Stroke Rehabilitation Research

PhD studentships in Stroke Rehabilitation

The Division of Rehabilitation, Ageing and Wellbeing has gained national and international recognition as a leading UK centre for rehabilitation research with particular expertise in conducting trials of occupational therapy interventions in both hospital and community settings, and has a solid track record of obtaining external research funding.


Members of the division currently hold grants totalling over £10 million. 

Therapists within the Division of Rehabilitation, Ageing and Wellbeing lead and contribute to clinical practice both nationally and internationally and sit on advisory boards for NICE, RCP, and WHO. The Division promotes regular informal communication and support between colleagues in addition to formal research meetings, and encourages mentorship of junior researchers by research staff and therapists conducting national and international research.

We support PhD students in a number of ways to enhance a greater understanding and training in the field of stroke rehabilitation research. 


Current students

Miriam Golding-Day (Exploring the role of specialist orthotic intervention after stroke)

The research is looking at the timing and form of orthotic interventions for patients when they have had a stroke, and aims to appraise current provision whilst establishing if we can evaluate the impact of earlier orthotist involvement in stroke survivors rehabilitation.

Supervisors: Professor Marion Walker MBE, Dr Shirley Thomas & Dr Jane Horne

Start date: October 2019 Finish date: July 2023

Katie Powers (Individual-level attributes in complex rehabilitation interventions)

Katie currently works on the Return to Work After Stroke study (RETAKE) as a research assistant. She is an Ossie Newell Doctoral Scholar studying individual-level attributes in complex rehabilitation interventions. Her study is investigating whether Early Stroke Specialist Vocational Rehabilitation (ESSVR) plus usual care is more effective and cost effective at getting people back to work 12 months after their stroke compared with usual care alone.

Supervisors: Dr Kate Radford, Professor Roshan das Nair & Professor Amanda Farrin

Start: September 2018 Finish: September 2021

Trudi Cameron (The impact of stroke on informal care-givers")

Investigating the impact of stroke on informal care-givers. The research is aimed at developing and evaluating a behavioural intervention for primary care-givers of stroke survivors. The focus will be to explore the impact of caring on wider family members, particularly younger carers.

Supervisors: Professor Marion Walker & Dr Rebecca Fisher Start: January 2015 Finish: January 2018

Jo Howe (Implementing evidence based rural community stroke services: aspiration or reality?)

Rural services face additional challenges to delivering healthcare than their urban based counterparts due to the large geographical areas they encompass. The aim of this research is to explore whether it is possible to implement an evidenced based approach within rural settings. This will be achieved through focussing on multidisciplinary team working where rehabilitation is delivered within the patients own homes. The models of service delivery rurally based community stroke services adopt will be investigated and the impact that these models have on the delivery of rehabilitation will be evaluated.

Supervisors: Dr Rebecca Fisher, Professor Marion Walker, Dr David Clarke Start: September 2015 Finish: September 2019

Shahrina Zawawi (Unmet needs of the Malaysia stroke population)

The PhD project focus is on the unmet needs of the Malaysian stroke population. In recent years evidence-based hospital stroke services in Malaysia have been developing at pace, but care after leaving hospital has received little attention and no funding. The weeks and months following stroke is a time when stroke survivors and their families feel abandoned, cast aside from existing stroke services and in great need of advice, support, rehabilitation interventions and long term management. To date this need in Malaysia has not been systematically addressed and this topic is the focus of this PhD.

Supervisors: Professor Marion Walker, Dr Rebecca Fisher, Professor Noor Azah Aziz and Professor Kartini Ahmad

Start: September 2017 Finish: September 2020

Najla Alhashil (Mental Imagery Use in Stroke Rehabilitation)

The PhD study aims to identify and explore what helps or hinders the use of imagery during stroke rehabilitation in Saudi Arabia. The objective is to investigate the use of mental imagery and identify the barriers and facilitators to therapists using mental imagery in stroke rehabilitation and explore stroke patients’ experiences of mental imagery in their rehabilitation and post stroke recovery.

Supervisors: Dr Kate Radford, Dr Joanna Fletcher-Smith, Dr Eirini Kontou

Start April 2016 Finish: March 2019

Wafa Alahmari (The role of Physiotherapy interventions in Post stroke fatigue (PSF))

The aim of this PhD research is to identify physical therapy treatment intervention of post-stroke fatigue (PSF), determine Health Care Professional (HCP) and stroke patients’ perspectives about PSF, as well as to determine how PSF impacts Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and Quality of Life (QoL).

Supervisors: Professor Pip Logan, Professor Neil Coulson, Dr Eirini Kontou

Start: February 2017 Finish: January 2020

Richard Morris (Peer mentoring: Enhancing participation after acquired brain injury)

Acquired brain injury (ABI) can affect every aspect of a person and changes lives forever, both for survivors and their families. As they learn to adapt they must overcome physical, emotional and cognitive difficulties, behavioural problems and personality changes. Many people are unable to return to work or occupy their time in meaningful and enjoyable ways. This PhD aims to develop, pilot and evaluate a peer mentoring intervention for people with ABI. The primary goal is to help ABI survivors participate in personally valued activities.

Supervisors: Dr Kate Radford, Dr Joanna Fletcher-Smith, Professor Neil Coulson

Start: July 2016 Finish: June 2019


Completed PhD studentships in stroke rehabilitation

Sushmita Mohapatra (Developing a Care Pathway for People with Severe Stroke)

Defining an evidence based pathway for severe stroke survivors. Research will involve reviewing the evidence base for rehabilitative treatment of severe stroke survivors including decision making governing access to services. Existing care pathways experienced by stroke survivors will also be explored to address how and why services have been commissioned and are operating within the stroke care pathway.  The effectiveness of in-hospital, home-based and outpatient services will be investigated, by examining patient experience, outcomes measures of recovery, and the impact on informal caregivers.

Supervisors: Professor Marion Walker & Dr Rebecca Fisher Start: September 2014 Finish: September 2017



Navneet Aujla (Development of an Evidence-Based Psychosocial Intervention to Improve Clinical Outcomes Following Stroke)

Investigating the psychological aspects of stroke, to learn how recent stroke survivors feel about what has happened. The aim is to find out whether peoples’ beliefs are related to how well they engage with their post-stroke rehabilitation, and if so, whether a belief-based psychosocial intervention can help patients to recover as best as they can following stroke.

Supervisors: Professor Marion Walker & Professor Nikola Sprigg Start: October 2012 Finish: October 2015

Phillip Whitehead (Occupational Therapy in Homecare Re-ablement Services (OTHERS))

Can an occupational therapy intervention increase independence in activities of daily living in people who use homecare re-ablement services?

Supervisors: Professor Avril Drummond & Professor Marion Walker Start: January 2013 Finish: December 2015

Mary Grant ("Return to work after stroke: a feasibility randomised controlled trial")

A study which involved the development, delivery and evaluation of an early stroke specific vocational rehabilitation intervention in a feasibility randomised controlled trial.

Supervisors: Dr Kate Radford and Professor Marion Walker Start: March 2010 Finish: February 2016

Jain Holmes (An exploration of the barriers and enablers to the implementation of a complex specialist vocational rehabilitation for people with traumatic brain injury in a rehabilitation trial in the NHS)

This PhD investigated factors that affect the delivery of complex rehabilitation interventions in a clinical trial in the NHS, to understand the barriers and enablers to implementing complex interventions as reported in previous trials for people with long term neurological conditions (LTNC). The study determined whether NHS therapists can be trained, using a manual, face-to-face teaching and mentoring, to deliver a complex vocational rehabilitation intervention as part of an NHS rehabilitation trial, examined whether therapists delivered the intervention as trained, and investigated factors affecting intervention delivery from the perspective of the therapist, other NHS staff, commissioners, service users and employers.

Supervisors: Dr Kate Radford and Professor Pip Logan

Start: January 2014 Finish: August 2017 



Visit our Centre for Doctoral Training in Rehabilitation and Healthcare Research

Stroke Rehabilitation Research

The University of Nottingham
School of Medicine

telephone: +44 (0) 115 823 0246