.
50 annniversary

Aston Prize PhD Studentship in Bereavement Support for Older People and People Bereaved with Dementia

Aston University are working in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care, the Alzheimer’s Society in Wales and the ExtraCare Charitable Trust to carry out research on two new programmes of bereavement support for older people in general (Bereavement Supporter) and for people bereaved with dementia or those close to them (Bereaved by Dementia).   (See http://www.cruse.org.uk/bereavement-champions for further details.) This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference to the lives of some of the most ‘forgotten’, disadvantaged and socially isolated people in society 

The projects seek to: raise awareness of bereavement among older people; deliver training to volunteer ‘bereavement supporters’ as part of a peer to peer support model’; and to develop a new model of working with older bereaved people with early stage dementia or dementia-related conditions.  The research will track the outcomes for older people that arise from these projects as well as the broader societal impacts in respect of awareness of bereavement and willingness to seek support.  It also aims to work in partnership with key stakeholders to ensure optimum organization and delivery.  The research will be delivered through a fully-funded PhD studentship, tenable from 1st September 2017, working under the supervision of a multi-disciplinary team of academics affiliated with the Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA): Dr Karen West (Principal Investigator), Dr Carol Holland and Dr Rachel Shaw.

This is an opportunity to carry out doctoral research that will make a real impact in the field of ageing studies.  The ideal candidate will have a good master’s degree in one of the following: social gerontology, the sociology of ageing, dementia studies, or the study of death, dying and bereavement.  Candidates will have demonstrable skills in both quantitative and qualitative data analysis.   Experience of working with older adults is also essential, and experience of working with older adults with dementia will be a distinct advantage.  The successful candidate will be given training in bereavement awareness and dementia awareness. 

Financial Support

The PhD Studentship consists of a full annual maintenance grant of £14,553 and fees at the home/EU rate of £4,195 per annum.  Travel expenses associated with the project will also be covered and students have the right to apply for support to present the research at relevant academic conferences.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or good upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area. They should have, or be near to completing, a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters or equivalent. An overall merit grade with merit in the dissertation is normally required.

Language requirements:

Non-native speakers of English are normally required to satisfy the following minimum English language requirements:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 6.5 in writing and reading and minimum 6.0 in speaking and listening)
  • TOEFL iBT:  93 (minimum 26 in writing, 22 in speaking, 19 in listening, 18 in reading) 
  • Pearson Academic: 63 (minimum 63 in writing and speaking, and 57 in reading and listening)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade B
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): Grade A


How to apply

Apply by completing the Postgraduate research application form selecting 'Research - Sociology (Full time September 2017)' and including:

  • The reference number R170237
  • A full CV
  • 2 written references
  • Photocopies of your first and Masters degree certificates and a transcript of your grades
  • Evidence of an approved English language qualification (if required)
  • In place of a research proposal please include a covering letter, explaining your motivation for carrying out PhD research in this area and considering the challenges of researching the outcomes of these programmes for older people and people affected by dementia.

The closing date for applications is 30 th  June and interviews will be held at Aston University during the week beginning 10th July.  For informal discussions about the Studentship, please contact Dr Karen West: k.west@aston.ac.uk; tel: 0121 204 3194.