Studentships at The University of Nottingham

University of Nottingham, School of Sociology and Social Policy

The following 2 studentships are on offer for an October 2012 start.

Collaborative Social Science Studentship (Full time + 3 PhD studentship)

The use of Discovery Awareness in Intellectual Disability: examining the experience and impact of a European approach to challenging behaviour

People with Intellectual Disabilities (PWID) are more vulnerable to mental health problems than the general population, and 5- 15% of PWID manifest these through challenging behaviour such as physical and verbal aggression, and self-injury. The majority of psychological interventions used in Anglophone services are behavioural; these show good short-term results but have negligible long-term impact. This project aims to assess the implementation of a novel European method to assist staff working with challenging behaviour in ID. The Heijkoop method is grounded in ‘Discovery Awareness’: formalised discussions of video-recordings of individuals by multi-disciplinary teams. At present this method has only been introduced into one NHS specialist service in the UK: the study site, Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust. The project will take a conversation analytic approach to assess the implementation of the method and produce an in-depth understanding of the way it works in a UK context.

The academic supervisors are Prof Alison Pilnick and Dr Jennifer Clegg

The studentship will pay for tuition fees for 3 years. The studentship will also provide an annual tax-free maintenance grant to the student of approximately £13,590 for three years. During PhD registration the studentship includes additional funds for research support.

The closing date for applications for this studentship is 22nd February 2012
Further information on eligibility is below.
Enquiries can be made to

Sociology of Health and Illness Foundation studentship (Full-time + 3 (PhD) studentship)

What does ‘learning disability’ mean in the real world?  Re-evaluating sociological perspectives on learning disability

The term ‘learning disability’ is widely used not only in everyday speech, but also as an uncontested category within Government policy documents and local services. Such common usage hides the complexity and breadth of the disabilities which the term may be used to denote: people with ‘mild’ learning disabilities may be able to live fully or largely independent lives, whilst those with ‘severe or profound’ learning disabilities often have little or no verbal communication and require life-long support with all aspects of daily life. This project aims to clarify what learning disability means in practice to both lay and professional groups, and to assess the impact of this on the way in which it is conceptualised both in sociological and policy discourse.

The academic supervisors are Dr Rachel Fyson and Prof Alison Pilnick.
Enquiries can be addressed to

The closing date for applications for this studentship is Monday 28th May

Both of the above studentships are available to Home and EU students, according to fee status, that meet Research Council eligibility requirements based on residency. The University’s Admissions Office can provide further guidance on fee status.

For entry at PhD level the candidate should have a good Honours degree in a related discipline, and have, or expect to have by autumn 2012, a Masters qualification from an ESRC recognised research training course or a Masters degree which includes a substantial research element or equivalent research experience in a work setting.

Further details on both studentships and on how to apply are available from or Alison Haigh, Postgraduate Administrator, 0115 951 5354 or
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