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Professor Andree Woodcock, Chair of Educational Ergonomics and Design

View Andree's profile

Contact Andree for an informal discussion about this studentship

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Empathic approaches to the design of new service models for elders’ access to health care provision

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 Professor Andree Woodcock.

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

Elders’ access to health care provision in the UK (and globally, e.g. in US) is problematic. The distributed nature of health care, complexity of illnesses associated with old age, and cutbacks in transport provision.

Although the precise direction of the PhD will be based on the background and interests of the candidate, the overall aim will be to propose and test realistic and transferable transport solutions to improve the accessibility and health care experience of older patients.

Work will be conducted in several sites in Coventry and Bristol to develop an understanding on the one hand, the problems associated with older peoples travel to health care providers (e.g. health centres, hospitals, specialist medical centres) from appointment through to completion of treatment; and on the other the problems of health care providers and transport operators in meeting the needs of this group. Opportunities may exist to draw on best practice in US as well.

Primary and secondary data will be used to develop and test alternative, cost effective and transferable solutions for access to health care for elders.

This PhD is hosted by Coventry University in close collaboration with the University of West England (UWE) Bristol and a strategic residential partner from the Housing Association sector.

About the Centres/Departments

The project will be hosted in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities with clear affiliation to the Centre for Mobility and Transport (CMT). The PhD is a follow on from initial work conducted in the centre in relation to design of transport systems to support older people’s access to health care

The project will draw on the strong connections with Age Friendly City Initiative led by the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations and Living lab methodologies notable for their high levels of user engagement.

The international supervisory team will include senior academics from the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of West England (UWE) Bristol and from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and will also draw on established networks and work with elders who access health and social care.

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 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)


  • experience of transport modelling and/or service design
  • experience of design , conduct and analysis of qualitative/ethnographic studies
  • knowledge of health service provision and transport provision
  • confidence and ability to work with diverse stakeholders – medical profession, transport providers and older users
  • familiarity with user centred design in association with service design
  • experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about empathic modelling,
  • understanding of health care provision in old age
  • knowledge of health care/transport telematics.

Eligibility & Application procedure

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section. Before completing the application please contact Professor Andree Woodcock 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.