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Funded PhD Opportunity

Developing and evaluating a sexual wellbeing resource for people living with head and neck cancer

Subject: Nursing and Health


Summary

The treatment of most head and neck cancer leaves the patient with decreased function and physical deformity in the head and neck, especially the mouth. These side effects can result in dripping of saliva, odour, reduced physical mobility (speech and movement) which impacts on the ability to be both sexual and intimate. This has resulted in sexual dysfunction issues causing such outcomes as the relationship breakdown and loss in confidence. This is concerning as oral cancer rates have increased by 68% in the past 20 years. Oropharyngeal cancer is now being diagnosed in patients aged 20 upwards, in the main due to oncogenic HPV virus. Problems with intimacy and sexual dysfunction in patients with cancer of the head and neck are often not recognised and generally go untreated. There are some services to support intimacy issues for people with gynaecological, breast or prostate cancer but limited support available for head and neck cancer patients.

METHODS: The aim of this study is to develop and evaluate a resource for patients with head and neck cancer to promote their sexual wellbeing. Through a ‘person based approach’ a systematic literature review, qualitative interviews and the input of an expert group, a tailored based intervention will be developed. Following iterative testing (through think aloud interviews with users), formal evaluation of the will take place. This evaluation will include both qualitative and quantitative methods.

INHR FIT:  This study is bridging two ongoing programmes of research currently being led at Ulster University, INHR, 1) maximising sexual wellbeing post prostate cancer for men and partners and 2) providing psychosocial support for head and neck cancer patients post treatment.


Essential criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Relevant professional qualification and/or a Degree in a Health or Health related area

Funding

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training studentship grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


Other information


The Doctoral College at Ulster University


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Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 19 February 2018

Interview Date
20th or 21st March 2018 TBC


Applying

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Contact supervisor

Professor Eilis McCaughan


Other supervisors

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