This site requires the use of cookies as defined by our Terms and Conditions.  We have provided a detailed description of how cookies work and are used on the site.  To accept cookies, please click the "Accept Cookies" button.
View All Vacancies

PhD Studentship (3 years) - Mental health in rare genetic syndromes associated with intellectual disability

School of Psychology

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours GMT on Thursday 04 March 2021
Reference:  R210016
Release Date:  Monday 18 January 2021

Supervisor: Dr Jane Waite

Project Reference: Waite_Cerebra_Mental Health

Key words: Anxiety, depression, low mood, genetic syndromes, neurodevelopmental disorders

Applications are invited for a three year Postgraduate studentship, supported by Cerebra, to be undertaken within the Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment at Aston University.  

The PhD student will also join part of the broader Cerebra Network for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, which includes Aston University, the University of Warwick (Supervisor: Dr Hayley Crawford), the University of Birmingham (Dr Caroline Richards) and University of Surrey (Dr Jo Moss).

The position is available to start October 2021.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the Home fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of at least £15,285 (subject to eligibility). This application is only available to Home fee-paying students.

Background to the Project

The PhD student will work with families of children with neurodevelopmental conditions, clinicians and support groups to contribute to the development of innovative assessment methods for the detection of anxiety and depression in people with rare genetic syndrome and moderate to severe intellectual disability. The student will also examine pathways to mental health outcomes within these groups. Further information about the types of genetic syndromes that the PhD will focus on can be found at 

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree in a relevant subject area. The candidate must show evidence of research competence, either through a high mark in their dissertation or through experience of working in a research setting. The candidate must also have excellent interpersonal skills as they will be working closely with the beneficiaries of the research. Willingness to travel within the UK to meet with families for research assessments is essential. Ideally, the candidate will have experience of working with people with intellectual disabilities, or other vulnerable populations, however, this is not essential. 

Contact information

For formal enquiries about this project contact Dr Jane Waite by email at

Information about the Cerebra Network for Neurodevelopmental Disorders can be found here

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application can be found here. In the funding information, include the project reference Waite_Cerebra_Mental Health.

As part of the application you must provide:

  • A cover letter detailing why you wish to pursue a PhD in this area
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your bachelor’s degree, and Master’s degree (if studied); this should include both certificates and transcripts.
  • A research statement - an original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience make them suitable to conduct a PhD in mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders (Max 400 words) and should also provide a brief summary and critique of a recent research paper that is relevant to the area (400 words max).
  • A copy of your current CV
  • Two academic references (or contact details for the referees)
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency for non-Native English speakers, further details can be found on our website

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

Email details to a friend

Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via



Forgotten Details