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The Student Health Study: Developing interventions to enhance acute and chronic health outcomes and attainment S&T63

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: S&T63

Young adulthood is a critical time for establishing self-care habits that impact on the risk of developing non-communicable diseases later in adulthood. Unfortunately, cross-sectional data suggests that the health-related behaviours of many university students are poor, with less than half eating a balanced diet and less than 60 % meeting physical activity recommendations. Evidence also shows that physical and mental health can be linked to academic performance.

University students represent 2.5 million individuals in the UK alone, and around 50 % of school leavers now continue to university education. This leads to a rapidly increasing graduate population, many of whom have poor dietary and exercise habits fostered at university. Universities are uniquely positioned to positively influence the development of healthier lifestyle choices because they are the providers of some or all education, accommodation, recreation, and food and exercise provision for their students.

To date, much of the published research on student populations focuses on single health conditions or behaviours, is cross sectional in nature, and /or lacks long-term follow up. The Student Health Study is a longitudinal, interdisciplinary project developed at Nottingham Trent University, which has so far collected physiological and self-reported survey data on the cardiovascular, metabolic, and mental health, and associated behavioural risk factors, of thousands of students over the past 2-3 years.

To progress this research project, the PhD candidate will undertake qualitative and quantitative data collection to inform the development of interventions aimed at improving the health of students and graduates. The focus of this PhD will primarily be on nutritional and /or exercise interventions. We will use PPI based models to ensure student involvement, engagement and participation when developing potential interventions. We will then undertake feasibility and pilot studies of the proposed interventions, before moving towards a full randomised control trial of the finalised intervention(s). The successful applicant will work as part of a multidisciplinary team of academics, researchers, students, and service providers, incorporating knowledge and expertise from areas including physiology, nutrition, behaviour change and psychology.

By continuing to work with NTU student support services and the university population, we can ensure that the work undertaken is impactful at Nottingham Trent University. Furthermore, this exciting project also has potential for substantial expansion through collaborations with Universities across the East Midlands and beyond to affect real change for the long-term health of students and graduates. If this opportunity interests you, please contact Dr Ruth James.

School strategic research priority

This project aligns with the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) research centre.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418