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Nottingham’s universities invite local community to apply for community-focused PhD projects

Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham are inviting people from the local community to apply for paid, full-time and part-time PhD research projects that aim to improve the lives of communities across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

Co(l)lab PhD logo
UfN Co(l)laboratory

The Co(l)laboratory programme is an eight-year ambitious project which aims to bring together academia and the community to support growth and development within communities, broaden prospects, drive change and improve wellbeing.

Following a collaborative development process between academic researchers and partners across local, community-focused organisations, several PhD projects have been agreed; based on the needs and priorities of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire citizens.

Now the universities are searching for individuals with experience and passion for creating positive change in the community to take on these projects – particularly those with a professional or community-centred background. Successful applicants will undertake a paid, three-year period of research on the fully funded Doctoral Training Programme, resulting in a PhD qualification.

Rebekah Smith McGloin, Director, Doctoral School and Research Operations at Nottingham Trent University said: “This is a unique opportunity for local people to become involved with research and develop skills to deliver meaningful change to their community.

“We’re looking for people who might not have considered academia before, or thought it wasn’t for them. Traditional qualifications aren’t essential – it’s more important that candidates have passion and drive and relevant experience. We will provide the skills, tools and the research that can be used to implement change and solve real-life issues.”

Professor Jeremy Gregory, University of Nottingham lead for Civic Engagement and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, said: "I'd like to thank our local communities who have engaged so positively with us on this initiative. We have had a fantastic response to our call for problems and challenges that they would like to see addressed and as a result we have identified a series of projects that will allow us to explore those issues and, hopefully, find some practical solutions.

"We know that there are individuals out there who have valuable skills and a wealth of lived and professional experience that would make them ideal to successfully take the lead on these projects, supported by our academics, and we are keen to hear from anyone who is keen to investigate this exciting opportunity, with the chance to achieve an academic qualification at the end."

The PhD projects available explore challenges such as:

  • How has COVID changed public participation in health and well-being activities in Nottingham?
  • What barriers do young people in Nottinghamshire’s former coalfields area face as they transition from education to employment?
  • How can understanding the lived experience of workplace coercion, exploitation, and modern slavery in the community across Nottingham improve labour market policy and strategy?
  • How can boxing club programmes be used to reduce violence and address community needs in Nottingham?
  • How can a better understanding of risk and resilience among local people vulnerable to suicide enhance the delivery of local suicide prevention services?

Applications close at 12pm on Monday 6 February 2023, and anyone interested in applying is advised to attend a Co(l)laboratory PhD Studentship drop-in on Monday 30 January 2023 9am-6pm at The Carousel, 25 Hockley, Nottingham NG1 1FH, or webinar on Thursday 26 January 2023 6-7pm. Please register for the webinar here.

Queries about the studentships should be directed to the Co(l)laboratory team at More information on the Co(l)laboratory PhD Studentship can be found here, along with details on how to apply. The full list of projects can be found here.

Co(l)laboratory is part of the Universities for Nottingham Civic Agreement. A collaboration between Nottingham’s two world-class universities and eight key anchor institutions (including the local healthcare trusts, integrated care system, the city and county councils, the local enterprise partnership and Vision West Nottinghamshire College); the agreement sets out partners’ commitment to working across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, for the benefit of our people and place.

The project is funded by Research England as well as both Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.

  • Notes for editors

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    About Universities for Nottingham

    The Universities for Nottingham initiative is a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of 10 anchor institutions from across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Working with local communities and partners we aim to improve levels of economic prosperity, educational opportunity, environmental sustainability and health and wellbeing for the benefit of our people and place.

    As part of the response to the challenges we collectively face, the Universities for Nottingham Civic Agreement sets out our joint plans for the future working as a partnership.

    Find out more at #UnisForNottingham

Published on 11 January 2023
  • Category: Press office