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The effects of an acoustic monitoring system on night time falls by care home residents with dementia and care staff response

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. Gillian Ward.

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

850,000 people live with Dementia across the United Kingdom. One-third live in care homes. People with dementia are 2-3 times more likely to fall compared to those without dementia therefore, older residential care residents with dementia can be considered a high falls risk group. Fall prevention is a multi-factorial intervention as many factors contribute to this heightened risk such as frailty, co-morbidities, physical inactivity, poly-pharmacy and the unfamiliarity of surroundings. Sensor based technologies for prevention and detection of falls are widely used in domestic and care homes in the UK and Europe. However applicability, sensitivity and reliability of these systems for care home residents with dementia is not clear and difficulties have been documented with finding the right approach and algorithm that accommodates the degree of acceleration associated with falling and that associated with normal daily activities.

A strategic sector partner who is one of the UK’s leading specialist care home providers has installed an acoustic monitoring system that enhances the ability to recognise different sound types for better prioritisation of alerts to care staff and monitoring at night-time. The aim of this PhD is to appraise the use of an acoustic monitoring system and its effectiveness in preventing night-time falls and to explore the opportunity for system machine learning within a care home for people with dementia.

This PhD is hosted by Coventry University in close collaboration with the University of Stirling and the strategic sector partner.

About the Centres/Departments

The Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research (CTEHR), aims to catalyse novel approaches to developing new technologies through research to empower young people, adults, their families and healthcare providers in disease prevention, management of health and independent living.

Research within the Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing includes Computing, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Statistics. A feature of the research is its cross-disciplinary nature. Topics include complex Systems, networks, and analysis of large data sets

The Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC) at the University of Stirlingis an international Centre of knowledge and expertise dedicated to improving the lives of people with dementia. DSDC have developed unique research insights  into what can be done to support people with dementia.

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)


  • knowledge and/or experience in the subject
  • a good knowledge of dementia care and sensor based monitoring technologies
  • experience of data processing and analysis
  • experience of (or a willingness to quickly learn) about  qualitative research skills or data pre-processing and analysis using tools such as Python/C++ and MATLAB, programming in a general purpose computer programming language.

Eligibility & Application procedure

Application Procedure:

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