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PhD Studentships: Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health


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News, (2018, November 3). PhD Studentships: Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. Psychreg on Announcements. https://www.psychreg.org/welcome-centre-for-cultures-and-environments-of-health/
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PhD Studentships: Cultures + Environments of Health
Up to 7 PhD studentships (covering fees and stipend) are available in 2019 for research on health, environment and well-being at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health.

Duration of funding: 3 years (2019–2022)

Annual stipend: £19,919


The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health opened in April 2017 with a £4.1m research grant from the Wellcome Trust and match-funding from the University of Exeter. The Centre builds on successful research clusters across the University and on the University’s Humanities and Social Science Strategy.

Transdisciplinary and international in its approach, and with a commitment to engaged research, the Centre brings together leading scholars across the medical humanities, social sciences and health research with the aim of understanding how we can enable health and well-being across the life course.


All research conducted in the Centre is required to enable insight, debate, and/or new approaches to current health, environmental and well-being challenges. Work to be funded through this call should meet the vision of the Wellcome Centre and can either fall under one of the following themed topics, or be clearly aligned to the aims of the Centre in other ways:

  • The cultural contexts of loneliness – Research on the pervasive and detrimental effects of loneliness has tended to neglect the cultural contexts that affect social relationships and the ways in which loneliness is experienced at different stages of the life course or in particular settings or periods. Applicants may focus on any aspect of loneliness as it links to health and well-being. Key contacts: Manuela Barreto (CLES), Mark Jackson (HUMS) and Fred Cooper (HUMS).
  • Microbes, health and society – The vital role of microbes and microbial relations in the modulation of health and well-being across the life course currently pervades all manner of public discourses around treatments and their effectivity (emerging infections and resistant infections), environments, diet and microbiomes, alternative therapies and so on. Applicants may focus on any aspect of the changing role of (or approaches to) microbes in relation to health and well-being. Key contacts: Steve Hinchliffe (CLES), Laura Salisbury (HUMS) and Dora Vargha (HUMS).
  • Intangible culture and relational health – The significance of communal practices and place to questions of belonging and identity can be critical to health and well-being throughout the life-course, and these may in turn be contested as sites for radical realignments of local and global relations. Applicants may focus on any aspect of the roles of intangible culture or its spaces in health issues. Key contacts: Nick Groom (HUMS), Steve Hinchliffe (CLES) and Luna Dolezel (HUMS)
  • Health, relations and relational health – Health is more often than not something that is achieved through social and other relations. The role of relations with other people, as well as other creatures and environments, is often stated but seldom demonstrated in a health care system focused on individuals or behaviours in isolation. Applicants can focus on any aspect of how taking a relational approach within a particular area of service provision might impact on health and well-being. Key contacts: Katrina Wyatt (UEMS), Anne Barlow (SSIS) and David Doyle (CLES)
  • Eating and healthy lives –  The relationships between poverty, food, weight, and health are poorly understood, often over-medicalised, and frequently based on questionable assumptions. Projects are invited that explore inequalities in food cultures and their role in health inequalities and or that disrupt biomedical discourses around eating, weight, and health. A focus on changing cultures of food consumption and production is also possible. Key contacts: Manuela Barreto (CLES), Katrina Wyatt (UEMS) and Angela Meadows (CLES)
  • The role of the environment in health outcomes across the life-course –Interrelations between human and environmental health have become increasingly evident in recent years. Proposals here are invited that address any aspect of the relationship between the environment and human health across the lifecourse, potentially with particular emphasis on the marshalling of data rich environments as a means to map these relationships. Key contacts: Karyn Morrissey (UEMS), Nick Groom (HUMS) and Lara Choksey (HUMS)
  • Public engagement and ‘wide data’ – ‘Wide data’ (sometimes referred to as ‘big data‘) or large, complex, potentially linkable data from diverse sources of information and communication technology (ICT), can include anything from genomic data to social media, to individual health information and the contributions of citizen science monitoring, to global environmental measurements. Research proposals that focus on the ways in which data is being linked, used, understood and/ or contested, and its role in healthy public formations would be encouraged. Key contacts: Karyn Morrissey (UEMS), Lora Fleming (UEMS) and Ann Grand (HUMS)

Who can apply?

The Centre welcomes applications from those with traditional academic backgrounds and/or those with work or lived experience that provides the necessary and relevant expertise in the research area. The Centre welcomes applications from individuals of all nationalities.

Proposals for research should speak to some or all of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate the potential for intellectual excellence and novel research;
  • Work across two or more different disciplines;
  • Have a commitment to undertake engagement with publics in its delivery;
  • Have the potential to develop new kinds of evidence for health-related policy making or practice;
  • Form or consolidate partnerships with external communities and publics (commercial, charity, community, etc.) in the delivery of the research;
  • To consider the capacity of the work to develop into further research which is competitive in terms of external funders (not only Wellcome);
  • Commitment to publish the research;
  • Be feasible and achievable within the PhD award.

It is not expected that all projects/posts and initiatives will satisfy every criterion.

How to apply

Formal applications should include the following and be completed online through the links provided below:

  • Preferred Supervisor: applicants must state the research theme for which they are applying in the field labelled ‘preferred supervisor’; 
  • A research outline or proposal of approximately 1,000 words in one of the themes specified above;
  • A covering letter (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake the project);
  • Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying);
  • CV; 
  • Two references; 
  • If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English. Details of this can be found on the University’s English Language Requirements pages.


The closing date for applications is midnight on 7th January 2019. Interviews will be held on the University of Exeter Streatham Campus in February. Successful applicants may enrol in between April and September 2019.


You will be asked to name two referees as part of the application process. It is your responsibility to ensure that your two referees email their references to pgrenquiries@exeter.ac.uk, as we will not make requests for references directly; you must arrange for them to be submitted by 07 January 2019.

References should be submitted to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

General Information

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email wellcomecentre@exeter.ac.uk or phone +44 (0)1392 722143.

Theme-specific queries may be directed to relevant theme contacts. Please note that supervisors will not be able to make comments or respond to emails after the 21st December 2018.

Supervisors are expected to treat all applicants fairly and may need to limit iterative feedback on research proposals.


Application deadline: 07 January 2019
Value: £19,919 per annum
Duration of award: Per year
Contact: +44 (0)1392 722143 wellcomecentre@exeter.ac.uk

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