PhD Studentship - Athena Swan/Race Equality

Anglia Ruskin University

United Kingdom

January 31, 2022


Job Category

Teaching, Research & Scholarship

Vacancy Type

Fixed term contract

Fixed Term Duration

3 years

Employment Type

Full time



Faculty/Prof Service

Faculty of Science & Engineering

Ref No


Closing Date


Developing a social-belonging intervention to transform the experiences of under-represented science and engineering students.

About ARU:

ARU is a global university transforming lives through innovative, inclusive and entrepreneurial education and research. We are ranked in the world's top 350 HEIs in the 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and in the top ten mainstream universities in the country for the proportion of UK undergraduates in employment 15 months after graduating. We have campuses in Cambridge, Chelmsford, London and Peterborough with around 2,500 staff and 35,000 students from 180 countries. With a focussed civic mission, we are committed to working with others through education, research and knowledge exchange to enhance the economic, cultural and social wellbeing of the communities in which we work and live.

About the role:

Women and racial minority groups remain severely under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), which restricts career opportunities for these groups and slows national economic growth. Many factors contribute to inequalities in STEM, but at the level of individual students, experiences of social belonging (i.e., being made to feel fully included, valued, and respected on STEM courses) may be crucial. Social- belonging interventions, in which individuals are encouraged to reframe how they perceive their environments and to proactively seek ways to fit into their environment, has been shown to be effective at improving attainment in racial minority students, but much of this work is limited to North America.

As part of this PhD students, you will have an opportunity to undertake a multi-method programme of research using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The project will initially involve qualitatively exploring aspects of social belonging that are of especial relevance to women and racial minority students enrolled on STEM higher education course. This will be followed by adapting existing belonging interventions for use in the United Kingdom, delivering the intervention as part of a randomised controlled trial among undergraduates, and assessing the interventions efficacy at improving attainment, experiences, and social integration among women and racial minority students.

The successful applicant will benefit from strong supervisory and peer support, and will be based at the School of Psychology and Sport Science. The supervisory team is led by Prof Viren Swami (School of Psychology and Sport Science), who offers expertise in qualitative research methods and intervention design and evaluation. Other members of the supervisory team include Dr Nadeeshani Wanigarathna (Engineering and the Built Environment) and Dr Barbara Vohmann (Engineering and the Built Environment).

About the Studentship:

A three-year studentship is offered, intended to start in April 2022, providing a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only available as a full-time position and to UK candidates.

Project location: Cambridge campus. Prospective candidates who would not be Cambridge-based are encouraged to contact the principal supervisor prior to application (contact details below).

Candidates for this PhD Studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD within 3 years.


Applicants must be able to demonstrate interest and/or experience in the development and delivery of psychological interventions. Experience of using both qualitative and quantitative research methods is essential, and an understanding of “wise” psychological interventions is desirable. Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant discipline and a relevant level 7 (or equivalent) qualification (e.g., Masters degree). An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language. It is strongly desirable that candidates show a commitment to issues of race and gender equality.

In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, the University will look closely at the qualities, skills, and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful and timely completion.

How to apply:

To apply, please complete the application form available from the following website: https: // Complete the variant of the form for full-time study with a start date of 18th April 2022.

Please ensure the reference ‘PhD Studentship: Developing a social-belonging intervention to transform the experiences of under-represented science and engineering students' is clearly stated on the application form, under the title ‘Outline of your proposed research'. Within this section of the application form, applicants should include a 500-word outline of the skills that they would bring to this research project, previous experience of qualitative and quantitative research methods, and evidence of their commitment to race/gender equality.

Interested applicants should direct initial queries about the Prof Viren Swami via email: For enquiries regarding the process and eligibility please contact

Interviews are scheduled to take place in February 2022 (date TBC).

We value diversity at Anglia Ruskin University and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Find out more about working with us.

We offer an extensive range of benefits including a generous holiday entitlement, occupational pension schemes, training and development opportunities, travel to work scheme and a competitive relocation package. Visit our benefits page for full details.

We are committed to safeguarding and promoting welfare of our staff and students and expect all staff to share this commitment.

We value diversity at ARU and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Committed to being inclusive and open to discuss flexible working.

About the employer

Anglia Ruskin University is amongst the most prestigious universities located in East Anglia, United Kingdom. The origins of the university can be traced back to the year 1858 when John Ruskin founded the Cambridge School of Art. With time, the...