Talking students

PhD studies

Expert supervision in a broad range of areas

We have a diverse range of staff with a wealth of expertise in a variety of health and applied social science disciplines to support students through their studies.

We provide an excellent environment in which to develop and supervise MPhil and PhD students and have a thriving postgraduate research programme where students are seen as a valued and integral part of the research culture. Expert-based supervision can be offered on a range of topics and areas including alcohol; drugs; violence; sexual health; tobacco; obesity; injury; population health; intelligence and surveillance; environment and sustainability; paramedicine and international public health.

Get in touch with us if you are interested in pursuing a PhD.

Featured PhD Studies

Below you'll find two examples of current PhD studies:

The effect of smokers' harm reduction strategies on the levels of second hand smoke in the home

This study aims to evaluate and measure how exposure to tobacco smoke within homes varies according to smoking behaviour and to assess the value of an intervention using in home measurements for smoking cessation and harm reduction. There is much debate on the effectiveness of harm reduction strategies, such as smoking outside or by a window, used by parents to reduce child exposure to second hand smoke, with members of the tobacco control community claiming such strategies are ineffective, yet little research has been done to justify this. How such strategies are decided upon and negotiated within households is also open to further exploration. This study will address these gaps by measuring pm2.5 a known environmental marker used for measuring air quality and a component of second-hand smoke. Four measurements of pm2.5 will be taken from outside the home, in the kitchen, living room and a bedroom of homes, using air particle monitors to take measurements over a week to assess how strategies used relate to levels of second hand smoke in the home and to establish how smoke moves around the home. There will also be a qualitative aspect to the study which will be conducted following participants having been shown their individual home measurements; this aspect will gather information that will both enrich the quantitative data set and provide insight into how households negotiate which harm reduction strategies they employ and if being shown the measurements has played any part in encouraging further smoking cessation or inspiration to quit altogether. Public health outcomes will be a determination of which strategies are the most effective (if any) at reducing child exposure to second hand smoke, evidence of how smoke moves around the home and whether in house measurements can be used as a successful means of intervention in smoking cessation.

Author: Vicky McIntyre
Supervisory team: Dr Ivan Gee, Dr Gordon Hay, Sean Semple

A life history study of the emergence of the substance misuse recovery movement and mutual aid community in the North West UK

This life history study will look at the recent emergence of addiction recovery and mutual aid in the North West seen through the eyes of the movement’s leadership elite. The North West is the driver of a UK addiction recovery and mutual aid movement. As numbers in recovery build it is an important moment to assess the cultural phenomenon of the fount of recovery in the North West. The objectives are:

  • To capture these individual life stories and articulate the recent story of the recovery movement in the North West of England
  • To examine addiction recovery as a public health discourse, through the eyes of these elite figures
  • To compare local notions of addiction recovery over the last 10 years with the development of earlier discourses of addiction recovery from the 19th and 20th centuries in the United Kingdom and United States and their understanding of the concept and its wider parameters

The research will reveal insights into the local cultural meaning of addiction recovery as we approach a new political dawn for public health. The recovery movement may in its unique and highly local way have much to offer the wider community and have the potential to influence future public health as localism social value and public sector reform agendas develop. The movement’s elite leadership is also at a critical stage. First as individual leaders, secondly, representing rapidly growing and diverse organizations, with a range of existential challenges. This is happening within a rapidly evolving landscape of austerity, public sector reform, and localism. Whist the contribution to public health of local recovery and mutual aid is becoming more apparent the elite leaders want to secure the progress of the movement. What has been learned needs to be documented and reflected upon and synthesized for the next steps to be clear. There are clear parallels in the evidence base for the recovery from drug and alcohol addictions with smoking cessation, weight control, mental health and criminal justice. Recovery is a product of social justice and comes from creating the conditions whereby growing desistance from drug and alcohol use and offending, which leads to periods of stability and increasing physical and mental wellness. Studies into addiction recovery show high levels of health and wellbeing amongst those in organized recovery and high levels of motivation for personal change and to put something back into society. These features are of wider appeal to public health and social inequality agendas as people in recovery organize themselves and rebuild their communities without state intervention but tend to come from the same communities which led earlier recovery movements. The tantalizing notion for the North West is whether there is a potentially unifying theme of recovery for Public Health as highlighted in 2014 by Public Health England’s Chief Executive with his call for the majority of public health challenges to be backed by ‘…friends, homes and jobs.’

Author: Andrew MacDonald
Supervisory team: Dr Conan Leavey, Jim McVeigh

Public Health Institute Logo