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Funded PhD Opportunity

Healthy Urban Environments. Assessing the needs and expectations of Young People across European Cities

Subject: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning


Summary

Over the last decade, there has been increasing interest in the link between the built environment and health.  Research suggests that characteristics aligned to a healthy neighbourhood environment can significantly influence wellbeing and quality of life, and by inference, reduce the current financial burden on the Heath Sector.  Evidence shows social or wider determinants of health such as employment, education, housing, leisure opportunities, social relationships and public infrastructure play a bigger role than health care services in influencing the health of any population Whilst the value of connecting urban environments and health and wellbeing are now better recognised through initiatives such as the WHO Healthy Cities and BRE Healthy Cities Index, what is less understood is the relationships between the many complex factors that influence the spatial and socioeconomic dimensions of city spaces and, in turn health and wellbeing.

The impact of planning and government decisions on the health of adolescent populations has notably received much less attention in terms of research development. The size of the youth population, and their limited opportunities to choose or change the environment which they inhabit, are two salient reasons to determine current views and perceptions of urban spaces and their impacts and influence on adolescent populations.  Indeed, being able to walk to school in a safe and healthy environment, along with the opportunity to access green spaces and high-quality local amenities, have been cited as key drivers for enhancing physical activity and overall well-being. However, little is currently known regarding the value and importance which young people place on these environmental characteristics.

Whilst there is no universally accepted definition of adolescence, young people and / or youth, for the purpose of this research, youth will be defined as any child between the ages of 10-19 as in accordance with the World Health Organisation (2014). Recently collected data within the Belfast Metropolitan Area, shows that there are vast disparities in deprivation and associated health and wellbeing indicators, however the implications on the specific youth population is difficult to ascertain.   Research shows that in most cities, the greatest level of need is concentrated in neighbourhoods where poverty levels are highest and social outcomes are poorest. As such, this innovative research, endeavours to identify prominent urban characteristics required to provide a healthy urban environment as well as the risk factors that may inhibit health and wellbeing.

Using a case study approach, the study will compare and contrast several European cities alongside the Belfast Metropolitan Area, with a view to identifying the urban characteristics impacting on health and wellbeing and the value placed on these characteristics by younger users of the built environment.  This unique, and internationally relevant research will help to influence policy by providing guidance to urban designers, city planners and policy makers in order to ensure that prospective urban environments are better designed and potentially retrofitted to improve health and wellbeing and ultimately to support the needs and aspirations of a modern adolescent population.


AccessNI clearance required

Please note, the successful candidate will be required to obtain AccessNI clearance prior to registration due to the nature of the project.


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.
  • Clearly defined research proposal detailing background, research questions, aims and methodology

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 support 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 support 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 support 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 support 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

Key dates

Submission deadline
Friday 7 February 2020

Interview Date
Week beginning 9 March 2020


Applying

Apply Online  


Campus

Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses


Contact supervisor

Professor Martin Haran


Other supervisors

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