PhD opportunity: Strategies to cope with cognitive difficulties after stroke

The University of Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences, in collaboration with the Stroke Association, invites applications for Strategies to COPE with cognitive difficulties after stroke (SCOPE – apraxia), a three year full-time PhD studentship.

Due to commence in September 2015, the successful candidate will receive an annual tax-free stipend at *RCUK rates (£14,057 per anum for the 2015/16 academic year). Tuition fees will also be covered as well as support with associated project costs. Applicants must be UK/EU nationals due to the nature of the funding.

Stroke is the most common cause of UK adult disability. Although UK stroke services have greatly improved in recent years there remain high levels of unmet need for cognitive difficulties (McKevitt et al, 2011). The number one research priority for service users and providers, identified by the James Lind Alliance, was ‘what are the best ways to improve cognition after stroke?’ (Pollock et al, 2012). SCOPE will prepare the groundwork for definitive, pragmatic trials of interventions for stroke survivors with cognitive difficulties, through partnership working with key stakeholders to ensure research translates into practice. The PhD will focus on coping with apraxia, a disabling cognitive impairment with a limited evidence base (West et al, 2008).

The successful candidate will be supported to develop a series of studies, i.e:

  • Updating the Cochrane systematic review of apraxia including using the TIDieR checklist (Hoffman, 2014) to examine the included interventions
  • Developing an intervention and staff training package feasible for implementation into standard care through a consensus exercise based on synthesising review results, national clinical guidelines and consultation with current service providers/users

An observational study in post-acute through to community local stroke services to explore the feasibility of identifying apraxia and co-morbidities and of recruiting to a future randomised controlled trial.

The study is expected to benefit from patient, carer and public involvement.

Research will be conducted in the School of Psychological Sciences, one of Europe’s foremost research centres for clinical and health psychology and host to over 200 postgraduates. The successful candidate will benefit from forming part of the wider cohort of postgraduate and postdoctoral stroke researchers at the University of Manchester and the CLAHRC Greater Manchester stroke programme.

Applicants must be either a psychology graduate or a UK registered nurse or allied health professional, such as an occupational or speech and language therapist. Candidates are expected to hold a minimum upper-second (or equivalent) undergraduate degree. A masters qualification and relevant research experience would be a distinct advantage.

Please direct applications in the following format to audrey.bowen@manchester.ac.uk:

  • CV, including a brief statement (<300 words) describing your interest in and suitability for the PhD, and contact details for two suitable referees
  • Official academic transcripts.

The deadline for applications is Friday 26 June.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview on 15 or 17 July and will be asked to give a five minute presentation on their ideas for the PhD.