Teaching, Research & Scholarship
Fixed term contract
Fixed Term Duration
Faculty of Science & Engineering
Developing a social-belonging intervention to transform the experiences of
under-represented science and engineering students.
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
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
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: // aru.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/psychology. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. For enquiries regarding the process and
eligibility please contact SE-Research@aru.ac.uk.
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
Committed to being inclusive and open to discuss flexible working.