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ESRC Named Doctoral Studentship 2013 - Sudden Adult Death Trust

24 October 2012

Logo for the SAD, genomics network, the ESRC and Cardiff University

Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome and the British Coronial System

Applications are being sought for a prestigious (1+3 or +3) full time PhD Studentship, to be based in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, to begin in October 2013.

About the project

This studentship focuses on the relationship between coroners and other professional groups and genetic tests for specific inherited cardiac conditions – for example inherited disorders of the cardiac muscle (cardiomyopathies) or heart rhythm (inherited arrhythmias, or ion channelopathies such as Long QT syndrome or Brugada syndrome) – known collectively as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). While genetic testing for these conditions is available (in various forms of a ‘molecular autopsy’), their uptake by coroners in the UK is very low and as a result the broader incidence of these conditions is uncertain.

Building on the wider work of the ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), this project will explore the reasons underpinning the low uptake of these tests, the construction of medical knowledge around SADS conditions, and communication issues at the interface of the medical and medico-legal worlds. This studentship is co-funded by the SADS charity, and aims to improve our understanding of how particular professional groups adopt new technologies. Students would be supervised by Professor Adam Hedgecoe.

This project would be suitable for students interested in science and technology studies (STS), medical sociology or socio-legal studies.

For further information please click here.

Information about the School

Cardiff School of Social Sciences is a large School with over 160 staff and a thousand undergraduate and postgraduate students. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise rated almost all of its research to be of an international standard, with 55% of it either “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. This rating, together with the size of the School, places it amongst the top five centres in the UK. Since its creation in 2000, the School has attracted over £18 million of research funds.

Cardiff University is the home of the ESRC Wales Doctoral Training Centre, part of a national network of 21 accredited Doctoral Training Centres across the UK judged by the ESRC to deliver truly excellent postgraduate training provision.

About the studentship

Awards are available on either a 1+3 or +3 basis. A 1+3 studentship provides funding for four years, completing the MSc in Social Science Research Methods in the 1st year, followed by 3 years funding for a PhD. A +3 studentship provides funding for the three years only, and assumes that the applicant will already have had research training from an appropriate master’s degree.

Studentships will commence in September 2013 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant and an additional Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for three years for full-time students. In 2012 the maintenance grant for full-time students was £13,590 and the RTSG was £750.


ESRC studentships are available from the Wales DTC for UK and EU students who meet residency requirements set out by the ESRC. Please consult the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide for full details on residential eligibility requirements.

ESRC studentship funding is highly competitive. Applications are invited from exceptional candidates with a first class, or upper second class, honours degree or appropriate masters degree.

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit the following documentation by the deadline of 12.00pm, Wednesday 27th February 2013. Note that the deadline is absolute and applications received after this specified time and date will not be accepted.

  • Covering letter and CV - Please send in a covering letter outlining what makes you a suitable candidate (this should cover what skills/knowledge you bring to the project, what aspects you find particularly interesting and any ideas you may they have on how it could be developed). This should be no more than 2 pages. Please also specify whether you wish to apply on a +3 or 1+3 basis. You will also need to submit a CV with this.
  • A completed application form for admission to doctoral study in the School of Social Sciences – submitted to the Academic Registry via the online admissions portal, click here
    Note: (Please specify the School of Social Sciences – Research Degree – Doctor of Philosophy (Social Sciences) with a start date of October 2013 whether you are applying for a +3 or 1+3 award).
    Note: Applicants should complete the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application form (approx 500 words) to summarise how they would approach the given specified research project.  They should use the ‘Personal Statement’ section (approx 500 words) of the application form to compliment the information given in the covering letter and talk more about their background and interest in postgraduate study.
  • Academic References – all applications require two references to be submitted in support. Please ensure that your chosen referees are aware of the funding deadline, as we will be using these to help us evaluate your ESRC studentship application.
  • Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application by the funding deadline.

If you have any queries about the application process, these should be directed to Vicky Parkin at

All applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors before submitting an application: Prof Adam Hedgecoe (

How applications will be assessed

The closing deadline for applications is 12.00pm, Wednesday 27th February 2013. Application forms will be assessed by a panel made up of the project supervisors and the Director of Graduate Studies, following which short-listed applicants will be invited to interview.


If you require further information about this studentship please contact Victoria Parkin using the following details.

Telephone: 029 208 70855 (9am-1pm)