Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome and the British Coronial System 

Applications are being sought for a prestigious (1+3 or +3) full time PhD Studentship, to be based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, to begin in October 2013. 

This studentship focuses on the relationship between coroners and other professional groups and genetic tests for specific inherited cardiac conditions – for example inherited disorders of the cardiac muscle (cardiomyopathies) or heart rhythm (inherited arrhythmias, or ion channelopathies such as Long QT syndrome or Brugada syndrome) – known collectively as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). While genetic testing for these conditions is available (in various forms of a ‘molecular autopsy’), their uptake by coroners in the UK is very low and as a result the broader incidence of these conditions is uncertain. 

Building on the wider work of the ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), this project will explore the reasons underpinning the low uptake of these tests, the construction of medical knowledge around SADS conditions, and communication issues at the interface of the medical and medico-legal worlds. This studentship is co-funded by the SADS charity, and aims to improve our understanding of how particular professional groups adopt new technologies. Students would be supervised by Professor Adam Hedgecoe. 

This project would be suitable for students interested in science and technology studies (STS), medical sociology or socio-legal studies. 

Information about the School: Cardiff School of Social Sciences is a large School with over 160 staff and a thousand undergraduate and postgraduate students. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise rated almost all of its research to be of an international standard, with 55% of it either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. This rating, together with the size of the School, places it amongst the top five centres in the UK. Since its creation in 2000, the School has attracted over £18 million of research funds. 

Cardiff University is the home of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre, part of a national network of 21 accredited Doctoral Training Centres across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision. 

Eligibility: Candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a Masters degree (preferably an ESRC recognised Masters or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a +3 award. UK Research Council eligibility conditions apply (awards are open to UK Nationals, and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements; to be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education). 

Funding:  Full UK/EU tuition fees paid, approx. £13,590 p.a. living stipend and £750 p.a. research and training allowance. 

For further information about the project and how to apply please contact Vicky Parkin: 

Email  or telephone (029) 20 870855. 

Closing date:        February 27th                 Interviews:            To be confirmed
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