ERC-funded studentships in Psychology: Consequences of conspiracy theories

University of Kent

United Kingdom
Master Scholarship  
September 21, 2022


Scholarship value

The studentships will cover tuition fees at the UK rate (£4,596 per annum) or EU/International rate (£17,400 per annum) and will additionally provide a stipend of £16,062 for maintenance. Please note fees differ depending on your fee status.


The deadline for completed applications (including references) is 17.00 (UK time) on 21 October 2022. The shortlisting process will start shortly after the deadline and interviews will be held in the week commencing 31 October 2022. Unfortunately, we are unable to cover travel costs but will arrange Zoom/Teams interviews where appropriate.


The awards are suitable for applicants who have or will have a Master's degree or equivalent at merit or distinction level in Psychology or another relevant subject area by October 2022.


The competition is open to applicants of all student fee paying statuses. Both of the studentships guarantee coverage of fees at the Home or International rate. Please note that current Kent PhD students are not eligible to apply.

Further details

Applications are invited for two PhD studentships in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent. The studentships are funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant awarded to Professor Karen Douglas, titled "Consequences of conspiracy theories" (CONSPIRACYFX).

Research project

The overall aim of the ERC-funded project is to systematically examine the consequences of adopting and sharing conspiracy theories, to determine when and how they are important, and why they are influential. It involves three work packages examining the consequences of conspiracy theories in the domains of politics, health and the environment. A fourth work package examines the consequences of conspiracy theories for the people who adopt and share them. Each work package involves a set of archival, survey, and experimental studies.

The successful candidates will work with Professor Douglas, alongside three Post-Doctoral Research Associates, a Project Officer, other Academic Staff, Research Assistants, and an International Advisory Board.

One of the students will be primarily responsible for the work package on health-related conspiracy theories and the other will be primarily responsible for the work package on environmental conspiracy theories. However, both students will work with Professor Douglas and the Post-Doctoral Research Associates across all four work packages.

Key responsibilities include survey and experimental design, study pre- registration, ethics applications, data collection, data analysis, data management, and dissemination of findings in the form of conference presentations and publications in academic journals. The students will also assist with other aspects of the project (e.g., co-ordinating the work of Research Assistants, public outreach). It is expected that the successful applicants will be highly familiar with major theories and research in social and political psychology, and will have extensive experience with quantitative research methods. Some experience analysing archival and qualitative data is desirable.

The students will be part of the vibrant research groups in social and political psychology research at the University of Kent (for more information see: The Social Psychology Group and The Political Psychology Lab)

The studentships will commence in January 2023.

How to apply

All completed applications received by 17.00 (UK time) on 21 October 2022 will be considered.

Completed applications must comprise all of the following:

  • Submission of a KentVision application for a Psychology PhD place in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent including:

  • A transcript of degree undergraduate and postgraduate marks to date and certificate, if available, in pdf format.
  • The names and email addresses of two academic referees. References must also be received by 17.00 (UK time) on 21 October 2022. Please leave a suitable amount of time for your referees to respond to the reference request which is sent automatically upon submission of the PhD application in KentVision.
  • A current CV in pdf format.
  • Submission of a 1-2 page covering letter which explains why you should be considered for one of the ERC-funded Psychology PhD studentships. This should be sent directly to hssadmissions@kent.ac.uk and should include the KentVision application ID number. If you have any specific questions about the studentships, please write to Professor Karen Douglas at k.douglas@kent.ac.uk.
  • Please note that the PhD application form in KentVision includes fields and word count guidelines that are not specific to consideration for this competition so please ensure that you follow the procedures listed above. In fields such as ‘Reasons for study’ and ‘Research proposal’ you are welcome to write ‘See Application for ERC-funded Psychology PhD Studentship’.