4-year PhD Studentship in Palliative Care for Children and Young People

We are pleased to be able to offer a PhD studentship in Palliative Care for Children and Young People [CYP]. The Lebedev 4-year PhD Studentship, funded by the Raisa Gorbachev Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care, is available within the Louis Dundas Centre for Children's Palliative Care [LDC], UCL Institute of Child Health [ICH] (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ich/research-ich/palliative-care) commencing October 2014 under the supervision of Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner (LDC) and Dr. Ellen M. Henderson (LDC) working with Dr Louise Jones (Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Unit [MCPCRU]). 

The purpose of this doctorate is to examine the way in which young people with cancer use the internet in relation to their care and to consider the implications for clinical and research practice and policy. The last 25-30 years have seen major changes in the care of young people. Increasingly the National Health Service and other organisations are seeking to use the internet and its associated technologies to provide and augment care to people of all ages, but particularly young people. To date few of these new directions in research and care have included the provision of care to children or young people with palliative care needs. 

Young people in particular, healthy or otherwise, use the internet to develop and sustain relationships and to create a narrative about their lives and problems. It may also be used to keep in touch with normality and with friends and family and to find out more about treatment. The ethics of research using the internet and the particular challenges of doing so with children and young people remains under-developed. The first part of this study will involve reviewing the current literature and practice on research with children and young people using the internet with a view to assessing how the internet could be used as a platform for researching these populations or indeed how to provide care through online platforms for young people (16-25 years) with palliative care needs in a safe and secure fashion. 

The second part of the work will depend on the findings of the first, and the interests and capabilities of the person appointed. In general in the social sciences, the strongest doctoral studies derive from the intellectual interests and drive of the student. The initial work, while itself an important aspect of the doctorate with a concrete output, will also provide time and space for the development of research questions which draw on the lay expertise of young cancer patients as well as the current research literature. 

To date the Louis Dundas Centre has four broad research streams, symptom management, exploration of the illness experience, decision-making and service development. We expect that this PhD will sit across all of these research streams depending on the project and amplify existing work going on the in the centre. 

The work will be supervised by Professor Myra Bluebond-Langner (an anthropologist) and Dr. Ellen M. Henderson (a psychologist) supplemented by an advisory group of experts in ethics and the internet, childhood studies and clinicians. 

We welcome applications from students with a first class honours or upper second class degree in a discipline relevant to this study. Preference will be given to those with a master's degree in a related discipline who have a strong interest in the health and social care of children and young people. An interest in digital and social media and or experience with children and young people is desired but not an essential criteria for this PhD studentship. 

This studentship provides a unique opportunity to work with pioneers in the field of paediatric palliative care research and practice, to contribute to evidence base in palliative care for CYP and to develop the skills necessary to become a leading researcher in the field. 

The student will receive a starting stipend of £18,359 per annum as well as the cost of tuition fees for UK / EU students (applicants from non-EU countries can apply but will have to personally fund the difference between the home / EU rate and the overseas rate). 

If you know of anyone who might be interested in applying please ask them to email Juliet Fulcher, Unit Administrator, Louis Dundas Centre for Children's Palliative Care j.fulcher@ucl.ac.uk with: 
  1. A cover letter outlining why they are applying for this studentship 
  2. A current CV detailing the contact details of two referees and existing or expected qualifications 
  3. A short proposal for this project 

Deadline for receipt of applications: 4th April 2014 
Interviews to be held: TBC 
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