Project code


Start dates

October 2021

Application deadline

18 January 2021

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD or four-year Masters and PhD studentship to commence in October 2021. 

The studentship is funded by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP), a collaboration between the universities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton.

The studentship covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,285 (2020/21 rate).

The supervisors are Professor Claire Nee, Professor Van Gelder (Director, Max Planck Institute for Study of Crime, Security and Law) and  Dr Strommer (ECR psychologist, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton).

The work on this project will:

  • Use findings from research on eating, exercise, and antisocial behaviour in young people to explore the processes underpinning problematic behaviour.
  • Explore new ways to address problematic behaviour using VR. 

Young people from marginalised backgrounds experience many risk factors from conception onwards (poor nutrition, sleep, security, aggression, substance misuse) leaving them more likely to indulge in risky, damaging behaviour. This is associated with poorer outcomes in education, employment, mental health, quality of life and crime. Virtual reality is an engaging research method that allows people to demonstrate and potentially change behaviours that are hard to articulate. This interdisciplinary project will use findings from research on eating, exercise, and antisocial behaviour in young people to explore the processes underpinning problematic behaviour and new ways to address it, using VR.

Entry requirements

All candidates must hold a good honours degree (2:1 and above) from a recognised higher education institution. Please note, students applying without a Master's qualification containing a substantial Social Sciences methods component may be required to complete such a Master's beforehand. The Master's will be fully funded by the SCDTP and will be run from the University of Southampton.

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


Applicants for this PhD position should have at least a completed BA or BSc honours level degree in Psychology, Criminology or Health Science with a minimum 2.1 award. You should have evidenced competency in multivariate and qualitative data analysis. Good interpersonal skills for engaging with marginalised groups, plus an interest in VR are required.

The first thing you will need is a University supervisor to support your SCDTP application -- so you’ll need to contact the project supervisors before you submit an application. 

The project will require you to discuss possible methods and research design as well as detailing how your skills, background, and research interests match the project. 

It is therefore very important that you discuss the project with the supervisor.  

Full instructions are given on the SCDTP application form and there are different word limits depending on whether you are applying for a 1+3 (ie Masters in Social Research Methods plus PhD) or +3 (PhD only).  

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

When applying to the University, please quote project code: SDTP5780121