PhDs and postgraduate research
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.The University of Portsmouth hosts the Centre for European and International Studies Research and the International Centre for Research in Forensic Psychology.
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.
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 Angela Crack | NGO accountability, NGO-community relationships, the role of language and translation in NGO development work, civil society space, and transnational advocacy networks
- 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 in historical perspective, esp 19th and 20th-century Britain; workplace, roads, home & leisure; Transport and mobility history, particularly 19th and 20th-century Britain, including railways and roads: cultural and social approaches; Everyday life, 19th and 20th-century Britain – including reading, functional literacy, and experience' 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 (late 19th and 20th centuries); Global maritime interactions in early 20th century East Asia; The use of naval power in littoral environments during the early 20th century: gunboat diplomacy, amphibious operations, and imperial policing.
- Dr Mathias Seiter | Nation-building and national identity in 19th and 20th-century Germany, including the construction of regional identities and notions of Heimat; Urban-maritime history, in particular on port towns in Germany; 19th and 20th century German-Jewish history.
- Prof David Andress | Transnational revolutionary histories, 18th/19th centuries; Trust and distrust as features of interpersonal economic, social & cultural life, and their significance in periods of revolutionary political change – definitions of citizenship, authority, modes of mobilisation & leadership, boundaries of political community.
- 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 Karl Bell | Urbanisation and supernatural beliefs, c.1780–1930; the relationship between environment, folkloric narratives, communal identity and modernity; magic, the occult, and spiritualism; past visions of the future.
- Dr Joseph Burridge | Social and cultural approaches to food and drink, the sociology of culture, media representation, and discourse analytic approaches to identity.
- 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 | Values, identification and ideology, LGBTQ+. Critical discursive methodologies (applied to any topic).
- Zuleika Sheik | Decolonial feminism, Black Feminism, Black Studies, Intersectionality, Abolition Studies, Decolonial and Indigenous methodologies, social justice, transformative justice, higher education, Chicana Feminism, Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Epistemologies of the South, International Development Studies.
- Dr Bethany Simmonds | Ageing, Health, Wellbeing, the Body, Neoliberalism, Precarity, Responsibilisation, COVID-19, Necropolitics and Intergenerational Ageism.
- Dr Simon Stewart | Cultural sociology/sociology of culture; taste and value; aesthetics and evaluative judgements; class and culture; culture and inequality; cultural globalization; migrant homelessness
- Professor Anita Franklin | Children and young people’s social policy, practice and activism. Children’s rights; Disabled children and young people and special educational needs; Abuse, exploitation and protection of children and young people; Children and young people’s voice, participation and advocacy; Children and young people as researchers.
- 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 Ottis Mubaiwa | Violence against Women and Girls, Social and Gender Inequality, Social Norms and Behaviour Change. Harmful Cultural Practices: Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, Bride Price.
- 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 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
- 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 Tom Smith | Topics: International Relations, Terrorism, Security, Conflict, Human Rights, Southeast Asian politics. Project: Mapping the linkages in the political violence of South East Asia's authoritarian (re)turn
- 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 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 Lawrence Patihis | Memory distortions; Trauma and dissociation
- 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 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 Axelle Philippon | Moral injury in the context of child protection team work
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. Paul Conway | Moral decision-making; Self-perception in the moral domain.
- 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 Erik Gustafsson | Curiosity and exploratory behaviours in children and adults; Food neophobia and picky/fussy eating; Effect of counter-stereotypical adverts/models on children's toy choice; Epistemic trust: What is driving vaccine hesitancy?; How could the Leitner system improve self-efficacy and learning in students?; Motivational systems trade-offs (for example Child care vs Disease avoidance).
- 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 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 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 £15,609 (2021/22 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.
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 SDTP6330122.
For applications in Psychology use this online application form quoting project code SDTP6340122.
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.
The application deadline is Monday 24 January 2022.