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Data Science, Health and Wellbeing: ESRC Wales DTP PhD Collaborative Studentship at Swansea


Data Science, Health and Wellbeing: ESRC Wales DTP PhD Collaborative Studentship at Swansea

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Swansea University, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales (Wales DTP), invites applications for funded PhD study, available to start in October 2020. The following collaborative studentship is available in the Data Science, Health and Wellbeing pathway of the Wales DTP:

‘Exploring the long term educational and health outcomes of babies born late preterm/early term in Wales’ (working title) in collaboration with Swansea Bay University Health Board

Context and rationale:
Research (1,2) indicates that babies born late preterm (33-36 weeks) have worse outcomes than their full term counterparts (37-42) in terms of educational, health, cognitive, developmental and behavioural outcomes in their early years. They represent 6.3% of the total live births. Anecdotally most babies born late preterm appear well at birth and often do not warrant further exploration.

To determine if late preterm babies experience worse educational, health and behavioural outcomes throughout their childhood.


  • To undertake a systematic literature review to collate knowledge regarding the educational, health and behavioural outcomes of late preterm babies
  • To undertake qualitative work to understand how these babies are managed at birth and any ongoing issues.
  • To utilise anonymised data to determine whether the educational, health, behavioural and social outcomes of late preterm babies differ from their full term counterparts
  • To disseminate findings through publication, conferences and public engagement with childcare groups

Research questions:

  • Does being born late preterm result in poorer health, educational, behavioural and social care outcomes?
  • Can we determine which babies may be most at risk?

Methods and design:
Mixed methods (systematic literature review, qualitative interviews and anonymised linked data) will be used to identify if late preterm babies are more at risk than their full term counterparts. Systematic literature review and meta-analysis will provide a narrative synthesis of poor outcomes and the risk (if any) to late preterm babies. NHS and social care staff will give their view on how these babies are viewed, how they are managed and if they fare worse than their full term counterparts.  SAIL shall be used to examine educational, health, behavioural and social outcomes of late preterm babies throughout their childhood. These outcomes will include, for example: formal educational assessments, school absenteeism, Special Educational Needs (SEN), inpatient admissions, avoidable hospital admissions, GP visits, and mental health problems.

Identifying if late preterm babies are more at risk of poor outcomes may make it possible to target care and inform the design of appropriate care packages to help support them.

  1. Quigley MA, et al. Early term and late preterm birth are associated with poorer school performance at age 5 years: a cohort study. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2012;97(3): F167-73.
  2. Boyle EM, et al. Effects of gestational age at birth on health outcomes at 3 and 5 years of age: population-based cohort study. BMJ 2012;344:e896.
Swansea University

This is a scholarship by Swansea University. Swansea is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

Applications are welcomed for both full and part-time study, and studentships are available as either ‘1+3’ (i.e. one full time year of research training Masters followed by three years of full-time doctoral study, or the part-time equivalent), or ‘+3’ (i.e. three years of full-time doctoral study or its part-time equivalent), depending on the needs of the applicant. Swansea University values diversity and equality at all levels and encourages applications from all sections of the community.


These studentships are ‘collaborative’ awards. Applicants should take careful consideration of the working title and description of the project, and may wish to contact the named supervisor and / or the Swansea pathway contact for a discussion prior to applying. They are:


Residential eligibility:
Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. You must:
    • be ordinarily resident in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay, and
    • have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the studentship grant. This means you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences), and
  • not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK nationals and EU nationals who were ordinarily resident in the EU immediately before the period of full-time education).

Due to funding restrictions, these scholarships are not open to international candidates.

Academic eligibility:

ESRC studentships are highly competitive. Candidates should have an excellent background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Master’s degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a ‘+3’ award.


Full-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold either a full-time job, or a permanent part-time job, during the period of their award. Part-time ESRC studentship award holders cannot hold a full-time job.

The studentship provides the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend. There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

Studentship awards commence in October 2020 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant (currently £15,009 per annum for 2019/20 for full-time students, updated each year) and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG). There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including an overseas fieldwork allowance (if applicable), internship opportunities, oversea institutional visits and other small grants.

A ‘1+3’ studentship provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training Master’s in the 1st year, followed by 3 years research funding for a PhD. A ‘+3’ studentship provides funding for the three years PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent).

How to Apply

The application must contain the following documents and be submitted to [email protected]:

  1. Covering letter: Please address to Dr Lucy Griffiths. The covering letter must set out your reasons and motivation for applying to study at Swansea University, and the chosen pathway; your understanding, and expectations of doctoral study; your academic interests generally, and particularly how these relate to the description of the project supplied. The covering letter should be no more than two pages. Please specify whether you wish to apply on a ‘+3’ or ‘1+3’ basis. Remember also to specify that your application concerns ESRC Wales DTP collaborative studentships and include in your application the title of the project to which you are applying.
  2. Academic / professional qualifications: Please provide copies of certificates and transcripts. Where appropriate, this should also include proof of English Language Competency (7.0 IELTS minimum).
  3. References: All applications require two academic references to be submitted in support. Candidates must approach referees themselves, and submit the references with their application.
  4. Curriculum Vitae: It should be no longer than two pages.
  5. Research Proposal: For collaborative studentships, the proposal should build directly on the outline description that has been supplied. The proposal should be up to a maximum of 1,000 words, not including bibliographic references. We suggest that you use the following five headings in your research proposal:
  • Your reflections on the title, aims and purpose of the research;
  • An overview of some key research literature relevant to the study;
  • Your proposals for developing the design and methods of the study;
  • A description of potential outcomes of the project for understanding, knowledge, policy and practice (as appropriate to the topic);
  • Bibliographic references.

Please note that incomplete applications or applications received after the specified time will not be accepted.

Application Deadline: The deadline for applications is 12 noon on 3 February 2020.

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