DocFest; 20th June 2019; PhD Candidates

ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) bursary

Fund your Social Sciences or Psychology PhD through the ESRC SCDTP bursary

Applications are now open to UK and international students for the 2023 entry round of PhD bursaries, funded by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP).

The University of Portsmouth is part of the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP), alongside the Universities of Southampton and Brighton.

The SCDTP is a beacon of excellence, innovation and imagination in the training of the next generation of social scientists. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the South Coast DTP will be awarding a minimum of 38 studentships per year to social scientists carrying out PhD studies, or Masters + PhD studies.

All three universities are home to research centres with global reputations for their expertise and excellence, alongside a diversity of other specialisms.

For more information on topics open to applications at the University, explore the Area Studies and Psychology sections below.

SCDTP programme highlights

  • Monthly training sessions for the whole SCDTP cohort
  • A wide-ranging training programme including skills workshops, PhD forums, research groups, seminars and reading groups
  • Thematic Cluster Pathway (TCP) inter-disciplinary training across the whole duration of the programme
  • High profile events such as a final year conference, a student-led SCDTP Research Methods Festival, an annual residential trip and collaborative workshops
  • Access to the Research Training Support Grant (RTSG), intended to pay for expenses which the student/supervisor/department deem to be in direct support of a student’s research, including fieldwork or attending specialist training courses
  • Extensions to funding available for internships and overseas visits

Explore our research areas

You should approach potential supervisors with your own research idea, or may develop a proposal to fit within our areas of expertise in Area Studies and Psychology. Check the box below for more details, and to make contact with our supervisors and research coordinators.


Area Studies

The University's Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) brings together world leading research in Area Studies. There are more than 60 members of CEISR, and their research is organised into nine clusters.

  • Dr Alessia Tranchese | Representation of violence against women in the media. Critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics (especially in relation to feminism) Misogyny and sexism online

  • Dr Mike Esbester | Risk, safety & accident prevention. Collaborative & co-productive methodologies, including digital techniques and working with museums & heritage partners.

  • Dr Matthew Heaslip |  The Royal Navy and its role within Britain's wider imperial system, during both peace and war.

  • Dr Mathias Seiter | Nation-building and national identity in 19th and 20th-century Germany.

  • Dr Lana Chikhungu | The impact of Aid and NGOs in Development focusing on the Sub Saharan region. 

  • Dr Angela Crack | NGO accountability, NGO-community relationships, the role of language and translation in NGO development work, civil society space, and transnational advocacy networks. 

  • Prof Wolfram Kaiser | European Union past and present; Transnational networks (political and social groups, experts and so on); European Parliament and transnational democracy; Political parties in the UK and Europe; Narratives and counter-narratives of (European) regional integration; Cultural representations of the European past.

  • Dr. Melita Lazell | Securitisation of development aid Western donors and foreign aid International organisations (such as WTO, IMF and World Bank) and development Global governance and development

  • Dr Brigitte Leucht | The politics and history of transnational and transatlantic relations, Europe, and international organisations; Lived experiences of European market integration in a comparative context.

  • Dr Joseph Burridge | Social and cultural approaches to food and drink, the sociology of culture, media representation, and discourse analytic approaches to identity. 

  • Dr Laura Hyman | The sociology of happiness, emotional wellbeing, mental health and higher education.

  •  Dr Charles Leddy-Owen | Contemporary nationalism, national identity, racism (including whiteness studies) and attitudes towards immigration, with a particular focus on England.

  • Dr Rusten Menard |  Critical / social constructionist approaches to social values, identification and ideology; Subjugated standpoints and social transformation; Queer and trans studies. Critical discourse analysis and critical discursive psychology, applied to any topic 

  • Professor Barry Smart | Social theory; Critical theory and philosophy; Capitalism and the Anthropocene; Consumerism, environment and climate; Species being, ethics, and veganism; Cultural economy of modern professional sport.

  • Dr Simon Stewart | Migrant homelessness; cultural sociology/sociology of culture; taste and aesthetics; evaluative judgements; social class; culture and inequality; cultural globalisation. 

  • Dr Lana Chikhungu | Child health, Maternal and Reproductive Health, Female Genital Mutilation, Violence against Women and Girls, Girls' Education and Sexual Abuse in the Sub Saharan Africa, Women Economic empowerment, Aid in Developing countries.

  • Dr Zara Martin |  Gender in international development. Social justice issues surrounding religion, ethnic and caste equality, refugee rights and political resistance. Development programme evaluation.

  • Professor Tamsin Bradley | Violence against Women and Girls, Harmful Cultural Practices (FGM), Modern Slavery, South Asia, Africa.

  • Dr Francesca Salvi | Children and young people in the Global South, transitions to adulthood, pregnancy and parenthood and its intersections with education and work, gender, identity, agency, sexual and reproductive health, development, late and multiple modernities.

  • Dr Jodi Burkett | Student politics and activism (historical and contemporary); international students.

  • Dr Annabel Tremlett | Public and local representations of minority groups in Europe, particularly Roma and post-EU accession migrants.

  • Dr Lexie Scherer | Children’s and young people’s agency, participative/creative research methods. Literacy and learning to read; Qualitative approaches to sleep in young children.

  • Prof Tony Chafer | Security and governance in the western Sahel; Military interventions in Africa. Franco-African relations. French/European military and security policy in Africa.

  • Dr Isabelle Cheng | East Asian security and the rise of China; Labour and marriage migration in East Asia with reference to activism, care work, citizenship, digital platform and nation-building; Cold War in East Asia and war heritage

  • Prof Peter Lee | The politics and ethics of war and military intervention, the ethics and ethos of lethal military drone operations, the politics and ethics of identity, and the application of Foucauldian conceptions of power, truth and subjectivity to contemporary political discourse.

  • Dr Ed Stoddard | Changing character of warfare, security/strategic studies, West African/Sahel security, political economy and security (especially energy), regional security politics/dynamics (esp. the Former Soviet Union, the Gulf and West Africa) and comparative authoritarianism. 

  • Dr Tom Smith | Topics: International Relations, Terrorism, Security, Conflict, Human Rights, Southeast Asian politics.

  • Dr Mark Youngman | North Caucasus, particularly protest and conflict; Terrorism and political violence; Ideology and identity in civil wars and insurgency; Social movements and protest Authoritarianism in Russia.

  • Dr Naheem Jabbar | Social Reform Movements, Religious minorities in South Asia, Militarism and Securitisation of Protest, Surveillance and Islam in Britain, Disability Rights in the Global South, Ethnic Minority activism in the UK.

  • Dr Ann Emerson | Education in Conflict affected contexts, intersectionality and marginalisation in education, education and gender, citizenship education, critical textbook and curriculum analysis, Education and religion, specifically in post-colonial Muslim majority countries.



The Department of Psychology is home to internationally-renowned experts and exceptional facilities for practical and theoretical research. There are over 45 members of staff, organized into four research centres; the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology (ICRFP), the Centre for Comparative and Evolutionary Psychology (CCEP), the Centre for Interaction, Development & Diversity, and the Quality of Life, Health & Wellbeing research group.  

  • Dr Lucy Akehurst | Investigative interviewing, and credibility assessment, of child witnesses and/or vulnerable/intimidated adult witnesses

  • Dr Hartmut Blank | Reversibility of memory distortion / false memories; Applied/eyewitness memory (e.g. effects of multiple misinformation); Hindsight bias ('Knew it all along' effect); Meta-analysis

  • Dr Ana Gheorghiu | First impressions and their effects in social and legal outcomes; How does a person’s appearance influence our judgement and decision-making?; Social judgement; impression formation; person perception; judgement and decision-making

  • Dr Alistair Harvey | Alcohol and cognition Impact of acute alcohol intoxication on the distribution of spatial attention, selective listening, face processing, auditory/visual memory, eyewitness memory & executive tasks/functions Tinnitus and cognition The cognitive pathway from tinnitus generation to tinnitus distress Cognitive load/reserve and tinnitus distress Cognitive bias in tinnitus patients Developing cognitive interventions to alleviate tinnitus distress

  • Dr Dominic Pearson | Evaluation of programmes for reducing offending behaviour; Evaluation of training for practitioners; The role of monitoring in assessment and management of people subject to custodial release; The impact of Dad deprivation on the development of offending.

  • Dr Renan Saraiva | Memory performance and eliciting information in forensic contexts; Eyewitness memory; Lineup identifications; Memory and ageing; Metamemory and metacognition; Investigative interviewing

  • Dr Zarah Vernham | Lie detection; Detecting deception using a collective interviewing approach; Collaborative memory; Examining the utility of individuating strategies in collaborative recall contexts; Investigative Interviewing; Information elicitation in forensic contexts; Offender behaviour and cognition

  • Prof Aldert Vrij | Verbal cues to deception; Lie detection through analysing speech; Interviewing to detect deception (designing interview protocols that elicit or further enhance verbal cues to deceit); The myth of nonverbal cues to deception and lie detection; Development of interview protocols to distinguish truth tellers and lie tellers who discuss their opinion; Comparing online – face to face investigative interviews (in terms of eliciting information and cues to deceit)

  • Dr Miznah Al-Abbadey | Chronic pain – impact and management; Psychosocial outcomes and cancer, including cancer-related pain; The development and validation of patient reported outcome measures

  • Dr Nina Attridge |  The impact of pain on cognitive function, including attention, reasoning and decision making.

  • Dr Chris Jones | Social Acceptance of Energy Technologies: Assessing public attitudes and behaviour towards established and emerging supply and demand side technology options (e.g., nuclear power, wind power, carbon dioxide storage and utilisation, smart metering), including understanding the implications for health and well-being, planning policy, public communication, and engagement.

 Sustainability and Environmental Behaviour: Assessing the factors that facilitate and inhibit action on environmental issues and the promotion of more consistent sustainable behaviour (e.g., compensatory beliefs and moral licensing), including studying the interface between business/industry and the public.

  • Dr Daphne Kaklamanou | Behaviour Change in health related behaviour (e.g. exercise, smoking) and within more specific populations (e.g. diabetes, obesity); Self-Regulation in Health Behaviour – specifically looking at trade-offs within health behaviours (e.g. compensatory health beliefs, self-licensing); User experience of Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS) and new technologies

  • Dr Nils Niederstrasser | Biopsychosocial factors influencing different aspects of pain; Recovery from post-surgical pain; Interactions between pain and cognition; Specific projects: Can we use markers of speech to assess pain?; Can we reduce pain and/or pain catastrophizing using text-based information?; Observing Pain in Others – Effects on Pain Catastrophizing


  • Dr Lorenzo Stafford | Sensory system (mainly smell and taste) influences on eating and drinking behaviour; Alcohol, addiction (inc gambling); Eating behaviour – obesity, eating disorders, food neophobia and picky eating; The emotion of Disgust and its many faces.

  • Dr Darren Van Laar | Organisational Psychology and Human Factors; The Quality of Working Life and job satisfaction of employees, and comparisons across occupational sub groups (e.g. nurses, barristers, teachers) or countries (e.g. UK, Turkey, Spain), including stress and wellbeing; Applied psychology projects; Psychometric scale construction.

  •  Dr Emine Gurbuz | Emotional contagion via reading and therapeutic implications of reading interventions


  • Dr. Nina Attridge | The development of reasoning, critical thinking and decision making skills through education. Dual-processes in reasoning

  • Dr.Alessandra Fasulo | Communication in Healthcare settings; Atypical interactions (i.e. with and between people with language impairments of different nature); Autism seen through autobiographical and narrative data; Conversation analysis projects.

  • Dr Emine Gurbuz | Social interactions and double-empathy problem in autistic adults; Mental health and well-being in autistic university students; Cross-cultural comparisons of experiences of autistic university students.

  • Dr Steven Kapp | Autism and social justice (personality or advocacy); Autistic people’s experiences and identity; Views on supports and treatments of autism; Employment of autistic adults.

  • Dr. Iris Nomikou | Language Development and Language Socialisation; Factors contributing to heterogeneity/ diversity in development; Typical and atypical development Multimodality in interaction/ communication.

  • Dr Kagari Shibazaki | Cross-cultural and comparative perspectives; Development of gender stereotypes in young children; Children’s collaborative creativity; Arts and Health, especially with a focus on music and dementia; Psychology of Music; Music and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

  • Dr Eszter Somogyi | Development of prosocial behaviours; Child-robot interaction; Effect of mindfulness in schools on children's wellbeing and academic performance; Effect of mindfulness in schoolteachers and nursery teachers; Children's learning in museums and other informal settings; Infant body know-how; Vocal and gestural communication in infancy.


  • Dr Lucy Bates | Value of wildlife (especially elephants) to humans; Mitigating conflicts between humans and elephants; Using knowledge of elephant behaviour and sociality to design effective strategies that encourage peaceful coexistence; Evolution of empathy and social knowledge; Using elephants as model species. 

  • Dr Marina Davila-Ross | Evolution of humor: laughter and teasing in children and great apes; Emotional contagion and the development of empathy in playful interactions; Early language development and protophones: A new cross-cultural and cross-species approach to examine vocal production; Conservation psychology: The impact of humans on rehabilitation and sanctuary great apes

  • Dr Esther Herrmann | Cooperation and Self-Control; How are developmental factors and cultural characteristics influence cooperation and self-control?; Understanding the evolutionary origins of cooperation and self-control; Impact of social relationships on cooperative decision making. Specific topics: Prosociality, Reputation, Risk and Trust.

  • Dr Marine Joly | Evolution of Inhibitory control; Navigation in the physical and social space; Social tolerance and inhibitory control; Inhibitory control and risk-taking behaviour; Social network and spatial movements; Navigation and social interactions (in Virtual Reality); Individual differences in the Virtual Reality experience (e.g. VR sickness).

  • Dr Jérôme Micheletta | Macaque communication and social behaviour; Conservation and Education NetFACS, using network science to study facial expressions; Social tolerance, social complexity and communication complexity; Conservation Education around the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.

  • Dr Sophie Milward | General topics: Development, evolution and individual differences in social cognitive skills: Theory of Mind; Task Co-representation; Executive Functions; Empathy; Emotion Contagion. Collaboration and joint action. Specific projects: The importance of visibility of the face and eyes for human-unique collaborative efficacy; Beyond the dyad: task co-representation of multiple co-actors; Development and individual differences in understanding and contagion of affective and cognitive states.

  • Dr Edward Morrison | Evolutionary psychology; Facial perception; Movement and social perception.

  • Dr Leanne Proops | Improving the lives of people in low-middle income countries through improving the lives of their working equids; Equid responses to social separation and grief.

Funding information and eligibility 

The studentships are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for social science research in Area Studies or Psychology only (the former covers a range of international social scientific disciplines). The studentships cover University of Portsmouth tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £17,668 (2022/23 rate).

The SCDTP is able to accept applications from UK and Overseas applicants to all of our accredited disciplines/pathways, however due to UKRI funding conditions, awards to non-UK residents are capped to a maximum of 30% of the total number of studentships awarded.  

Entry Requirements 

You must have qualifications equivalent to a good honours degree (first- or upper second-class level) from a UK academic higher education institution. Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.  Studentships are open to UK, EU and international students.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

The first thing you’ll need is a University supervisor to support your SCDTP application – so you’ll need to contact prospective supervisors before you submit an application.

You're strongly encouraged to regularly discuss your research proposal with the supervisor as it is developed. ESRC studentships are highly competitive and it is crucial that applications are as good as they possibly can be. Please check the areas of expertise listed in the 'Explore our research areas' section above and then contact the relevant supervisor to discuss your idea further.

For applications in Area Studies, please use this online application form quoting project code SDTP7270123.

For applications in Psychology use this online application form quoting project code SDTP7280123

Please note: you’ll need to submit two applications, an online application to the University of Portsmouth plus an application for funding to the SCDTP. For more details, visit the SCDTP website.

Application deadline

The application deadline is Monday 23 January 2023.