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Funded Research degree opportunities

We currently have the following funded Research degree opportunities available. 

PhD Studentship in Cognitive Neuroscience of Motor Skill Acquisition via Action Observation in Older Adults

The Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Brunel University London is offering a PhD funded studentship which is focused on the use of action observation in learning, and relearning, of motor skills in older adults.

Based in the College of Health and Life Sciences, the studentship will be funded by Brunel University London. The studentship will offer an annual London rate stipend of £16,296 plus Home/EU tuition fees, for a maximum of 36 months.  Start date is 1st March 2017.

Overview
The aims of this studentship are to explore ways in which we may accelerate older adults’ acquisition of complex motor skills (e.g., playing the piano, or swinging a golf club), using enhanced forms of action observation. For this, a combination of real-world and remote eye tracking, whole-body motion capture, neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG, and/or TMS) and other methodologies may be employed/are available. The PhD may ultimately focus on a specific subgroup of older adults (e.g., those with Parkinson’s disease, or rehabilitating from stroke).

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The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Dan Bishop (Dept. of Life Sciences) and Dr Alex Nowicky (Dept. of Clinical Sciences); Dr Mellissa Prunty (Dept. of Clinical Sciences) will act as the student’s Research Development Advisor. Drs Andre Szameitat and Anne-Marike Schiffer (both Dept. of Life Sciences) will also be available to assist with the design and execution of the PhD programme. For informal discussions about this studentship, please contact Dr Dan Bishop at daniel.bishop@brunel.ac.uk.

The student will be required to contribute towards the teaching and learning-related activities of the Department in each academic year of registration.

Eligibility
Applicants must have a good undergraduate degree (upper second or first) in psychology, neuroscience, motor control/learning or related subject.  A postgraduate masters degree is not essential, but is desirable.   This studentship is open to residents of UK or EU member state only. If you are a non-native speaker and have not been awarded a degree by a University in the UK, you must demonstrate English language skills to IELTS 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in any section).

How to Apply
If you wish to apply, please e-mail the following to chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by noon on 23rd January 2017:

  • An up-to-date CV;
  • A single-page A4 single-spaced personal statement setting out why you are a suitable candidate (i.e. outlining your qualifications and skills);
  • One piece of academic writing (e.g. an essay, a published paper or dissertation chapter);
  • A summary of your teaching experience or the teaching activities you feel you could support;
  • Names and contact details for two academic referees;
  • A copy of your highest degree certificate and transcript;
  • A copy of your English language qualification, where applicable.

Shortlisted applicants will be required to attend an interview.  Applicants chosen for interview will be instructed to submit a formal online application via Admissions.

For further information about how to apply, please contact the College of Health and Life Sciences Postgraduate Research Student Office on chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk.

Three PhD studentships in respiratory physiology, human performance and health.

The Centre for Human Performance, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Brunel University London is offering three fully funded PhD studentships to conduct research into novel aspects of integration between respiratory physiology, human performance and health.  

Based in the College of Health and Life Sciences, all three studentships will be funded by Brunel University London.  Each studentship offers an annual London rate stipend of £16,296 plus Home/EU tuition fees, for a maximum of 36 months.  Start date is 1st March 2017.

Overview
The projects will draw upon research expertise within the Centre for Human Performance, Exercise and Rehabilitation (CHPER), which includes researchers from the Dept. of Clinical Sciences and the Dept. of Life Sciences working in the areas of physiology and physiotherapy.  The programmes of research will contribute to the College’s growing reputation in these fields. 

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Funded PhD Studentship 1: Contractile properties of fresh and fatigued diaphragm muscle
Application of nerve stimulation techniques to humans has shown a decrement in isometric twitch and/or tetanic force of the diaphragm in response to various conditions, including dynamic whole-body exercise.  A major limitation, however, is that isometric force is a relatively poor index of in vivo diaphragm function, providing no information concerning the ability of the muscle to shorten and generate power.  The aim of this project is to develop a novel method of evaluating the contractile properties of the human diaphragm and to determine the role these properties may play in the loss of muscle function with fatigue in young and older adults.

The successful candidate will gain experience in state-of-the-art methodologies to measure respiratory mechanics and ventilatory constraint (intrathoracic pressures), neural respiratory drive (electromyography), respiratory muscle kinetics (Doppler ultrasound), respiratory muscle fatigue (magnetic nerve stimulation), pulmonary function (spirometry, plethysmography, impulse oscillometry), and various exercise testing and training methodologies. 

The project will be supervised by Dr Lee Romer in the Dept. of Life Sciences and Dr Mandy Jones in the Dept. of Clinical Sciences.  For informal discussions about this studentship, please contact Dr Lee Romer at (lee.romer@brunel.ac.uk).

Applicants with prior experience in respiratory physiology, integrative human physiology and/or exercise physiology are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Funded PhD Studentship 2: Respiratory responses to heat stress and dehydration
The frequency of heatwaves is predicted to increase in the 21st century and forecasts are for future summers in Europe to become hotter.  Accumulating evidence suggests that mortality and morbidity from respiratory causes increase during episodes of hot weather; however, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the rapid deterioration of the respiratory health in hot weather.  The aim of this project is to explore the maladaptation of the respiratory system in response to heat stress and dehydration in young and older adults.

The successful candidate will gain experience in state-of-the-art methodologies to measure respiratory mechanics and ventilatory constraint (intrathoracic pressures), pulmonary function (spirometry, plethysmography, impulse oscillometry), airway responsiveness (eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea and osmotic challenge tests) and various exercise testing and dehydration methodologies. 

The project will be supervised by Dr Pascale Kippelen and Dr Oliver Gibson in the Dept. of Life Sciences.  For informal discussions about this studentship, please contact Dr Pascale Kippelen at (pascale.kippelen@brunel.ac.uk).

Applicants with prior experience in respiratory physiology, integrative human physiology and/or exercise physiology are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Funded PhD Studentship 3: Generic exercise-based rehabilitation for chronic breathlessness
Breathlessness is one of the commonest reasons for people seeking emergency department care. In older adults, common underlying medical conditions include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart failure (CHF) and lung cancer. The benefits of exercise-based disease-specific rehabilitation are well established. Historically, there has been little or no collaboration between respiratory and cardiac practitioners in provision of rehabilitation services. Despite compelling evidence, uptake to disease specific-rehabilitation remains poor with gross variations in service design and delivery. The aim of this project is to evaluate generic rehabilitation for breathlessness compared to current usual care. In addition, with growing interest in telerehabilitation, this project also aims to provide exploratory data on the feasibility and acceptability of a state of the art decision making tool where patients exercise at home in a virtual group supported by their “Exercise-Avatar” that is currently been evaluated in a cardiac rehabilitation population in the PATHway H2020 programme.

The successful candidate will gain experience in state-of-the-art methodologies applied to clinical populations in a rehabilitation setting. This includes exposure to state-of-the-art methodologies to measure pulmonary function and advanced telemedicine technologies. 

The project will be supervised by Dr Jenni Jones and Dr Sian Macrae  in the Dept. of Clinical Sciences.  For informal discussions about this studentship, please contact Dr Jennifer Jones at (jennifer.jones@brunel.ac.uk).

Applicants with prior experience in exercise-based rehabilitation, respiratory physiology, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility
Applicants must have a good undergraduate degree (first or upper second) in health/clinical/life sciences, sport and exercise sciences, human physiology, physiotherapy or a related science discipline.  A postgraduate masters degree is not essential, but is desirable. This studentship is open to residents of UK or EU member state only. Any non-native speaker who has not been awarded a degree by a University in the UK will be expected to demonstrate English language skills to IELTS 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in any section). 

How to Apply
If you wish to apply, please e-mail the following to chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by noon on 23rd January 2017:

  • An up-to-date CV;
  • A single-page A4 single-spaced personal statement stating the name of one of the three projects above and setting out why you are a suitable candidate (i.e. outlining your qualifications and skills);
  • A summary of your teaching experience or the teaching activities you feel you could support;
  • Names and contact details for two academic referees;
  • A copy of your highest degree certificate and transcript;
  • A copy of your English language qualification, where applicable.

Short-listed applicants will be required to attend an interview.  Applicants chosen for interview will be instructed to submit a formal online application via Admissions. 

For further information about how to apply please contact the College of Health and Life Sciences Postgraduate Research Student Office on chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk.

Grand Union DTP at Brunel University London: ESRC-funded studentships in social science research

Applications are invited for ESRC fully funded studentships in social science research, starting in October 2017.  ESRC-funded Doctoral Training Programme pathways are offered in two of our internationally recognised areas of research expertise – Health and Wellbeing, and Education. DTP students on both pathways will be able to access specialist training and professional development opportunities provided across the Grand Union DTP.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 20th January 2017.

Successful applicants for a Full-time award will receive an annual maintenance stipend of £14,296 per year (2016-17 rate, paid in quarterly instalments) for the period of their award (three or four years). All awards receive an additional London Weighting payment of £2000.  Successful applicants for a Part-time award will be paid pro rata for the period of their award (six or eight years). The studentship includes payment of University tuition fees for the duration of the funded period of a studentship.

Successful applicants for a Fees-only Award will not receive a maintenance stipend.  The award will cover payment of University tuition fees for the duration of the funded period of a studentship.

Applicants must have a relevant connection with the UK to meet the ESRC’s eligibility criteria for funding of an award. 

Click on these links for full information on the research areas for the Grand Union Health and Wellbeing and Education Pathways at Brunel.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Brunel Research Institutes Centre Support at research-institutes@brunel.ac.uk if they would like to discuss their application with potential supervisors, who will be pleased to provide further guidance about the opportunities available.

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Eligibility
Studentships are available for either:

  • Three (3) years full-time or six (6) years part-time:  applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree and a Masters qualification in a health-related or education subject relevant to their proposed area of research.
  • Four (1+3) years full-time or eight (2+6) years part-time – applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree in a health-related or education subject relevant to their proposed area of research. The programme will include research training delivered through Master level modules in year 1. 

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Brunel Research Institutes Centre Support at research-institutes@brunel.ac.uk if they would like to discuss their application with potential supervisors, who will be pleased to provide further guidance about the opportunities available.

How to apply
For the Health and Wellbeing Pathway please e-mail the documentation listed below to: chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk

For the Education Pathway please email the documentation listed below to: cbass-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk   

Deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 20th January 2017.

  • An up-to-date CV;
  • A4 single-spaced personal statement, identifying the Pathway and specialist area of interest, and detailing why you are a suitable candidate.  This should include details of your residential eligibility.  Please see annex 1 of the ESRC postgraduate funding guide
  • Research Proposal
  • Two academic references or names and contact details of two academic referees. One professional reference (if applicable).
  • A copy of your Undergraduate transcript and certificate and Masters transcript and certificate (if applicable).   If you have not yet completed your course, please provide an up-to-date transcript.
  • A copy of your English language qualification, where applicable. Any non-native speaker who has not been awarded a degree by a University in the UK will be expected to demonstrate English language skills to IELTS 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in any section).

Short-listed applicants will be required to attend an interview.  Following the interview, applicants will receive an initial decision about whether they are being nominated for a Grand Union DTP scholarship. Nominees will be instructed to submit a formal online application via Brunel University Admissions.   A final decision from the DTP Panel on the award of a studentship will be advised by April 2017. All nominees who meet the required standard for doctoral study will also be advised of any alternative opportunities for doctoral study at Brunel.

Sponsored Brunel Industrial Doctorate Scheme (BIDS) - Industry sponsor: National Grid UK

Are you interested in a fast track career in Power Systems Engineering that is allied to an environmentally sustainable energy future? We want to recruit a full time PhD student to research the project PMU Enhanced Voltage Control to Accommodate Increased Interconnection on the GB Transmission System”. You would be funded by our prestigious ESPRC sponsored 3.5 year.Brunel Industrial Doctorate Scheme (BIDS) in Smart Power NetworksOur BIDS scheme offers environmentally focussed research in an industrial setting along with personal and professional development.

Successful applicants will receive payment of their tuition fees as well as an annual (tax free) stipend of £17,000, andbe based at National Grid House, Warwick Technology Park, Gallows Hill, Warwick.

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The PhD student research project will investigate and develop innovative cloud computing approaches to enable scalable and secure analysis of massive PMU data using state of the art infrastructure as a service (IaaS) technology that can be effectively deployed in order to:

  • Implement novel scalable and on-demand wide area monitoring solutions
  • Design, develop and deploy the most computationally effective cloud computing software solutions
  • Co-operate in designing and deploying big data analytics for interpreting information, and presenting results intuitively to end users using advanced user interface technologies
  • Enable secure multiple access to wide area monitoring systems and data.

Informal enquiries should be sent to Professor Gareth Taylor at gareth.taylor@brunel.ac.uk.

Entry Requirements
You should have or be expecting to gain a first or upper-second class honours degree in computer science, electronic and electrical engineering, or a closely related discipline. A Masters qualification is an advantage but not essential. Ideally having a strong personal interest in power systems and developing environmentally beneficial technology for the transmission and distribution of electrical power. You must also have a relevant connection with the UK, for example by having resided in the UK for 3 years not wholly or mainly for the purpose of receiving full time education, to meet EPSRC’s eligibility criteria for funding of an award.

How to apply
Please e-mail your application comprising all of the documents listed below by Noon on Wednesday 30 November 2016 to cedps-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk 

  • Your up-to-date CV;
  • A one A4 page statement setting out why you are a suitable candidate (i.e.: your skills and experience);
  • A copy of your highest degree certificate and transcript;
  • Evidence of English language skills to IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent), if appropriate;
  • Two academic references. 

Interviews will take place at GE Grid Solutions, Edinburgh in December 2016. You should be available for a January 2017 start.

For all other research degree opportunities visit our Research Degree homepage.