PhD opportunities

Up to 7 PhD studentships (covering fees and stipend) are available in 2018 for research on health, environment and wellbeing at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health.

Duration of Funding: 3 years (2019-2022)

Annual Stipend: £19,919


The Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health opened in April 2017 with a £4.1m research grant from the Wellcome Trust and match-funding from the University of Exeter. The Centre builds on successful research clusters across the University and on the University’s Humanities and Social Science Strategy. Transdisciplinary and international in its approach, and with a commitment to engaged research, the Centre brings together leading scholars across the medical humanities, social sciences, and health research with the aim of understanding how we can enable health and well-being across the life course (Hinchliffe et al 2018).


All research conducted in the Centre is required to enable insight, debate, and/or new approaches to current health, environmental and wellbeing challenges. Work to be funded through this call should meet the vision of the Wellcome Centre and can either fall under one of the following themed topics, or be clearly aligned to the aims of the Centre in other ways.

Research on the pervasive and detrimental effects of loneliness has tended to neglect the cultural contexts that affect social relationships and the ways in which loneliness is experienced at different stages of the life course or in particular settings or periods. Applicants may focus on any aspect of loneliness as it links to health and well-being.

Key Contacts: Manuela Barreto (CLES), Mark Jackson (HUMS), Fred Cooper (HUMS)

The vital role of microbes and microbial relations in the modulation of health and wellbeing across the life course currently pervades all manner of public discourses around treatments and their effectivity (emerging infections, resistant infections), environments, diet and microbiomes, alternative therapies and so on. Applicants may focus on any aspect of the changing role of / or approaches to microbes in relation to health and well-being.

Key Contacts: Steve Hinchliffe (CLES), Laura Salisbury (HUMS) Dora Vargha (HUMS).

The significance of communal practices and place to questions of belonging and identity can be critical to health and wellbeing throughout the life-course, and these may in turn be contested as sites for radical realignments of local and global relations. Applicants may focus on any aspect of the roles of intangible culture or its spaces in health issues.

Key Contacts: Nick Groom (HUMS), Steve Hinchliffe (CLES), Luna Dolezel (HUMS)

Health is more often than not something that is achieved through social and other relations. The role of relations with other people, as well as other creatures and environments, is often stated but seldom demonstrated in a health care system focused on individuals or behaviours in isolation. Applicants can focus on any aspect of how taking a relational approach within a particular area of service provision might impact on health and wellbeing.

Key Contacts: Katrina Wyatt (UEMS), Anne Barlow (SSIS), David Doyle (CLES)

The relationships between poverty, food, weight, and health are poorly understood, often over-medicalised, and frequently based on questionable assumptions. Projects are invited that explore inequalities in food cultures and their role in health inequalities and or that disrupt biomedical discourses around eating, weight, and health. A focus on changing cultures of food consumption and production is also possible.

Key Contacts: Manuela Barreto (CLES), Katrina Wyatt (UEMS), Angela Meadows (CLES)

Interrelations between human and environmental health have become increasingly evident in recent years. Proposals here are invited that address any aspect of the relationship between the environment and human health across the lifecourse, potentially with particular emphasis on the marshalling of data rich environments as a means to map these relationships.

Key Contacts: Karyn Morrissey (UEMS), Nick Groom (HUMS) and Lara Choksey (HUMS)

‘Wide data’ (sometimes referred to as ‘big data‘) or large, complex, potentially linkable data from diverse sources of information and communication technology (ICT), can include anything from genomic data to social media, to individual health information and the contributions of citizen science monitoring, to global environmental measurements. Research proposals that focus on the ways in which data is being linked, used, understood and/ or contested, and its role in healthy public formations would be encouraged.

Key Contacts: Karyn Morrissey (UEMS), Lora Fleming (UEMS), Ann Grand (HUMS)

We are also happy to consider projects that do not fall under these themes, provided they speak to the Cenre's vision and themes in other ways.

Please visit the current advert for details on how to apply.

Queries can be directed to