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Professor Derek Renshaw, Professor of Translational Physiology and Theme lead in ABES

View Derek's profile

Contact Derek for an informal discussion about this studentship

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Applied sleep interventions for elderly residents in a care home setting

Eligibility: UK/EU applicants and existing Coventry University employees with the required experience

Award Details: £15,000 bursary per annum plus tuition fees for 3 years. Consumables of up to £5,000 per year for 3 years

Duration: Full time - 3 years 6 months fixed term. If the PhD is completed within 3 years the PhD holder will be eligible to apply for one year’s post-doctoral funding to continue the work

Application deadline: August 31st (5pm)

For informal enquiries about this studentship, please contact Professor Derek Renshaw.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree as part of the Data Driven Research and Innovation collaborative programme. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’. Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

The Project

The number of people aged over 65 years of age is expected to more than double by 2040, therefore increasing the persons with sleep disorders. The body’s central ‘master body clock’ is located within a collection of thousands of neuronal cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus in a brain region termed the anterior hypothalamus. This part of the brain controls the sleep /wake cycle in humans in response to ambient light levels and in turn stimulates both the timing of the release and the absolute levels of the sleep hormone melatonin from the pineal gland.

Disrupted sleep patterns occur naturally as a result of the ageing process and are thought to be linked to both physical and psychological disease, as well as, their associated drug treatment. As a result, evidence suggests that older adults spend more time in the lighter phases of the sleep cycle and in addition also face disruptions to the circadian rhythm, leading to an earlier onset of sleeping, followed by an earlier time of waking.

In a care home setting, light sleeping and night time waking can lead to poor quality of life outcomes for affected residents, as well as cause significant disruption to staff and significant additional financial cost to care home providers.

This PhD is hosted by Coventry University in close collaboration with the University of Greenwich and a strategic residential partner from the Specialist Care sector.

About the Centres/Departments

The Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences (ABES) at Coventry University aims to further the understanding of fundamental biological pathways and processes; applying biological sciences to advance diagnosis and prevention of disease.

The Centre for Science and Medicine in Sport and Exercise (CSMSE) at the University of Greenwich, applies scientific principles to the study of sport, exercise, and health. The centres aim is to assist people to improve their quality of life and performance in sports by using regular physical activity to prevent ill-health or recover from illness.

The Centre for Research in Psychology, Behaviour and Achievement (PBA) at Coventry University focuses on the development and evaluation of theoretically-rooted, evidence-based psychological interventions across a range of areas.

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have:

  • a taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline, involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3 year period of study
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)


  • High-calibre student, BSc/MSc with a 1st Class or 2:1 in applied physiology, sport and exercise science, human biology, physiology, dietetics, psychology with relevant experience in physiology another relevant Bioscience degree.
  • Experience of working with human participants and biological laboratory skills would be an advantage.
  • A knowledge of designing scientific research interventions and using statistical techniques to analyse relevant data sets.

Eligibility & Application procedure

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Professor Derek Renshaw for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity. You can also find the Research Studentship Application Form here.


UK/EU applicants are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found at the making an application page. Existing Coventry University employees with the required experience are also eligible.