Postgraduate research opportunities Technology-Enriched Intensive Aphasia Rehabilitation - Development and evaluation of an integrated approach to speech and language therapy and physiotherapy for stroke survivors with aphasia


Key facts

  • Opens: Tuesday 26 March 2024
  • Deadline: Friday 17 May 2024
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 3 years full-time commencing 1 October 2024
  • Funding: Home fee, Equipment costs, Stipend


The project seeks to improve rehabilitation for stroke survivors with aphasia by integrating language intervention into physiotherapy exercise routines in the state-of-the art stroke rehabilitation centre at Strathclyde University. Through analysing existing physical rehabilitation technology equipment for their potential to improve language, the PhD candidate will design a new intervention, and evaluate its effectiveness by assessing language abilities before and after the intervention.
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Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first-class or upper second-class UK undergraduate degree (or overseas equivalent) and/or a Master’s degree with Merit or Distinction, in Speech and Language Pathology.

They should have a strong interest in adult-acquired communication disorders and demonstrate good communication and time management skills. In addition, an ability to work collaboratively with a range of AHPs and academic colleagues from various disciplines is essential.

If English is not your first language, we would require IELTS minimum overall band score of 6.5. Test is valid for 2 years, or equivalent.

The successful applicant must be able to commence study on 1 October 2024.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner
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Project Details

Stroke care is a priority policy issue in Scotland, with aphasia being a key focus in stroke rehabilitation as people with aphasia report greater impact on health-related quality of life, wellbeing and mood than individuals without post-stroke aphasia (e.g. Døli et al., 2017; Hilari, 2011). Speech and language therapy aimed at improving language and communication can effectively rehabilitate aphasia, if provided intensively.

The proposed project takes a novel approach to high-intensity aphasia intervention by maximising the benefits of joint rehabilitation and utilising existing resources. The PhD candidate will investigate whether language activities can be integrated into technology-based physical rehabilitation exercises, making use of the widespread gamification element of many rehabilitation technologies to improve language in people with aphasia.

Digital rehabilitation tools e.g. Virtual Reality (VR) often make the recovery process more interactive and engaging. The PhD candidate will analyse how these existing tools for physical rehabilitation can be used for language activities. Based on this, a novel intervention will be designed and evaluated. Following the intervention, people with aphasia and their carers will be interviewed to obtain their views on the intervention, and to determine whether this integrated approach to rehabilitation has a positive impact on language in stroke survivors with aphasia and their families. If successful, the study will be initial proof for a new method of intensive SLT rehabilitation.

The research will be carried out in the Sir Jules Thorn Centre for Co-Creation of Rehabilitation Technology located at the University of Strathclyde. The pioneering centre was set up in 2020 and harnesses state-of-the-art commercially available and prototype technology to design new techniques and systems to support stroke survivors in their rehabilitation journey. The student will join a group of rehabilitation researchers, including engineers, AHPs, and scientists all aiming to improve recovery after stroke.

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Funding details

The PhD Studentship provides an annual stipend of £19,162 (2024-2025) increasing to £19,718 in year 2 and £20,290 in year 3. Students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant for conference travels.

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Dr Kuschmann

Dr Anja Kuschmann

Speech and Language Therapy

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Dr Andrew Kerr

Biomedical Engineering

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When applying, please submit:

  • Degree transcripts & certificates
  • Proof of English language proficiency if English is not your first language
  • 2 academic reference letters
  • a 2-page CV including your academic achievements and any professional experience
  • a 1-page cover letter outlining why you would be interested in pursuing this PhD and what skills and experience can you bring to this PhD
  • a writing sample e.g. UG/PG dissertation chapter, or an essay submitted for a research module

Applications will be ranked by an internal selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview or not, by 27 May 2024.  Interviews will be scheduled in early June 2024.

Number of places: 1

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Speech and Language Therapy

Programme: Speech and Language Therapy

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

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Contact us

Please contact Dr. Anja Kuschmann for information regarding the project