A funded three year PhD studentship

  • Salary : Funding for PhD provided by Masonic Charitable Foundation
  • Closing date : 31/10/2019
  • Interview date : 27/11/2019

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is one of the largest grant-making charities in the country.

Funded entirely through the generosity of freemasons and their families, the MCF awards millions of pounds each year to local and national charities that help vulnerable older people, advance medical research and provide opportunities for young people. The MCF also helps to fund vital services such as hospices and air ambulances and regularly contributes to worldwide appeals for disaster relief. 

In total, MCF support helps to improve the lives of thousands of people every year in England, Wales and internationally. As well as providing grants to charities, the MCF supports masonic families with a financial, health or family need. Visit

The MCF is committed to supporting research older people to gain a better understanding of the issues relating to mental illness in older age.  The topics are given below only as examples:  

  1. Gather and analyse prevalence data of depression in the older adults living in care homes and the community.
  2. The impact of frailty and/or loneliness on the mental health of older people.  
  3. The association between other diseases or disorders (such as diabetes) and the prevalence of mental illness in older adults. 
  4. Define and assess approaches on how best to educate care home staff to recognize depression in the older adult and provide treatment.

The project will be high calibre, feasible and address a clinical question of unmet need and train the successful candidate in a fundamental skill for their career.

This prestigious PhD Studentship will be open to psychiatrists training in the UK, particularly those early in their careers and to develop their academic skills.

The successful applicant will be likely to have some experience in research including a publication. It is not open to those awarded their CCT or working as a Consultant.

The award will be made to the submission which has the greatest likelihood of tangible outcomes and/or clear parameters as to how the research will impact on clinical care. We also expect the candidates to include their dissemination plans for their findings as well as their impact and public engagement plans.

What is expected of the student

The student will provide the Masonic Charitable Foundation and RCPsych with regular updates, agree to reasonable number of  talks in the chosen area research at both the College and the Freemasons selected events and provide annual reports leading to the final report with a detailed action plan at the end of the Studentship. 

We expect that the student will participate fully in a wide range of College and Foundation public engagement activities, media interviews (including photographs and promotional videos), conferences, site visits, publications and meetings with both organisations.

We expect academic outputs to be of a sufficiently standard to be published in high quality peer reviewed journals.

The student’s host university will set out key performance indicators for this Student and these will be made available to the College Academic Faculty. 

The student will be based at and employed by their host University. Their supervision will be based there. They will be expected to meet the regulatory requirements regarding their PhD or MD at their host institution. 

Key requirements

  • To have been appointed to a UK-based psychiatry training rotation and not received their CCT
  • To complete a PhD / MD by developing relevant research and clinical skills
  • To attend meetings with supervisors at regular intervals
  • To be familiar with and comply with the requirements of good research governance
  • To contribute to and attend College events
  • To record, analyse and communicate scientific data together with a clear interpretation of results
  • To write scientific papers communicating the results of the work, and to present at the College meetings and other scientific meetings nationally and internationally
  • To participate in departmental managerial/leadership/educational activities as required
  • To maintain accurate and accessible research records
  • Any other duties as may be deemed reasonable by the Supervisor and College
  • Compliance with appropriate governance and regulatory policies at the host institution.

How to apply

Please apply to the College providing:

  • a CV describing your clinical and academic career to date
  • a Project proposal (2 A4 pages) with references and to include potential or actual clinical impact of your project
  • A lay summary (400 words)
  • A statement of your career intentions and how this studentship meets your aims (200 words)
  • A description of host group and supervision, and a request for any costs and justification (1 A4 page)
  • Dissemination plans (200 words)
  • Letters of support confirming you will be allowed to undertake PhD eg from Training Programme Director or Deanery as appropriate and from the Head of Department at the University where the research will be conducted

Please provide the above to Kitti Kottasz: by 31 October 2019.

The interview will take place on 27 November 2019, in the afternoon.

Applications will be reviewed by an expert panel that will include Chair of the RCPsych Academic Faculty, Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes; Vice-Chair of the RCPsych Academic Faculty, Prof Hugo Critchley, Chair of the RCPsych Old Age Faculty, Dr Amanda Thompsell and others as appropriate.

Applications will be judged on three aspects:

  1. The quality of the candidate, their track record, career aims and academic ability
  2. The project proposed: its academic potential, how clinically relevant it is, its clinical impact, what could be the next steps and training opportunities for the Student
  3. The host institution: support available, host laboratory and supervisor

The studentship will provide for the personal salary minus any on call supplements up to but not including NHS Consultant level. It will provide for the PhD/MD fees and funding of up to £10,000 per year. These should be costed with justification in the application and may cover consumables, equipment, conference travel. 

Once short listed candidates are announced, interviews will be conducted by the above panel during late November/early December.  We will select alternates from past and current members of the RCPsych Academic Faculty in the event that there are any possibly conflicts of interest in terms of Academic Host universities.