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Development of wearable technology to detect dehydration in older adults

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

Award Details: £15,000 bursary per annum plus tuition fees

Duration: 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 Dr. Louise Moody.

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

Dehydration in older adults is a significant healthcare issue that can affect mental functioning as well as being a significant risk factor for developing infectious diseases, kidney stones, urinary tract infections and constipation. There is a need for timely diagnosis and adequate treatment of dehydration to reduce the impact on the patient as well as associated healthcare costs.

Within the care environment fluid intake is regularly monitored; monitoring of hydration is harder to achieve. New sensors are emerging that can alert the user to fatigue, dehydration and high body temperatures. However there has been little research to explore how these sensors are best incorporated into products that provide useful information and are acceptable to the users. 

This research will explore the feasibility and design of body worn devices to detect hydration levels and feed back information to care staff. The interdisciplinary project will involve working with older people and their carers to co-design, develop and evaluate suitable technology that is informative and acceptable to the end users.

This PhD is hosted by Coventry University in close collaboration with the University of West England (UWE) Bristol and strategic residential partners from the Housing Association and Specialist Care sectors.

About the Centres/Departments

Visual Arts Research (VAR): an emerging research centre in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. One of its core areas of focus is the intersection of health and wellbeing and the creative arts with previous design projects related to urinary incontinence.

Manufacturing and Materials Engineering Research (MME) takes a holistic approach to fabrication and manufacturing, focusing on the three strands of Materials, Processes, and Products; and is underpinned by expertise in Metrology and Advanced Experimentation.

The Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology, UWE develops academic/industrial partnerships to address the technological challenges posed by a range of sectors - from the development of novel technology for detection and measurement of biological systems to the integration of biological systems into novel sensing technology. Personnel from the Allied Health Professions at UWE are also collaborating on this PhD project.

Successful Applicants

Successful applicants will have:

  • A taught Masters degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. product design, fashion, textiles, human-computer interaction, engineering), 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 three-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)


  • knowledge and/or experience in design
  • a good knowledge of smart materials and sensor technology
  • experience of working with older adults
  • experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about co-design processes.

Eligibility & Application procedure

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Dr. Louise Moody 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.