Funded PhD Project (UK students only)

Project code



Department of Psychology

Start dates

Closing date

23 January 2020

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only.
View our current projects here.

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 is available to UK students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (2019/20 rate).

The supervisors are Dr Renan Saraiva (Lecturer, University of Portsmouth) and Prof. Lorraine Hope (Applied Cognitive Psychology, University of Portsmouth). 

This PhD presents a unique opportunity to the successful candidate to be part of the SCDTP cohort as well as the University’s Department of Psychology.

The research will examine:

  • The nature of the relationship between metamemory awareness and memory performance in normal aging
  • The impact of theory-based interventions designed to increase metacognitive awareness on memory performance in older adults

This project will examine the role of metacognition in understanding and predicting how memory changes in normal ageing, wherein older adults make more memory errors but show substantial individual differences in performance.

Metacognition refers to individuals’ beliefs about their own memory ability, self-efficacy regarding their abilities, and awareness of strategies that may improve memory performance. Interventions based on increasing self-efficacy and encouraging the use of memory strategies such as association, organisation, and imagery have shown promising results in terms of improving older adults’ memory performance.

However, this literature is sparse and has not yet focused on valid assessments of metamemory to understand how such interventions can change older adults’ beliefs about their memory.

The project aims to:

  • develop a valid assessment of metacognitive awareness for older adults; and
  • test the effectiveness of targeted interventions based on the promotion of self-efficacy and strategy-use in improving memory performance

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

All candidates must be a UK resident and 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.


Undergraduate degree in Psychology or related discipline and experience with quantitative research methods. Depending on experience, they may be required to complete the MRes Science (1+3).

How to apply

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: PSYC5070120

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