PhD in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience: Understanding cognitive mechanisms of loneliness in traumatic brain injury

Dr. Richard Ramsey and Dr. Rudi Coetzer

Qualification type: PhD        

Location: School of Psychology, Bangor University 

Closes: 1st February 2018

Funding amount: The studentship covers the full cost of tuition fees for PhD students, plus a maintenance stipend of £14553 per annum for 3 years and a research allowance of £750

Hours: Full Time or Part Time, commencing an October 2018

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the School of Psychology, Bangor University, which is supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales. The project will involve working in the Social Brain in Action (SoBA) laboratory within the School of Psychology, as well as the North Wales Brain Injury Service.


Rationale: The mechanisms that underpin the experience of loneliness in typical individuals, as well as following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), are not well known. Furthermore, interventions that are aimed at reducing loneliness are not grounded in a mechanistic framework and the outcomes are inconsistent. Currently, therefore, there is very little understanding of how cognitive mechanisms contribute to the experience of loneliness in general, as well as following TBI.

Aim: The current project will establish the social and cognitive mechanisms that underpin loneliness in typical individuals as well as following TBI, before developing an intervention to reduce loneliness in TBI. 

Key research questions:
(1) How does the experience of loneliness impact social and cognitive mechanisms in typical individuals and following TBI?
(2) To what extent and in what ways does training socio-cognitive skills alter the perception of loneliness in TBI patients?

SoBA Lab

The project is part of ongoing research in the Social Brain in Action Laboratory (SoBA Lab), which explores the cognitive and brain systems that underpin our ability to understand the actions and mental states of other people. The SoBA Lab is an international research group housed in the School of Psychology at Bangor University, which offers access to outstanding facilities for Social and Cognitive Neuroscience. Crucially, the project is collaborative and will involve working under the joint supervision of Dr Rudi Coetzer who is the director of the North Wales Brain Injury Service. Furthermore, Bangor is situated in a beautiful region of North Wales close to Snowdonia National Park, which provides a wonderful natural backdrop to professional activities.


Applicants are expected to have a first or upper second-class degree in experimental psychology or neuroscience and a relevant Masters qualification. 
The applicant should be highly motivated and creative with strong written and oral communication skills, and preferably have experience working in clinical settings, ideally within a neurorehabilitation service.

Further information

For more details on research in the SoBA Lab, see here: Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr Richard Ramsey,

Residency requirements

This studentship is primarily aimed at UK and EU students. However, those who are interested, but are from outside of the UK/EU, should contact Dr Ramsey to discuss the conditions for the funding of international students.

Application requirements

All applications submitted on Bangor’s online system must include a current CV, a 1-page cover letter explaining their motivation to apply for one of these PhD positions, and a 3-5 page research proposal covering a topic relevant to the laboratory’s research in this domain. Applications that do not include all three of these elements will not be evaluated.

General information

PhD students are expected to contribute to teaching in the department. The initial appointment for both positions will be for a period of one year, with an extension of 2 years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility.

General enquiries

For administrative advice about how to apply and eligibility, please contact Everil McQuarrie:   

The online application form is available here: