Students living in the UK

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 students living in the UK only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (2019/20 rate).

The supervisors are Dr Steven Kapp, Dr Beatiz Lopez, and Dr Yvonne Rueckert.

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 Autism Centre for Research on Employment,  and the Centre for Situated Action and Communication.

The work will look at:

  • What are the best practices of autism employment in the UK from the perspective of stakeholders including employers, autistic adults, parents, and care providers?

This project aims to investigate the persistent, unnecessarily costly problem of poor autism employment (Scott et al., 2017). It will apply qualitative research methods including the generation of conversational processes (roundtable discussions using the World Café approach) and semi-structured interviews with different UK stakeholders (e.g. autistic adults, employers, parents, health and social care providers, autism charities).

Participants will generate and share ideas surrounding obstacles to the employment of autistic people and possible solutions. The objective is to develop policy and industry recommendations designed to be accessible to the autism community, to leverage community expertise and build connections. Research will be co-produced with the UK research charity Autistica’s Insight participatory research group of autistic adults as well as parents and carers of autistic people.

The project will benefit from consultations with organisers of planned stakeholder events in the UK and Switzerland (Dr Hester Velthuis and Kim Ruefenacht) to identify obstacles to overcome, as well as links with other autism employment researchers (e.g. Dr Marc Fabri, Dr Jonathan Vincent) and the wider research community (e.g. Autistica).

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.

Applicants for this PhD position should have at least a completed BA or BSc honours level degree in Psychology or a related discipline from an accredited course with a minimum 2.1 award. Other requirements include knowledge and experience of analysing qualitative data and strong command of English. Experience with autism research and the autism community is desired.

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: PSYC4950120

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