PhD Studentship: The intersection of severe mental disability and kidney disease


Qualification type: PhD

Subject area: Psychology

Location/ campus: University of Hertfordshire, College Lane

Start date: 1 April 2023

Closing date: 10 March 2023

Duration of contract: Full time (three years)

Project outline

Applications are invited for a three-year full-time PhD Studentship in Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

The aim of this PhD is to increase awareness of the experience of living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and a co-occurring severe mental illness (SMI). SMI is defined as a psychological, behavioural or emotional disorder that significantly interferes with functional ability and limits engagement with everyday activities. In England, it is estimated that 1% of the population are impacted by an SMI.

SMI and physical illness often co-occur and are further complicated by systemic inequities in society (PHE, 2018). A recent study highlighted that individuals with SMI are far more likely to be diagnosed with CKD, particularly those with a history of lithium prescription (Iwagami et al, 2018). Though more is known about the occurrence of depression and anxiety amongst adults with CKD and its complications, there is limited evidence to guide clinical management of patients with CKD and SMI. This makes it difficult to optimise kidney care, and acts as a barrier to improving outcomes for all patients equally.

Through a series of related studies, this PhD will aim to contribute new knowledge that seeks to advance the quality of care for patients with CKD and SMI. The outcomes of the research programme are therefore to help more people ‘live well’ with SMI and CKD.

Successful candidates will have an opportunity to do some teaching or project supervision, for which training will be provided.


Supervisory team:

Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in psychology or a similar field. A master’s degree in psychology and familiarity with creative methods, such as photo voice, is desirable but not essential. In addition, applicants should have excellent personal, oral and written communication skills, as well as confidence in scientific research methods.

Opportunities for further training will be available, for example through our Researcher Development Programme.


This opportunity is open to all appropriately qualified candidates.

How to apply

Please send:

  • a completed application form
  • two academic references
  • copies of qualification certificates and transcripts
  • certification of English language competence (minimum IELTS 6.5 or equivalent) for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

Please send completed applications to the Doctoral College, using the following format in the email subject line: “

LMS_ Intersection of severe mental health and kidney disease_PhD Studentship_YOUR NAME”.

For enquiries regarding research degrees at the University of Hertfordshire, please email Lynette Spelman. Mrs Spelman can also answer general queries on the application process.

For further information about the PhD topic, please email Dr Shivani Sharma using the subject line “Severe mental disability and Kidney Disease PhD Studentship Application”.

Funding information

The studentship will provide a tax-free stipend over three years (full-time), currently £17,668 per annum (standard RCUK rate) plus home tuition fees at the UK rate. A successful international/EU applicant would be required to pay the difference from home fees.”.

Closing date: 10 March 2023

Interviews will take place the week beginning: 13 March 2023