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BMA Foundation PhD Studentship: Maternity Care Systems and Childbirth-Related Trauma

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BMA Foundation PhD Studentship: Maternity Care Systems and Childbirth-Related Trauma

Closing Date: 17/09/2023

Interview Date: 26/09/2023

PhD Start Date: October 2023 or February 2024

Full-time 3-year PhD studentship in the Centre for Maternal and Child Health in the School of Health & Psychological Sciences. Situated in the heart of London, we are a leading provider of applied healthcare research. We offer PhD candidates a world-class research environment: in the most recent Research Excellence Framework evaluation, 100% of our research environment and impact was judged as world leading or internationally excellent for Allied Health Professions.

What is offered:

  • £ 20,622 stipend per annum
  • A full tuition-fee waiver for UK students (international applicants must cover the difference between UK and international fees)
  • Supported by the British Medical Association Foundation Pushpa Chopra Award

The Project

Worldwide around 140 million babies are born every year. Between 20-40% of women experience childbirth as traumatic and 1 in 25 develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD after birth has a substantial negative impact on women and their families, yet there is very little worldwide research on postnatal PTSD, so it remains largely unrecognised.

This PhD will examine the role of maternity services in birth trauma and mental health outcomes in low, middle-and high-income countries. It will be embedded in the International Survey of Childbirth-Related Trauma (INTERSECT), an international research programme involving over 18,000 women in 45 countries, which won the 2022 Myriam de Senarclens prize for outstanding research in psychosomatic obstetrics and gynaecology. INTERSECT data will be pooled to create an international databank and provide a key resource for researchers and policy makers.

The PhD consists of:

  1. a systematic review of ways of categorising maternity care systems;
  2. developing a measure to classify maternity care systems across different countries;
  3. linking data on maternity care with the INTERSECT data;
  4. analysing associations between maternity care systems, birth experiences and postpartum PTSD in low, middle and high-income countries.

Results will have implications for policy and practice, with the potential to support changes to maternity care provision, funding and policy both nationally and internationally, informing initiatives such as the WHO’s campaign to prevent disrespect and abuse during childbirth.

Project supervisors:

Professor Susan Ayers

Dr Rebecca Webb


The studentship will be awarded on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and potential to produce cutting edge-research. Applicants should have:  

  • Bachelor’s degree with at least a 2:1 honours (or overseas equivalent) and Master’s degree or equivalent qualification. Qualifications ideally in medical or allied health subjects, psychology, or a related field.
  • Experience in quantitative research.
  • For applicants whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of at least 7 (with a minimum of 7.0 in writing).

How to Apply

Informal enquiries: please contact [email protected]  

To apply:

  • Complete an application form for the PhD studentship by clicking the ‘Apply’ button, above.
  • Upload a cover letter and CV with your application
  • Submit your application form and supporting documents online by 17/09/2023. If you have any queries, contact the doctoral degrees Course Officers [email protected]

Click Here to Apply For The Job



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