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Nottingham’s universities invite local community to apply for community-focused PhD projects

Thursday, 12 January 2023

Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham are inviting people from the local community to apply for paid, full-time and part-time PhD research projects that aim to improve the lives of communities across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

The Co(l)laboratory programme is an eight-year ambitious project which aims to bring together academia and the community to support growth and development within communities, broaden prospects, drive change and improve wellbeing.

Following a collaborative development process between academic researchers and partners across local, community-focused organisations, several PhD projects have been agreed; based on the needs and priorities of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire citizens.

Now the universities are searching for individuals with experience and passion for creating positive change in the community to take on these projects – particularly those with a professional or community-centred background. Successful applicants will undertake a paid, three-year period of research on the fully funded Doctoral Training Programme, resulting in a PhD qualification.

Rebekah Smith McGloin, Director, Doctoral School and Research Operations at Nottingham Trent University said: “This is a unique opportunity for local people to become involved with research and develop skills to deliver meaningful change to their community.

“We’re looking for people who might not have considered academia before, or thought it wasn’t for them.Traditional qualifications aren’t essential – it’s more important that candidates have passion and drive and relevant experience. We will provide the skills, tools and the research that can be used to implement change and solve real-life issues.”

Prof Jeremy Gregory
I'd like to thank our local communities who have engaged so positively with us on this initiative. We have had a fantastic response to our call for problems and challenges that they would like to see addressed and as a result we have identified a series of projects that will allow us to explore those issues and, hopefully, find some practical solutions.
Professor Jeremy Gregory, University of Nottingham lead for Civic Engagement and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts

He added: "We know that there are individuals out there who have valuable skills and a wealth of lived and professional experience that would make them ideal to successfully take the lead on these projects, supported by our academics, and we are keen to hear from anyone who is keen to investigate this exciting opportunity, with the chance to achieve an academic qualification at the end."

The PhD projects available explore challenges such as:

  • How has COVID changed public participation in health and well-being activities in Nottingham?
  • What barriers do young people in Nottinghamshire’s former coalfields area face as they transition from education to employment?
  • How can understanding the lived experience of workplace coercion, exploitation, and modern slavery in the community across Nottingham improve labour market policy and strategy?
  • How can boxing club programmes be used to reduce violence and address community needs in Nottingham?
  • How can a better understanding of risk and resilience among local people vulnerable to suicide enhance the delivery of local suicide prevention services?

Applications close at 12pm on Monday 6 February 2023, and anyone interested in applying is advised to attend a Co(l)laboratory PhD Studentship drop-in on Monday 30 January 2023 9am-6pm at The Carousel, 25 Hockley, Nottingham NG1 1FH, or webinar on Thursday 26 January 2023 6-7pm. Please register for the webinar here.

Queries about the studentships should be directed to the Co(l)laboratory team at More information on the Co(l)laboratory PhD Studentship can be found here, along with details on how to apply. The full list of projects can be found here. Co(l)laboratory is part of the Universities for Nottingham Civic Agreement. A collaboration between Nottingham’s two world-class universities and eight key anchor institutions (including the local healthcare trusts, integrated care system, the city and county councils, the local enterprise partnership and Vision West Nottinghamshire College); the agreement sets out partners’ commitment to working across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, for the benefit of our people and place.

The project is funded by Research England as well as both Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.

Emma Thorne - Head of News
Phone: 0115 846 8092

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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