) 1248 382950 / E: d.a.hughes@bangor.ac.uk

Supervisor: Dr Catrin Plumpton

T: +44 (0) 1248 382857 / E: c.o.plumpton@bangor.ac.uk

Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation (CHEME)

Research opportunities include the development and application of methods concerning trial-based economic evaluations, including measures of health outcome, resource use data collection instruments, analysis and mechanism-based economic modelling.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Stroke Rehabilitation and implementation of evidence

Supervisor: Dr Chris Burton

T: +44 (0) 1248 382556 / E: c.burton@bangor.ac.uk

Implement@BU

My work concentrates on the generation and use of evidence in health care, mostly in the field of stroke. I have a significant programme of research into stroke rehabilitation and life after stroke. Current funding for evidence generation supports a programme of research into the effectiveness of a range of therapeutic clinical interventions; the first discrete choice experiment of patient preferences for community; and the first empirical investigation of clinical decision-making at the interface of end of life care in acute stroke. Research into the use of evidence in clinical practice is pursued at organisational level, including the role of organisational partnerships as catalysts for implementation. I also have a particular interest in how individual clinicians can be enabled to support evidence use through novel interventions, including patient involvement and the use of aesthetics in education and training.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Using routinely collected health service data for research

Supervisor: Dr Nefyn H Williams

T: +44 (0) 1978 726074 / E: nefyn.williams@bangor.ac.uk

North Wales Centre for Primary Care Research (NWCPCR)

Large amounts of data are routinely collected by health service staff on patients who are participating in trials. Such data gives added value to that collected from patient completed questionnaires. Methods of collecting this data are being developed but

there is a need to review the use of these methods in trials and to develop them further to improve the quality of information obtained and to reduce the burden on trial participants. One example of this is the collection of routinely collected health service use data for use in economic evaluations alongside RCTs. Another example is in the collection of routine data to explore novel ways of delivering primary care in general medical practices run directly from the health board and using a mix of medical, nursing, pharmacy and therapy staff to provide general medical services.

Please note the research project opportunity detailed here is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study

Entry requirements

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email international@bangor.ac.uk

Fees & Scholarships

Please take a look at our Fees & Scholarships pages for details.

How to apply

Step 1 – Select your research topic

You have three options with regards the selection of your research topic;

Option 1

Prepare your Research Proposal, based on the research expertise at the School.

Option 2

Select a research project from the Directory for PhD opportunities (Also available as a PDF document). Enter the name of the project and the name of the supervisor on the application form. The ‘Research Project’ route is delivered in two parts:

  • Part 1: A Combined English / Study Skills and Research Proposal course. This is when you will write a research proposal based on the selected research project. Duration is up to 1 year, dependent on the English language level.
  • Part 2: The PhD programme.

Option 3

Occasionally, the University advertises PhD Studentships. Studentships are funded / sponsored PhD placements which cover tuition fees and sometimes living costs, usually for a period of 3 years. They are offered for specific research projects. Studentships are advertised on the University website and Academic Schools’ websites and there is normally a deadline for submitting applications. The terms and conditions of Studentships vary and may become available at different times of the year.

If you are applying for a Studentship, enter the name of the studentship on the application form

Step 2 – Prepare your documentation

You will need to gather the following documentation to present with your application:

  • Bachelor degree certificate and transcript
  • Masters degree certificate and transcript (if undertaken)
  • English language test certificate (if undertaken)
  • Academic reference / support letter
  • Confirmation of funding / sponsorship (if applicable)
  • Passport
  • Research Proposal (if you are NOT selecting a project from the Directory of PhD opportunities or applying for a Studentship). Click here for guidance about how to write a good research proposal.

Step 3 – Apply Online

International students have two options when applying;

Apply online

Option 1 – Apply online yourself

Option 2 – Apply online with the help of a recruitment agent

  • If you would like help in completing and managing your application you may seek help from one of our authorised representatives or agents. To see a list of our representatives for your country please visit the Country pages.

Application advice

Applications for research degrees differ substantially from applications for taught courses such as Masters degrees. Although the application form is the same, the way in which you approach your application can make all the difference.

Applying for a self-funded or externally-funded Research Degree

As with all of our courses, you can apply to fund yourself through a PhD/MPhil at Bangor, or you may already have sourced external funding (e.g. from your employer or government), and we warmly welcome all expressions of interest in so doing. However, rather than simply filling in an application form, there are a few steps that you can take in order that your application stands a greater chance of being successful.

All PhD/MPhil students require supervision from at least one academic member of staff at the University, and if you are considering a PhD/MPhil, you will already have a good idea of the specific area or theme that you want to research. In order to ascertain that we hold sufficient expertise in your chosen topic to provide supervision, you should first look at our staff pages. This will provide you with a breakdown of each staff member’s area of academic focus.

Once you have found a member of staff whose research interests broadly accord with your own, you should contact them directly with a concise research ‘brief’ that outlines your proposal and ask whether s/he would consider supervising your project. If the academic expresses his/her interest, you may then further discuss your ideas and develop a full PhD/MPhil research proposal.

At this stage, you should formally apply online for the PhD/MPhil programme. You should fill the form out thoroughly, including academic references, your research proposal and the name of the academic member of staff under whose supervision you intend the research to be conducted.

Your research proposal

A good research proposal is essential if you are applying for a PhD or MPhil. The proposal should include:

  1. Overview – give a brief abstract of the subject area you wish to research and include information on the key theoretical, policy or empirical debates that will be addressed.
  2. Planning – you need to demonstrate that you are aware of the research timescales and have a plan in place to conduct your work. You need to demonstrate that the research is manageable in the given time period.
  3. Literature references – you need to show that your planned area of research has not been studied before. Provide references to key articles and texts relevant to your area of study.
  4. Methodology – you need to show that you are aware of the methodological tools available and have identified which ones would be suitable for your research.

When do I Apply?

You can apply at any time of the year.

It is possible to start a PhD degree at any point in the year at most academic Schools, subject to agreement with the supervisor.

We advise that you submit your application in enough time to:

  • organise funding
  • undertake an English course
  • obtain documents such as transcripts and references required for meeting the conditions of the offer
  • apply for a visa
  • make accommodation arrangements

Further information

Admission related queries

If you need any assitance in completing your application, contact the International Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email international@bangor.ac.uk