Postgraduate research opportunities

PhD Studentship - "Ageing and communication: Understanding the roles of cognition, speech production, and social participation"

Very limited research has addressed the potential role of cognitive abilities in speech production in older age. Research is therefore needed to advance understanding of the relationships amongst core cognitive abilities and speech production processes.

Number of places



4 February 2020


16 March 2020


Applicants must meet the following essential eligibility criteria: 

  • A good first degree (at least 2:1), and/or a masters degree, in Psychology or a closely related discipline.
  • Previous experience with research design and data analysis.
  • An interest in and background knowledge of cognition, linguistics, speech production, and/or the psychology of ageing.

Additionally, the following criteria are desirable:

  • Previous experience of cognitive testing and/or research with older adult participants.
  • Previous experience of systematic reviewing, open science practices such as pre-registration, and/or public engagement activities.

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Project Details

Very limited research has addressed the potential role of cognitive abilities in speech production in older age. Research is therefore needed to advance understanding of the relationships amongst core cognitive abilities and speech production processes, and the potential impact of these abilities on healthy older adults’ social interactions and communication in everyday life. The proposed research will comprise three key sub-projects: 1) a systematic review of the cognitive processes potentially impacting speech production in older age; 2) a correlational study investigating the extent to which specific cognitive abilities, such as information processing speed and executive (attentional) functioning, predict older adults’ speech production abilities; and 3) a correlational study investigating the extent to which objective measures of older adults’ speech production and cognitive abilities predict their self-reported social participation (e.g. social network size, hours of social activity per week) and communications in everyday life (e.g. leading conversations, keeping up with conversations, and experiences of ageist behaviours). The research findings will be disseminated to scientific audiences via conference presentations and manuscripts submitted for publication. Together with our collaborator, the Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA), we will engage the public via a number of activities and events throughout the life of the project.

Funding Details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training.  This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process.  The programme will commence in October 2020.  It includes

  • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate
  • fees at the standard Home rate
  • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Further information

The University of Strathclyde has a city-centre based campus in Glasgow, which was recently rated the 8th best city in the world (Time Out, 2019). Strathclyde is a research-intensive and award-winning University, and is home to over 23,000 students from over 100 countries.

Within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Psychological Sciences and Health comprises four subject areas: Psychology; Speech and Language Therapy; Physical Activity for Health; and Counselling. Research expertise across the School is varied and multidisciplinary, including cognition and cognitive impairment, ageing, and speech disorders. The School houses a number of dedicated research labs, including the Memory & Ageing Lab and the Speech & Language Lab. Research meetings, seminars and other events regularly take place across the School. Many of our staff and postgraduate researchers are also members of University-wide research groups, such as the Strathclyde Ageing Network (SAN). SAN brings together ageing-related researchers, engages with external organisations, and regularly hosts public engagement events.

Strathclyde’s postgraduate researchers additionally benefit from the support of the Faculty’s Graduate School, which offers excellent training, events, and funding opportunities. They also engage with our Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development, which offers a personalised skills-training programme covering impact, external engagement, and generic skills.

How to apply


1. Applicants register on GradHub and fill out EO data (this is a requirement of the application process

2. Applicants complete and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:

  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • References
  • CV
  • A concise summary and critique of up to 3 papers of the applicant’s choice, relevant to the PhD topic (maximum 1000 words). This should be uploaded in a standalone document using the following naming convention:


3. Applicants submit application through GradHub

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by 25th March 2020. Interviews are scheduled to take place on 6th April 2020.

All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within University of Strathclyde.  Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.