Development and feasibility evaluation of a digital intervention to promote physical activity (Ha...

University of East Anglia
July 07 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Project: Physical inactivity is a major public health problem and the fourth leading risk factor for mortality worldwide (WHO, 2009). There is an urgent need to promote physical activity in health care settings and the community, but traditional interventions delivered face-to-face are expensive. Digital interventions using mobile technology (e.g., text-messaging, apps) and websites have great potential: they can provide novel types of behavioural support, e.g., tailored advice based on tracked activity, real time support triggered by low activity levels using embedded sensors, or use gamification principles.

The student will: (1) design a research proposal; (2) develop a theory- and evidence-based digital intervention to promote physical activity; (3) conduct a feasibility study and (4) undergo training in research skills, personal and career development. Intervention development will include a systematic review, qualitative research and stakeholder consultations. The feasibility study will use qualitative and quantitative methods to assess feasibility, acceptability and implementation of the intervention, among other things. According to the student's interests and experience, the target group could include people who are relatively inactive, such as older people, women, people with lower socio-economic status, and ethnic minority groups. The intervention could be integrated in clinical care or delivered in the community or exclusively online.

Training Programme: This includes evidence synthesis, intervention development and evaluation, quantitative and qualitative research methods, feasibility studies, thesis preparation, dissemination, and personal/career development.

Outputs: Thesis, publications, intervention package, and evidence to inform a potential subsequent large study and funding application.

We are seeking a student with a good first degree (at least 2:1) and preferably a Masters in a related topic area (e.g., health psychology, public health, social science, research methods) or equivalent research experience. The student will have an interest in behaviour change interventions, relevant research methods and data analysis skills, and will be committed and self-directed.

Funding notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee may also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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