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PHD studentship: Using citizen science to support the development and evaluation of a whole systems approach to increasing physical activity in children aged 5-14 years and their families

  • Study level: Postgraduate Research
  • Academic entry year: 2021/22
  • Attendance of study: full-time
  • Available to: prospective students
  • This scholarship or bursary is only available to one successful applicant.

Join Us: Move. Play (JU:MP) is a Sport England Local Delivery Pilot being delivered in an area of the City of Bradford which is multicultural and has high levels of deprivation.  JU:MP is research-led; the programme and its various components were developed based on existing evidence, research, and community consultation, and a large-scale evaluation of JU:MP is taking place to examine effectiveness, feasibility and acceptability of such approach. The implementation of JU:MP is taking a place-based, whole-systems approach to increasing and sustaining physical activity in children aged 5-14 years. Part of JU:MP’s place-based approach is to foster community engagement and to support the community to advocate for change, and citizen science is a practice which could support these aims. Citizen science involves members of the public (non-scientists) who collect and analyse data in collaboration with scientists for research purposes (Winter et al., 2016). Citizen science offers an innovative, multi-layered approach to increasing physical activity. Studies show that citizen science is an effective method to engage people in the community in which they are living, prioritise areas of the greatest concern and generate practical and impactful solutions (King et al., 2016; Winter et al., 2016). Thus, citizen science is an appropriate method to utilise in developing and evaluating JU:MP, to foster community engagement with research, community development, and physical activity and public health.

This PhD will utilise citizen science to contribute to the evidence-based development and evaluation of JU:MP, and evaluate the impact of the approach on the citizen scientists. While the PhD candidate will be offered some autonomy in regards to which aspects of the JU:MP programme they focus on, the ideas below indicate some of the key themes and priorities for the project. These may help in shaping your application. 

● A systematic review of citizen science methods, with a focus on physical activity and other health behaviours and/or low socio-economic and multicultural communities. 

● An empirical citizen science study with primary and / or secondary school children focused on green space and physical activity. The study will inform the development of JU:MP green space initiatives and the citizen scientists will be involved in generating solutions.

● An empirical citizen science study that forms part of the process evaluation of JU:MP. Taking an in-depth qualitative case study approach, this study will examine the experiences and impact of JU:MP on a small number of families who live within the JU:MP area.  Multiple and innovative methods of data collection will be employed, which could include written or video diaries, photo-elicitation techniques, walk-and-talk interviews, and ethnographic methods, but crucially, the families will be engaged in collecting and analysing their own data, and making recommendations for future practice.

● An examination of the feasibility, acceptability and impact of taking a citizen science approach with children and families in Bradford to develop and evaluate JU:MP. 

Payment amount & frequency

This project includes funding which covers UK tuition and a stipend at UKRI rates for living costs. Non-UK students would need to self-fund the difference between the UK and International fees.

How to apply

Applicants should apply via the following link

Application deadline: 23 April 2021

Further information about this scholarship

For informal enquiries, please