Loneliness is increasingly recognised as a major public health concern with considerable impact on the health. This is a highly complex issue and there are a wide range of risk factors including experiencing mental problems or disabilities, bereavement, caring for a sick relative. There is a need for more research evidence to unpack these vulnerabilities, how loneliness might develop over time and how it might be addressed among different populations.

The Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing at Ulster University and the Institute of Public Health in Ireland are developing a research partnership to address loneliness. We seek a strong candidate with excellent quantitative and writing skills who is able to undertake research in this area. We particularly seek to investigate the issue of loneliness among older people andor those with caregiving responsibilities.  However, we are open to research on other groups, providing that a good case can be made by the applicant.

The PhD will cover the following:

*To undertake a systematic review of the literature on a specific area of loneliness.

*To appraise the level of stigma that is associated with loneliness.

*To explore and provide analysis and commentary on data sets that are relevant to understanding loneliness across the lifecycle e.g. ELSA, NICOLA, TILDA, Growing up in Ireland.

*To explore the risk factors for loneliness especially the linkages between loneliness and depression, association and disassociation

Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

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.

  • Masters at 70%
  • Publications - peer-reviewed
  • Experience of presentation of research findings


This project is funded by: Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the home/EU rate and a maintenance allowance of £14,777 per annum for three years.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University


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Completing the MRes provided me with a lot of different skills, particularly in research methods and lab skills.

Michelle Clements Clements - MRes - Life and Health Sciences

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