Digital technologies and creative thinking: enhancing the living environment of adults with learning disabilities who have dementia

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2021.

To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Health Studies, then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Health Professions and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Take a look at the Doctoral College's general information on applying for a research degree.

Director of Studies: Dr Alison Warren, Associate Professor, Academic Lead and Lecturer in Occupational Therapy (, tel.: +44 1752 587582

2nd and 3rd supervisors will be from the School of Health professions and Centre for Technology, University of Plymouth 

Applications are invited for a three year PhD studentship in an exciting opportunity to study in a pre-determined area with a post-doctoral team in the School of Health Professions. The studentship will commence on the 1 October 2021.

Project description 

Brandon Trust is an independent charity, supporting young people and adults with a learning disability and dementia by providing individualised support to enhance a person’s quality of life. Zion House, part of Brandon Trust, provides supported accommodation for eleven people living with learning disabilities and dementia. The concept of digital health solutions forms a key part of the NHS five year plan. The recent re-development in St Agnes, Cornwall presents an exciting opportunity to deliver a pilot project examining the impact of creative digital solutions in maintaining and enhancing independence, health and wellbeing for the people living in Zion House. 

This PhD aims to develop an evidence base of bespoke digital solutions to support individuals living in Zion House in the use of enabling technologies through: 

  • Reviewing the evidence base on the role of digital technologies for adults with learning disabilities and dementia.
  • Piloting the acceptability and feasibility of creative, bespoke digital solutions.  
  • Evaluating the support model aimed at enhancing independence, health and wellbeing. 

The successful applicant will have an understanding of potential needs of individuals with a learning disability, an interest in creative problem solving and some awareness of digital health technologies. The successful PhD candidate will be a 'researcher in residence', based on site at Zion House for part of the week.


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. Experience and interest in digital technologies as well as working in a collaborative manner with people with learning disabilities or living with dementia is desirable. 

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,590 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the home and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £12,763 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Alison Warren (

Applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

For general information about applying for a research degree at the University of Plymouth and to apply for this position please visit:

This vacancy will involve working with children and/or vulnerable adults and any appointment will be subject a Disclosure and Barring Service check. 

  • a completed application form
  • CV with two references (one should be an academic reference)
  • a covering letter detailing your suitability for the studentship explaining how your prior experience and qualifications relates to the area of inquiry (800 word limit)
  • an outline of the methods and timeline needed to complete the project described (400 word limit)
  • candidates who do not have English as a first language are required to provide an IELTS test report that must be dated within two years of the start of the programme. Overall IELTS score of 7.0 required, with not less than 6.5 in each of the four components. 

Please mark it FAO Doctoral College, and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Health Professions.

For more information on the admissions process contact Doctoral College  

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on the 30 April 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview on the week beginning 17 May. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by the 17:00 on the 7 May should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.