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Cognitive Intervention PhD Studentship
£14,296 (the annual stipend)
Social Sciences
Entry date
From September 2017


The Ageing Lab in the Department of Psychology (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh) is offering a PhD Studentship to start in the academic year 2017-18. The successful candidate will join the Intervention Factory, a research study exploring interventions for cognitive ageing funded by Velux Stiftung.

The term of the studentship is three years (full-time).  Successful candidates will receive a fee-waiver, an annual maintenance allowance currently set at £14,296 in the academic year 2016-17 and access to the project funding over the registered period of study for allocated research costs.

Under the supervision of Project Director Dr Alan Gow and Co-Supervisor Dr Michaela Dewar, you will have the opportunity to engage in translational research examining real-world activities as potential interventions for cognitive ageing. As part of the research team, you will assist in this research programme. You will collect psychological and health data, support the coordination and monitoring of the intervention programmes, prepare data, conduct analyses, and contribute to publications and reports.

In addition, the PhD Studentship will particularly focus on exploring the use of community-based activities as interventions to improve the cognitive and psychological health of older adults aged 75 and over, and to explore how personality is associated with any benefits observed. Specific objectives include, but are not limited to:

Reviewing the literature utilising community-based activities as potential interventions for healthy ageing;

Recruiting/assessing a sample of older adults with/without early cognitive impairments to complete interventions;

Comparing intervention benefits in adults with and without cognitive impairments;

Examining how personality affects the maintenance of activities throughout the intervention and whether personality affects the benefits observed;

Assessing the acceptability and usability of the interventions by evaluating the activities, satisfaction with the delivery method, and maintenance of activities through the intervention period.

Informal enquiries may be made to: Dr Alan Gow (

All applications must be submitted by 1 August 2017.   It is intended that shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an interview on 23 August 2017.

Entry requirements

The PhD Studentship is only available to applicants with Home/EU fee status.

All applications will be reviewed within the supervisory team with a shortlisting decision made based on qualifications and personal statements. Shortlisted applicants must have the equivalent of a first-class honours undergraduate degree and a Masters degree with a dissertation mark of 65% or higher; or an upper second-class honours undergraduate degree with a Masters degree (with distinction) and a dissertation mark of 65% or higher (these should be in psychology or a related field, and knowledge of cognitive ageing or interventions would be an advantage). Applicants without a Masters may apply if they have relevant research experience. Applicants who are unsure if their qualifications meet the minimum criteria should contact Please note that possession of the minimum qualifications does not guarantee shortlisting for interview.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate having research experience including the application of research protocols, participant recruitment and retention (preferably with adults or older adults), study administration (scheduling appointments, dealing with correspondence, managing data packs and data entry, etc.), knowledge of and experience of using statistical analyses, and the use of cognitive/psychological assessments, though specific training will be given. There will be opportunities to further develop a range of research skills, including analysis and dissemination activities, throughout the study.

How to apply

Please submit your application via the online portal.

Please state clearly on your application that you are applying for the PhD Studentship in Cognitive Intervention.

In order that your application can be processed, please ensure that all the supporting documents listed below are submitted with your application:

1.   Personal Statement (maximum 2 pages)  

On the front page of your personal statement, please ensure that you state the relevant project Reference i.e. PhD Studentship in Cognitive Intervention.

The personal statement should clearly articulate your previous training and experience that should be considered as part of the entry requirements and relevant to the topic of the PhD Studentship.  

Please note that submitted documents may be subject to screening via plagiarism software.

2. Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates

Copies of full academic transcripts from all previous academic degree courses and copies of degree certificates for degrees already awarded.  If you are currently pursuing a degree course please provide all available marks to date.

3. English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied a degree programme that was taught and examined in the medium of English we require evidence of language proficiency.   For IELTS: the minimum overall IELTS score is 6.5 with no score lower than 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.  

Further information can be found on the UK Government's Knowledge of English page.

4. CV and References

If you have References available these should be submitted with your application.  If they are not currently available please ensure that you provide the names and contact details, including email addresses, of two academic referees on the application form.

Candidates should also submit a Curriculum Vitae.

Queries may be directed to