Funded PhD: Psycho-social impact of enteral tube feeding on people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their carers

Applications are invited from candidates who are interested in applying to study for a PhD in the Institute of Health & Welfare Research at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.  The Institute brings together interdisciplinary research within biomedical science, health care professions and social sciences.  The PhD studentships are aligned with the strategic research themes of the institute; Cardiovascular & Metabolic Disease, Environmental & Occupational Health and Mental & Neurological Health.
The following PhD project is available:

Psycho-social impact of enteral tube feeding on people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and their carers (IHW16)

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a doctoral candidate to contribute to research in the field of learning disabilities. The primary aim of the project is to capture the perspectives of health care professionals, carers (both familial and paid) and people with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) in relation to the lived experience of  artificial feeding (prior to, during and post enteral tube placement), including the burden of care on carers. Quality of life will also be explored, and the successful applicant will be expected to engage with novel means of data collection to promote engagement with this marginalised group of people.   Project outcomes will include the development of appropriate evidence based guidelines to inform best practice in enteral tube feeding , and identification of  informational and training needs of health care professionals and others involved in supporting people with PMLD.  Applicants should have a background in Dietetics, Nursing (including Mental Health Nursing) Psychology or Social Studies.  Experience of working or researching with people with learning difficulties is desirable, as is experience in using qualitative research methods.  In addition, you will need excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

For further details of the project please contact Dr Myra McKenzie Fraser (

Application process:
Candidates for the studentship must have a First Class, or a 2.1 Honours Degree (or equivalent) or a Masters Qualification in a relevant discipline.  Relevant professional experience will also be considered where appropriate.  Applicants should have excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to work independently. Each studentship provides full university fees for UK/EU applicants and a tax-free maintenance allowance of £13,726 per annum for 3 years. The studentship is available to start in October 2013.  Interviews will be held on Friday 14th June 2013.

Applications should be made via the University electronic application service by clicking on the APPLY ONLINE icon on the Research degree web page
Please select the relevant IHW reference code as this indicates that you are applying for a specific project.  Application forms, CVs and other relevant documentation to support the application should be completed and submitted no later than Wednesday 29th May 2013.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to the principal supervisors identified in the supplementary project information, or to the IHW Graduate School Leader Dr Rachel M Knott on 01224 262524 or by email to
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