CIRCLE

Opportunities

Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems

5 exceptional PhD study opportunities linked to a multi-disciplinary ESRC-funded programme within an extensive international research network

The ESRC Sustainable Care Research Programme, based mainly at the Universities of Sheffield (lead partner); Kings College London; and the University of Birmingham is offering 5 funded, full-time PhD studentships beginning late September 2017.

The new programme, announced by ESRC on 29 June 2017, offers students with relevant interests and expertise an exceptional opportunity to engage with a major programme of linked research. The programme will address challenges in meeting the care needs of ageing populations, in an integrated programme comprising Work Strands on ‘Care Systems’ and on ‘Care Work and Care Relationships’.

Suitably qualified applicants committed to excellence in research and to working collaboratively with other scholars are invited to apply. Funding is available to cover 3 years' tuition fees at the UK/EU level*, with a living costs stipend, also payable for 3 years (at Research Councils UK funding rates).

An exciting new development, funded (2017-2021) through the prestigious ESRC Large Grants scheme, Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems, directed by Professor Sue Yeandle (University of Sheffield), will deliver internationally excellent, innovative research in a collaborative programme linking seven Universities, with links to a wider international network of scholars (across 15 countries and in 26 research centres / institutes). All are committed to innovative and excellent comparative research, to the advancement of theory and methods, and to investigations which achieve impact.

The 5 studentships offered are in the following topic areas / disciplines:

1. Achieving sustainability in care systems: the potential of technology

Study topic: Achieving sustainability in care systems: the potential of technology

Dates: October 2017 - September 2020

Awarding institution: University of Sheffield

Funding: Sustainable Care PhD studentship, available for three years of study

The successful applicant will be awarded a 3-year studentship (subject to satisfactory performance at annual review points) covering doctoral fees and an annual stipend to support living costs.

Supervisor(s):

  • Mark Hawley, Professor of Health Services Research, CATCH, UoS
  • Luc de Witte, Professor of Health Services Research, CATCH, UoS;
  • Marieke Spreeuwenberg, Professor of Remote Care, Zuyd University, NL

Linked Work Package: Achieving sustainability in care systems: the potential of technology (WBA3)

Description of the PhD study: This PhD is in health and related sciences. It will focus on exploring the potential role of technologies in the development of sustainable care systems, using a future oriented perspective and taking a broad view of advances in technology. Advanced technology offers promising solutions to the growing care gap, but the place of technology as a source of sustainability for the future is far from clear . This PhD will collect and analyse data relevant to the development of a roadmap for the future development of a specified technology . It will consider its potential for sustainable wellbeing in care at home, and address questions of practical, attitudinal and ethical acceptability as well as design and how the technology can be embedded into care systems and optimised to contribute to system sustainability. It will be part of the WPA3 work with stakeholders to identify technologies capable of addressing the needs of older people living at home.

Indicative research questions:

  • To what extent, and why, can the specified technology address challenges in supporting older people at home?
  • Does international evidence support the case for incorporating this technology into care systems?

Indicative research methods:

These will be negotiated to suit the agreed focus of the PhD and may include: trend analysis, expert interviews, focus group discussions and roadmap development.

Essential Applicant Requirements:

  • A Masters qualification, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline (awarded, or expected in 2017)
  • Demonstrable research skills, supported by a relevant qualification
  • Ability to work independently, supported by a supervisory team
  • Ability to work in regular dialogue with the wider ESRC Sustainable Care team and as part of the linked WP team (see above; see also ‘Expectations of all linked PhD students’)
  • Strong written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Fluency in English language.
  1. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (worth approx. £4,170 pa) and provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (for 2017/18, £14,553 outside London), for 3 years. Additional funds will be provided for travel and equipment, and students will have access to unique opportunities within the ESRC Sustainable Care programme. NOTE: UK and international students are eligible to apply; those from outside the EU must be able to pay the difference between the applicable UK/EU and overseas tuition fee rates.
  2. Marasinghe, K. M. (2016) ‘Assistive technologies in reducing caregiving burden among informal caregivers of older adults: A systematic review’, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 11 (5): 353-60; Chi, N. C. & Demiris, G. (2015). ‘A systematic review of telehealth tools and interventions to support family caregivers’, Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 21(1): 37-44; Hogenbirk J, C., Liboiron-Grenier, L., & Pong, R. W. (2005) How can telehomecare support informal care? Examining what is known and exploring the potential: Final Report. Home and Continuing Care Policy Unit: Health Canada.
  3. Specific area negotiable, but likely to include aspects of robotics. Applicants for this PhD should identify an area or areas of interest which they wish to develop.
2. Projecting the implications of changing immigration policies on the sustainability of home care in the UK

Study topic: Projecting the implications of changing immigration policies on the sustainability of home care in the UK

Dates: October 2017 - September 2020

Awarding institution: King’s College London

Funding: Sustainable Care PhD studentship, available for three years of study.

The successful applicant will be awarded a 3-year studentship (subject to satisfactory performance at regular review points) covering doctoral fees and an annual stipend to support living costs.

Supervisor(s):

Linked Work package: Migrant care workers in the UK: an analysis of sustainability of care at home [WPA4]

Description of the PhD study: This PhD will focus on the UK care sector, which has long relied on immigration to fill labour shortages. Britain’s decision to leave the EU in 2019, and possible reductions in care labour from EU and other countries, pose pressing questions about the sector’s capacity to meet demand. Other changes may also affect recruitment. This PhD is linked to WPB4, which aims to identify the changes required in the support and organisation of home care in light of these developments. The full WP, led by Prof Shereen Hussein, will also include comparative international analysis of other countries where migrant care labour features significantly in how home care is delivered. Its aims include the identification of learning relevant to future home care policy and practice.

Indicative research questions:

  • How are UK policy changes in 2018-20 affecting the roles, recruitment and status of migrant home care workers? Which groups are most affected, how and why? Are there differences across the 4 UK nations?
  • What are the implications of these changes for sustainability and wellbeing for care users, carers, home care employers, care workers (migrant/non-migrant) and care commissioners?

Indicative research methods:

  • Probabilistic forecasting and stochastic modelling, to develop forecast models for migration flows in relation to labour market activities in the British homecare sector, based on different scenarios, using existing and new quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Elicited expert opinions using a 2-rounds Delphi survey.

Essential Applicant Requirements:

  • Masters qualification or equivalent in an applied quantitative discipline (e.g. Applied Statistics, Quantitative Sociology, Demography or a related field).
  • Familiarity with mixed-methods research design and the use and linkage of large datasets.
  • Ability to work independently, supported by a supervisory team
  • Ability to work in regular dialogue with the wider ESRC Sustainable Care team and as part of the linked WPA4 team (see above; see also ‘Expectations of all linked PhD students)
  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Technical skills relevant to quantitative research and capacity to develop additional programming skills.
  • Fluency in English language.
  1. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (worth approx. £4,170 pa) and will also provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (for 2017/18, £14,553+£2,000 London weighting), each for 3 years. Additional funds will be provided for travel and equipment, and students will have access to unique opportunities within the ESRC Sustainable Care programme. NOTE: International students from outside the EU are eligible to apply, but must have the means to pay the difference between the applicable UK/EU and overseas tuition fee rates.
3. Employers’ voluntary care leave schemes in the UK: a comparative analysis

Study topic: Employers’ voluntary care leave schemes in the UK: a comparative analysis

Dates: October 2017 - September 2020

Awarding institution: University of Sheffield (UoS)

Funding: Sustainable Care PhD studentship, available for three years of study

The successful applicant will be awarded a 3-year studentship (subject to satisfactory performance at annual review points) covering doctoral fees and an annual stipend to support living costs .

Supervisor(s):

  • Sue Yeandle, Professor of Sociology, Dept Sociological Studies, UoS
  • Jason Heyes, Professor of Employment Relations, School of Management, UoS

Linked Work package: Combining work and care: workplace support and its contribution to sustainable care arrangements [WPB2]

Description of the PhD study: This PhD spans the disciplines of management (of people at work) and sociology (of employment). It is a collaborative PhD studentship undertaken with the support of project partners Employers for Carers and CIPD. It will focus on carers (people who provide support to a relative or friend who needs their help because of disability, chronic illness or frailty in late old age). Most carers are of working age and are also in paid work. Although incompatibility between caring and paid work is a known risk to sustainable care, more evidence is required of the support needed to promote wellbeing among working carers / those they assist. This PhD will contribute to the wider work of WPB2, which also features international comparative analysis and a new study of ‘workplace standard’ schemes for carers in Canada and Scotland.

Indicative research questions:

  • What constitutes good workplace support for carers in employment, and how does it enhance carers’ ability to integrate their paid employment and caring roles?
  • What is the impact of this support on sustainable wellbeing for carers, employers, care users and care workers, and what are the costs and benefits for employers?
  • What are the characteristics, impact, uptake and outcomes of the voluntary care leave schemes operated in the UK by employers which are members of Employers for Carers (EfC) and the CIPD?

Indicative research methods:

The study is likely to centre on a set of comparative case studies of approximately 6 organisations which are EfC or CIPD members and which offer employees some form of paid care leave. In each, data collection is likely to include: an email survey of EfC and CIPD Human Resources contacts; a focus group with 6-8 working carers (recruited via the organisation’s carers’ network); and individual qualitative interviews (with managers, workers and employee / TU representatives). Details will be negotiated with the successful applicant; the research will be subject to university research ethics approval.

Essential Applicant Requirements:

  • A Masters qualification, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline (awarded, or expected in 2017)
  • Demonstrable research skills, supported by a relevant qualification
  • Ability to work independently, supported by a supervisory team
  • Ability to work in regular dialogue with the wider ESRC Sustainable Care team and as part of the linked WP team (see above; see also ‘Expectations of all linked PhD students’)
  • Strong written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Fluency in English language.
  1. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (worth approx. £4,170 pa) and will also provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (for 2017/18, £14,553 outside London), each for 3 years. Additional funds will be provided for travel and equipment, and students will have access to unique opportunities within the ESRC Sustainable Care programme. NOTE: International students from outside the EU are eligible to apply, but must have the means to pay the difference between the applicable UK/EU and overseas tuition fee rates.
4. Combining care and paid work; how can technology help?

Study topic: Combining care and paid work; how can technology help?

Dates: October 2017 - September 2020

Awarding institution: University of Sheffield (UoS)

Funding: Sustainable Care PhD studentship, available for three years of study
The successful applicant will be awarded a 3-year studentship (subject to satisfactory performance at annual review points) covering doctoral fees and an annual stipend to support living costs .

Supervisor(s):

  • Luc de Witte, Professor of Health Services Research, CATCH, UoS
  • Mark Hawley, Professor of Health Services Research, CATCH, UoS
  • Marieke Spreeuwenberg, Professor of Remote Care, Zuyd University, NL

Linked Work package: Technologies to support working carers: connecting people and systems [WPB3]
Description of the PhD study: This PhD is in health and related sciences. It will explore the potential role of technologies in supporting the sustainable wellbeing of working carers , a group often facing tough choices between their work and care responsibilities . Technology holds the potential to support working carers in fulfilling their dual roles by supporting them in situations where they cannot be present, and with care co-ordination. This PhD will identify and examine specific aspects of working carers’ roles amenable to intervention, select priority areas for support and explore how technologies can be assembled, modified or introduced to address these.

Indicative research questions:

  • What aspects of worker/carer roles are amenable to better co-ordination via use of technology?
  • In the specific priority areas selected, how and why are technologies used, with what effects on care relationships, wellbeing outcomes and carers’ capacity to fulfil both roles?
  • Could technology be better configured to support them, and are further innovations needed?

Indicative research methods:

This study will require a range of different methods, likely to include: systematic literature review; qualitative interviews (with individuals and focus groups); co-design workshops; and usability evaluation techniques. Details will be negotiated with the successful applicant; the research will be subject to university research ethics approval.

Essential Applicant Requirements

  • A Masters qualification, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline (awarded, or expected in 2017)
  • Demonstrable research skills, supported by a relevant qualification
  • Ability to work independently, supported by a supervisory team
  • Ability to work in regular dialogue with the wider ESRC Sustainable Care team and as part of the linked WP team (see above; see also ‘Expectations of all linked PhD students’)
  • Strong written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Fluency in English language.

NOTE: This study will be undertaken in close collaboration with Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands; the PhD student will undertake some of his or her studies there (dates negotiable).

  1. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (worth approx. £4,170 pa) and will also provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (for 2017/18, £14,553 outside London), each for 3 years. Additional funds will be provided for travel and equipment, and students will have access to unique opportunities within the ESRC Sustainable Care programme. NOTE: International students from outside the EU are eligible to apply, but must have the means to pay the difference between the applicable UK/EU and overseas tuition fee rates.
  2. ‘Working carers’ are people in paid employment who also provide care and support for a relative or friend with a long-term condition or disability, or who needs assistance in old age.
  3. King, D. & Pickard, L. (2013) ‘When is a carer’s employment at risk? Longitudinal analysis of unpaid care and employment in midlife in England’, Health and Social Care in the Community, 21 (3): 303-314; Pickard, L. (2004) Caring for older people and employment: A review of the literature, London: Audit Commission; Yeandle, S., Bennett, C., Buckner, L., Fry, G. & Price, C. (2007) Managing Caring and Employment, CES Report No. 2, London: Carers UK.
5. The role of new technologies in mediating long distant aged-care relationships between UK-based migrants and their overseas family members

Study topic: The role of new technologies in mediating long distant aged-care relationships between UK-based migrants and their overseas family members

Dates: October 2017 - September 2020

Awarding institution: University of Sheffield

Funding: Sustainable Care PhD studentship, available for three years of study

The successful applicant will be awarded a 3-year studentship (subject to satisfactory performance at annual review points) covering doctoral fees and an annual stipend to support living costs.

Supervisor(s):

  • Dr Majella Kilkey Department of Sociological Studies, UoS
  • Professor Louise Ryan. Department of Sociological Studies, UoS

Linked Work package: Care ‘In’ and ‘Out of’ Place: towards sustainable well-being in mobile and diverse contexts [WPB4].

Description of the PhD study: This PhD is in Sociology and is focused on exploring the role of new technologies in mediating long distant aged-care relationships between UK-based migrants and their overseas family members. This WP examines the transformation of caring experiences in the context of migration and mobility. The PhD study will be embedded within the wider work of WPB4 which explores the care needs of people implicated in relationships between migration and ageing. These raise particular challenges for sustainable care and wellbeing in terms of cultural and linguistic sensitivities, migration rights, portability of entitlements, networks of support and access to new communication technologies.

Indicative research questions:

  • How do migrant care workers reconcile paid work with their transnational familial care responsibilities?
  • How is the distant care they provide, or aim to provide, best mediated by new technologies?

Indicative research methods:

The study will use primarily qualitative research methods, which will involve some travel for fieldwork purposes within the UK. Methods are expected to include:

  • Multi-sited in-depth longitudinal interviewing
  • Social network mapping.

Details will be negotiated with the successful applicant.

Essential Applicant Requirements:

  • A Masters qualification, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline (awarded, or expected in 2017)
  • Demonstrable research skills, supported by a relevant qualification
  • Ability to work independently, supported by a supervisory team
  • Ability to work in regular dialogue with the wider ESRC Sustainable Care team and as part of the linked WP team (see above; see also ‘Expectations of all linked PhD students’)
  • Strong written and oral communication and presentation skills
  • Fluency in English language

Note: In addition, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to connect with prestigious international academic partners linked to WPB4, including at the University of Western Australia, the University of Toronto, Canada and the University of Warsaw, Poland.

1. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (worth approx. £4,170 pa) and will also provide a tax-free stipend at the standard UK Research Council rate (for 2017/18, £14,553 outside London), each for 3 years. Additional funds will be provided for travel and equipment, and students will have access to unique opportunities within the ESRC Sustainable Care programme. NOTE: International students from outside the EU are eligible to apply, but must have the means to pay the difference between the applicable UK/EU and overseas tuition fee rates.

Timescales

The deadline for applications is 31 August 2017. Candidates who apply before this deadline may be assessed in advance of the deadline, therefore candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed (in person or remotely, as appropriate), in most cases in the week commencing 4 or 11 September 2017. Appointees will ideally start during the week commencing 25 September 2017 (or as soon as practicable after that date). Start dates are negotiable for non-UK appointees who require a visa for study.

Candidates should email circle@sheffield.ac.uk to apply. Applications should include:

  • Clear indication of which of the 5 studentship(s) candidates are applying for (candidates can apply for more than 1 if they wish);
  • A CV (maximum 2 pages), focusing on educational achievements (qualifications, clearly specifying if these have already been awarded or are in prospect before the end of 2017); any relevant experience of paid or voluntary work; any relevant awards and prizes; and other information about the candidate’s skills or experience they consider potentially relevant to PhD studies in the relevant topic area;
  • The names of two referees who can comment in detail on the candidate’s academic achievements and potential;
  • A statement (maximum of 500 words) setting out why the candidate is interested in the specific studentship(s) they are applying for and why they feel they are suitably qualified/motivated to undertake a PhD study on the topic chosen. (Candidates who are applying for 2 studentships should submit 2 statements).

* Overseas students from outside the EU may apply, but will need to pay additional fees up to the overseas student rate.

Candidates should read the additional information:

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