Integrating technology to support active lifestyles in youth with Type 1 diabetes: The ActivPals programme

This PhD studentship will involve exploring new opportunities to use technology to support active lifestyles for individuals living with Type 1 diabetes. Diabetes is a growing global public health problem and involves careful management of blood glucose levels. Leading an active lifestyle is important for successful management of blood glucose and overall diabetes health. This PhD will explore the design and integration of mobile technology (such as smartphones and wearable devices) monitoring glucose and physical activity into and existing intervention called ActivPals (an intervention to support active lifestyles in youth with Type 1 diabetes). In addition the PhD will also investigate integration of the intervention into existing diabetes education systems (My Diabetes My Way) and existing clinical data (SCI Diabetes) platforms.

The specific objectives of this research are:

  • To explore patient, parent/carer and health professional views on the integration of mobile technology within diabetes platforms including views on data management and access (e.g. security, privacy, trust, ownership)
  • To explore what supporting components are needed in combination with physical activity and glucose data to help people with diabetes, their parents/carers and health care professionals to understand and use this data effectively to guide individual health care and self-management.
  • To conduct a pilot study to explore feasibility, acceptability and indicative effects of the ActivPals intervention in combination with mobile activity and glucose monitoring and supporting educational components through My Diabetes My Way.


The outcomes of the project will be of interest to a range of individuals including people with diabetes, health care professional, glucose monitoring companies, athletes, coaches and health promotion specialists. The applied nature of the project will also provide the student with opportunities to network with several organisations (e.g. physical activity and health providers and diabetes support teams and charities, mobile technology companies, the Digital Health and Care Institute and the NHS) and for knowledge exchange activities including communicating their research to health professionals and patient groups within diabetes, giving the student important transferrable skills.

  • Value annual stipend of £14,510
  • Opens 14 March 2017
  • Deadline 21 April 2017
  • Duration 3 year full-time


This 3 year full-time PhD studentship is offered with a start date of October 2017. The successful candidate will receive an annual stipend of £14,510 and a fee-waiver at Home/EU rates. Applicants should hold at least a good Honours degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline. In addition, a Master’s degree with a research methods training element or equivalent research experience, and/or experience of working with people with diabetes, or health data would be advantageous.

Project Details

Supervisory team and support

We present a strong team for supervision of this multidisciplinary PhD research. Dr Alison Kirk and Dr Marilyn Lennon will both lead supervision of this PhD. Kirk (Physical Activity for Health research group) and Lennon (Computer and Information Sciences) are both Senior Lecturers at the University of Strathclyde and active researchers in their field with significant experience of successful PhD supervision.  The supervisory team will also involve Dr Fiona Michell, a Chancellors Fellow at the University of Strathclyde with significant related research experience.

The University of Strathclyde has appointed Capita as its Strategic technology partner. As part of the Partnership agreement, Capita funds have been used to support this PhD Studentship, with additional funds coming from across the University and the Digital Health Institute. This PhD may also offer unique opportunities for mentorship and secondment/placement within Capita and/or the Digital Health Institute.

The PhD will also be guided by three external advisors with expertise in complementary areas. Dr Robertson is the lead Consultant Paediatrician for the Greater Glasgow and Clyde Children's Diabetes Service. Robertson was a co-investigator on the ActivPals intervention project and will continue to ensure the research is pragmatic and linked to clinical practice and guidelines. Dr Wake is a Consultant Physician at NHS Tayside and manages the strategic developments, clinical input and project evaluation for MDMW. Dr Cunningham is the technical lead for NHS Scotland's SCI Diabetes and MDMW platforms. He co-ordinates evaluation and data analysis activities and directs the development teams responsible for ensuring the successful integration of mobile technology data with these services

The successful student will have the opportunity to join both the Physical Activity for Health research group within the School of Psychological Sciences and Health and the Digital Health and Wellness Research Group both at the University of Strathclyde.

The Physical Activity for Heath group ( is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence in the area of physical activity for health.  The Digital Health and Wellness Research group ( are multidisciplinary technologists interested in designing usable and accessible health care technologies with and for the people that can benefit from them. The environments of both these research groups provides an excellent learning opportunity for PhD students; monthly research meetings are held with ample opportunity for students to lead discussions, learn from others, rehearse presentations and discuss methodologies. The student will also be expected to attend generic skills training courses offered within the University and externally.

How to apply

Applicants should make an application via the online application system (Pegasus) :

Upload the following documents to Pegasus

  • A cover letter
  • **Two academic references** (alternatively these may be provided directly from your referees, if they would prefer, and should be sent to no later than the deadline of 21st April. Email subject should contain: applicant name + phrases “Reference” and “The ActivPals programme.”)   
  • A curriculum vitae    
  • Degree transcripts and certificates 
  • If required, an English language qualification (IELTS minimum overall band score of 6.5, with no individual test score below 6.0)


For any other queries on applying, please contact:

The Graduate School

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

University of Strathclyde

Lord Hope Building, Level 1

141 St James Road

Glasgow, G4 0LT


Phone: 0141 444 8455 / +44 141 444 8455