Postgraduate research

Examining factors contributing to postgraduate researcher wellbeing and resilience

Qualification: PhD

Department: School of Psychology and Vision Sciences

Application deadline: 9 June 2023

Start date: September 2023



Professor Noelle Robertson, Dr. Ceri Jones and Professor Liz Anderson

Project Description:

Undertaking doctoral study can be a time of transition and change, particularly for those researchers completing PhD studies (Laudel & Gläser, 2008). Embarking on higher degrees for postgraduate researchers (PGRs) implies a commitment to further study, but with some uncertainty and precarity about progression, utility of degree and future career opportunities. Understandably, the uncertainties inherent in postgraduate study can affect wellbeing, yet is also a time in which future resilience can be shaped (Schmidt & Hansson, 2018). 

Wellbeing can be defined as “having the emotional resilience to cope with everyday pressures, enjoy life and undertake productive work while having a belief in one’s own and others’ worth” (Brown, 2016, p.1). PGRs struggling with their mental health may find their wellbeing adversely affected, compromising their studies, the research programmes in which they are embedded, and potentially jeopardising fruitful careers in academia and industry. Indeed, there has been increased attention examining the wellbeing and mental health of university students in the UK (Brown, 2016), as an escalation in demand for counselling and disability services within higher education institutions has become evident (Thorley, 2017).

Previous research reveals that PGRs report lower levels of psychological health, elevated anxiety, and lower life satisfaction than the general population. This project will seek to understand key factors contributing to PGR wellbeing. In particular hybrid study modalities and the relatively underexplored impact of distance learning will be scrutinised in the post-pandemic context. The project will also seek to understand specific stressors (individual, interpersonal and organisational), support strategies for PGRs and the potential for compassion-focused approaches and reflective peer support (drawn from other public sector initiatives) to enhance wellbeing within the higher education environment.



Future 50 Studentship provides:

  • 3.5 years Stipend at UKRI rates, currently at £17,668 per annum (2023/2024 rates yet to be announced)
  • 3.5 years Tuition Fees at UK rates (£4,712 for 2023/4)
  • Research costs of up to £5,000 per annum, and a training and travel grant of up to £1,500 per annum.

The stipend is for 3.5 years and research and training costs for 3 years.

International students must be able to fund the difference between UK and International fees for the duration of their studies. This will amount to £17,138 per year.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject. 

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply

Informal enquiries

Informal enquiries

Project / Funding Enquiries: – Professor Noelle Robertson

Application enquiries:

How to apply

How to apply

To apply, please use the Apply button at the bottom of the page and select September 2023 from the dropdown menu.

With your application, please include:

  • CV
  • Personal statement explaining your interest in the project, your experience and why we should consider you.
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable.
  • In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.
  • In the funding section please specify Future 50 PVS Robertson 
  • In the research proposal section please provide the name of the project supervisors and the project title (a proposal is not required).



Open to UK and International* applicants

*International applicants please refer to the funding section.

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