School of Social Policy Doctoral Scholarships

The School of Social Policy is internationally known and regarded for its first class research. Our lecturing and research staff are recognised as authorities in their fields, and our research contributes to academic debates and has worldwide impact. 

NIHR Pre-doctoral Local Authority Fellowship Scheme

Closes: 13:00 on 31 March 2021

This pilot scheme has been designed to support the academic ambitions of individuals wishing to develop as health and/or social care researchers whilst remaining employed, or at least engaged, within local authorities or local authority supporting services. A companion doctoral fellowship scheme is also being developed and will launch in spring 2021. 

These fully funded pre-doctoral fellowships will enable awardees to retain their existing employment contracts and salaries, whilst protecting their time to prepare an application for a PhD fellowship and undertake a fully funded programme of relevant Masters level training. 

With the exception of doctors and dentists, who can already access equivalent dedicated funding opportunities, these awards are available to individuals of any profession or background. Applicants must, however, be employed by: 

  • a local authority
  • a provider of local authority commissioned services
  • a non-profit organisation (such as a charity) that provides services on behalf of a local authority, or supports a local authority in meeting its objectives.

This initiative represents an exciting new opportunity for a wide range of individuals, but especially for those without professional social worker or clinician status. Eligible clinicians and social workers are welcome to apply for support from this scheme or from the other existing NIHR Academy administered schemes that cater for their own professional groups, but cannot apply to both concurrently. 

For more information, see the NIHR announcement

PhD Studentships at the Health Services Management Centre, University of Birmingham

This is your opportunity to join a growing and thriving research community at the Health Services Management Centre in the School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham.  As part of our world-leading research on the organisation and management of health and care services, we are recruiting to two PhD Studentships on themes of NHS leadership and service improvement. 

Studentship One: Learning from Failure in the Reporting of Service Improvement

Context of research

In health care, learning from failure is just as important as learning from success.  However, there is often pressure on service improvement projects to report ‘success’, which can lead to inaccurate reporting and a distorted evidence base. 

This research project

This research will focus on understanding and making recommendations for how we report the outcomes of service improvement processes, and in particular how we can use this to maximise learning from improvement initiatives that don’t go according to plan.

Support

This prestigious studentship is funded by the Health Foundation ‘THIS Institute’ and includes fees, a stipend (£22k per annum) and funding for attendance at conferences. The successful applicant will benefit from training, development and networking provided by THIS Institute, as well as the expertise, support and resources available at the University of Birmingham.  They will be supervised by Dr Iestyn Williams and Professor Justin Waring.  We recognise that doctoral study is very challenging due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.  In light of these challenges, we have developed robust supports for postgraduate research students, and we will support the successful candidate to ensure they are able to progress in their studies in a safe and timely manner.

Eligibility

Applicants should be exceptional UK students with an interest in health services leadership.  Applicants must have an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) and hold or expect to obtain a Masters level qualification. 

Studentship Two: Researching Leadership Development in the NHS

Context of research

Leadership development has been a significant priority for workforce and organisation development. In England, this is championed by the work of the NHS Leadership Academy and substantial leadership programmes, such as the ‘Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’ (EGA) programme. The EGA programme seeks to develop the leadership of mid-to-senior NHS staff focussing on: patient experience; equality, diversity and inclusion; and sustaining improvement.

This research project

This studentship will contribute to the on-going analysis and appraisal of the EGA programme by establishing new empirical and theoretical insight into the processes, outcomes and contributions of leadership development. In consultation with academic supervisors from the Health Services Management Centre, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to devise a unique research proposal.

Support

This high-profile studentship is funded by the University of Birmingham and includes fees, a stipend (£15k per annum) and funding for attendance at conferences. The successful applicant will benefit from the generous support and resources available at the University of Birmingham.  We recognise that doctoral study is very challenging due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.  In light of these challenges, we have developed robust supports for postgraduate research students, and we will support the successful candidate to ensure they are able to progress in their studies in a safe and timely manner.

Eligibility

Applicants should be exceptional UK students with an interest in health services leadership.  Applicants must have an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) and hold or expect to obtain a Masters level qualification. Previous applicants need not apply. 

Further details

Period of posts: 27th September 2021 for 3 years

Closing date for applications: 31st March 2021

Eligibility:

Applicants should be exceptional UK students with an interest in improving quality and safety and/or leadership development in healthcare.  Applicants must have an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) and hold or expect to obtain a Masters level qualification. Applications are encouraged for both full and part time study.

How to apply:

Candidates should submit a formal application for a PhD in Health Services Management. Please ensure that you include the following items in your application: 

  • A CV and short covering letter providing information about your background, qualifications and why you are well suited for one of the fellowship posts
  • a statement of approximately 1000 words explaining why you wish to study this topic and what contribution you would hope to make (e.g. to theory, policy or practice) 

Submit a formal application

Enquiries:

For further details about Studentship one contactDr Iestyn Williams at i.p.williams@bham.ac.uk 

For further details about Studentship two, contact Professor Justin Waring,J.waring@bham.ac.uk 

For questions related to making your application, please contact Abbie Price in the Doctoral Programmes Office: sosppgr@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Please note that these email addresses above are for enquiries only. If you wish to make an application for these PhD opportunities, you must make a formal application following the process outlined in the 'How to apply' section above.