Collaborative (CASE) Studentships- student applicants

LISS DTP’s Collaborative (CASE) Studentship competitions promote partnerships between social scientists at King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College and end-user organisations (public or private or third sector ‘partner institutions’).  A CASE studentship is a PhD studentship in which the student enhances their training by working closely with the non-academic partner in the development of their research project. They are a great way to initiate longer-term partnerships and to ensure the ‘impact’ of doctoral research.

In December 2016, LISS DTP closed its first competition for CASE studentships.  The project proposal and partnership must be initially set up by an academic from one of LISS DTP’s partner institutions.  The CASE competition will run on a yearly basis for the duration of LISS DTP, with applications launching in September and closing in late November.

Six proposals were funded for the 2017-18 academic year, with studentship funding starting in October 2017.  These studentships will cover tuition fees plus a monthly stipend.  There will also be opportunities to apply for additional funding in aid of the student’s training development and research activity.  There are a mix of +3 (PhD only) and 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) opportunities and represent some of the broad range of interdisciplinary social research themes being investigated by LISS DTP staff and students.  Five proposals are currently recruiting students, with an application deadline of 12 April 2017, 17:00 GMT.

Students applying for CASE studentships must meet the ESRC eligibility guidelines in terms of UK/EU residency status and academic qualifications.

More details about each project can be seen below.  If you are interested in applying, please send the following information to by 12 April 2017, 17:00 GMT.

  • a completed ESRC LISS DTP Collaborative (CASE) application form
  • a copy of your CV
  • 2 academic references, or 1 academic and 1 professional reference (these should be sent directly to by your referees)
  • copies of transcripts for all relevant degrees

Academic Lead: Prof John Polak, Imperial College

Co-supervisor: Dr Jacek Pawlak, Imperial College

Partners: Cisco Systems & Transport for Greater Manchester

Studentship type: +3 (3 years PhD funding).  You should hold a relevant Master’s degree to apply for this studentship.  Please see text above for eligibility guidance.

The rapid development of new mobile devices and omnipresent connectivity has led to the increasing decoupling of work (and other activities) from specific locations. Cultures of work have emerged, especially strong among knowledge workers, that exploit non-traditional settings, including public spaces and transport modes, with the aim of improving productivity and well-being by the better alignment of tasks to productive times and spaces. While social science has amassed a significant body of descriptive evidence relating to these practices and their productivity and well-being implications, this knowledge remains largely detached from the quantitative and predictive approaches used in the appraisal and evaluation of digital and physical infrastructure investments. The aim of this CASE studentship, which will be undertaken in collaboration with Cisco Systems and Transport for Greater Manchester, is to bridge this gap and develop new ways of embedding qualitative and quantitative understandings of the impacts of digitisation and connectivity on productivity and well-being into the quantitative frameworks used for infrastructure appraisal and evaluation. The research will involve collaboration with Cisco’s innovation team (Cisco CREATE) and Transport for Greater Manchester on a set of case studies including the UK’s largest Internet of Things City Demonstrator project, CityVerve, in Manchester.

Academic Lead: Prof Devyani Sharma, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisors: Dr. Esther de Leeuw, Jonnie Robinson (British Library)

Partner: The British Library

Studentship type: 1+3 (1 year MA Linguistics + 3 year PhD).  Please see eligibility guidance above.

This studentship involves collaboration between the Department of Linguistics at Queen Mary, University of London (top-ranked in REF2014 and RAE2008) and the British Library. The project will compile a diachronic corpus of sound recordings from the historic holdings of the British Library Sound Archive, an unparalleled collection of natural British speech spanning over a century. The corpus design will aim for a balanced selection across region, register, and demographic factors while maximising time depth. Using this unique corpus, the project will investigate a fundamental theoretical challenge in the study of language change: What is the relative importance of linguistic factors, frequency, and social factors in changes observed in British English over time? This question has been difficult to address fully due to the lack of audio archives with sufficient time depth. Recent historical corpora have begun to remedy this, with some unexpected findings regarding the role of frequency in phonetic change (Hay et al. 2015), intensifying the debate over the relative role of frequency, among other factors, in large-scale dialect change (Labov 2010; Kiparsky 2016). A substantial diachronic corpus will also permit deeper investigation of related themes such as vernacular stability, social factors in change (e.g. age, demographics, gender, class), and co-variation in change. As this is a 1+3 studentship, the student and the supervisory team will refine the scope of the project during the first year. Alongside a range of research expertise, the successful candidate will acquire expertise in archival and library sciences and experience working in a major public institution. The project will also incorporate public engagement activities including reports to schools, to the British Library, and to the general public.

Academic Lead: Prof Jane Sandall, King’s College London

Supervisory Team:  Dr Euan Sadler, Professor Nick Sevdalis, Dr Claire Steves

Partners: Health Innovation Network South London, Age UK Lambeth, Age UK Lewisham & Southwark

Studentship type: +3 (3 years PhD funding).  You should hold a relevant Master’s degree to apply for this studentship.  Please see text above for eligibility guidance.

Frail older people commonly experience complex health and social care needs and difficulties receiving care in a coordinated manner. Integrated care pathways (ICPs) for frail older people have been proposed, which integrate health and social care delivered by multidisciplinary teams along a coordinated pathway. However, there has been limited social science research focusing on a critical understanding of the role, value and implications of ICPs from different stakeholder perspectives, and the social, organisational, politico-economic and historical contexts shaping their emergence, development and implementation in practice. This PhD study uses an ethnographic approach and draws on social science theory to explore these issues in the context of ICPs for frail older people in Lambeth and Southwark, South London. Methods will include analysis of policy documents, observations of care practices with a sample of frail older people and their family members as they navigate the health and care system, analysis of care records, interviews with participants and professionals involved in their care, pathway mapping, and stakeholder engagement meetings using co-design methodology. Findings will inform the development of clearer pathways and a framework to facilitate the implementation of ICPs to improve quality of care and outcomes for frail older people. Dissemination and knowledge exchange activities will be through peer reviewed publications, conferences, service user and patient organisations, care professional networks, local provider groups and social media.

You can view a longer project description here- Sandall_CASE_ProjectDescrip.

Academic Lead: Prof Armand Leroi, Imperial College

Co-supervisors: Dr Tobias Blanke, King’s College London, George Wright, Head of Internet Research & Future Services (BBC)

Partner: BBC Research & Development

Studentship type: 1+3 (Master’s + PhD) or +3 (PhD only).  See eligibility guidance above.  To apply for a +3 degree, you must have a relevant Master’s degree.  Relevant Master’s degrees for 1+3 candidates will be discussed with applicants; an example programme is the MA Digital Culture & Society at KCL.

This project will investigate the forces that shape pop music, with the goal of understanding how producers – the people who make pop music; gatekeepers – the people who sell and distribute it; and consumers — the people who buy, or at least listen to it, interact to shape its evolution.  The approach will be highly quantitative, proposing to measure the musical qualities of three corpora of music, each of which consists of tens of thousands of songs, to estimate of what kind of music people are buying, what the nation’s primary gatekeeper – Radio 1 – is promoting, and what Britain’s musicians are making.  By examining how these three corpora co-evolve, it will be possible to test hypotheses about the causal relationships between them. This project is a collaboration between three groups. From Kings Digital Humanities (Blanke) there is expertise in the sociology of media; from Imperial Data Science (Leroi) there is expertise in analytic methods; from the BBC (Wright) there is expertise in music, its measurement, and a vast amount of data.
The BBC will add immensely to the value of the student’s training in several ways.  They are offering generous access to staff, in-house resources, vast amounts of data.  More importantly, the project offers the student a chance to work in the central R&D laboratories of the national broadcaster and interact with producers from the nation’s pre-eminent music radio station, Radio 1.  It is expected that the student will spend a great deal of time at R&D’s Central labs, which is a semi-academic environment.

Academic Lead: Prof Alison Blunt, Queen Mary University of London

Co-supervisor: Prof Alastair Owens, Queen Mary University of London

Partner: Eastside Community Heritage

Studentship type: 1+3 (MRes Geography + 3-year PhD)

Despite the growing interest in the connections between home, migration and the city, little work has engaged with experiences of home and migration in relation to the suburbs and, in particular, the interplay between historical internal migration from the inner-city and contemporary international migration. This intergenerational research project will examine the layered histories and experiences of home, migration and belonging through an in-depth study of the Harold Hill estate in Havering. In collaboration between QMUL and Eastside Community Heritage – and also affiliated to The Geffrye Museum of the Home via the Centre for Studies of Home – the research will explore (i) the histories of migration from inner-city London to Harold Hill from the late 1950s; (ii) new migration patterns to Harold Hill over the last 20 years; and (iii) the impact of these overlapping migratory patterns on home and belonging on the housing estate and within the wider suburban landscape. The research will build on pilot research at Harold Hill conducted by ECH.

Collaborative outputs beyond the thesis will include a collection of oral history and visual material for deposit at ECH; the design of intergenerational school sessions focused on home, migration and belonging; and the development of learning resources for use in school sessions and work with adults of different generations and heritages.

Academic Lead: Dr Thalia Eley, King’s College London

Co-supervisor: Dr Andrea Danese, King’s College London

Partner: MindWave

Studentship type: 1+3 (Master’s + PhD)

This studentship has already recruited a candidate.

Anxiety and depression are highly debilitating disorders, increasingly seen in our society. The Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) initiative provides evidence based treatments for these disorders in a primary care setting.  Many individuals show lower symptom levels following treatment, but ~50% do not show a significant improvement, and outcomes in terms of social functioning are poorly understood. The majority of predictors of psychological treatment response have only been explored within clinical trials. For example, a history of childhood trauma is related to outcome in clinical trials, but we have recently shown it relates to relapse following IAPT treatment. It is possible this risk factor is associated with outcome due to biases in thinking about social situations. Finally, we have shown that genetic factors provide a useful additional level of information when exploring predictors of outcome of psychological therapy.
Our study examines predictors of outcome in IAPT. Specifically, we will explore whether (i) social risks (e.g. history of child trauma) predict outcome; (ii) social functioning is a useful measure of outcome; (iii) biases in thinking account for the association between history of trauma and outcome; and (iv) genetic factors can be used in addition to clinical measures to predict outcome.
The project will involve a large-scale study using a web-based recruitment platform and online data collection. Mindwave are developing the recruitment platform, in collaboration with the PI (Prof Eley), and Dr Gerome Breen, who leads the NIHR funded BioResource at IoPPN.  Mindwave will provide considerable training to the student in the use of online and web-based technology.