Postgraduate Study

Research Studentships

Funding Your Research

At the University of Lincoln, postgraduate students are an integral part of our research community. They work alongside talented academics and researchers from around the world, contributing to our growing reputation for internationally excellent research. There may be opportunities to get involved in exciting research projects by applying for a studentship. The University offers a range of studentships throughout the year including funded and part-funded opportunities.

Graduate Teaching Fellowships

Graduate Teaching Fellowships combine PhD study with teaching duties. You can find a full list of the opportunities currently available below.

Job Description

Social and Political Sciences

Graduate Teaching Fellowships


The University of Lincoln is funding a number of Graduate Teaching Fellows (GTFs), to enrol in the academic year 2023-2024.

The aim of this initiative is to generate a cohort of Post Graduate Research students and provide opportunities for successful candidates to develop their teaching experience and practice.

These GTFs are hosted by the School of Social and Political Sciences.

Project 1 Description

PhD GTF Funded Studentship

Reference Number: 1AC-2AW-539669-1

Supervisory Team

Dr. Trish Jackman (School fo Sport and Exercise Science), Prof. Mark Gussy (Lincoln International Intstitute for Rural Health), and Prof. Sam Hillyard (School of Social and Political Sciences)

Coastal Community Health, Sustainability and Resilience: pleasure-oriented, community-based physical activity in coastal communities

There is considerable policy momentum behind supporting and reinvigorating coastal communities. The pressing health needs of these underserved communities was recognised by Chief Medical Officer Whitty. What is not yet known are the local conditions and the community’s voice and wishes. Inequities in access to services, disparities in health and wellbeing, ageing populations, state withdrawal of services, and seasonal economies are all established and well-documented. Despite this, it has been suggested that coastal environments offer spaces for physical activity to a greater degree than other inland or natural settings. However, despite the many potential physical, mental, social, and wellbeing benefits of physical activity, its promotion can be challenging. There is mounting evidence linking pleasure in physical activity to longer-term engagement, but further research is needed to explore how green and blue spaces within coastal environments are used and can be harnessed for the purpose of promoting pleasurable physical activity.

For further information, please contact Dr. Trish Jackman (


This GTF seeks to explore peoples encounters with physical activity in coastal environments and how pleasurable physical activity experiences can be promoted. It asks: 

  • What are people’s experiences of physical activity in coastal regions and what activities do they most enjoy at the coast?
  • How are the pleasures of physical activity influenced by coastal challenges?
  • How might pleasurable physical activity be best supported in coastal communities?

Project 2 Description

PhD GTF Funded Studentship

Reference Number: 1AC-2AW-539669-2

Supervisory Team

Prof. Sam Hillyard (School of Social and Political Sciences), Dr. Trish Jackman (School of Sport and Exercise Science), and Prof. Mark Gussy (Lincoln International Intstitute for Rural Health).

Coastal Community Health, Sustainability and Resilience: a bell for Mablethorpe

There is considerable policy momentum behind supporting and reinvigorating coastal communities. The pressing health needs of these underserved communities was recognised by Chief Medical Officer Whitty. What is not yet known are the local conditions and the community’s voice and wishes. Inequities in access to services, disparities in health and wellbeing, ageing populations, state withdrawal of services, and seasonal economies are all established and well-documented. Yet, what people actually want, why they remain or relocate to rural coastal communities, and how they engage with their own localities is chronically underrepresented. 

For further information, please contact Prof. Sam Hillyard (


This GTF seeks to explore and answer what rural coastal communities – such as Mablethorpe – not only need, but actually want. As one Mablethorpe newcomer put it, find a bell for Mablethorpe[1]

  • Why do people relocate to Mablethorpe?
  • How do local people engage with their locality and what impact do the local conditions have for the residents of Mablethorpe?
  • What do its local community most wish for and why?

[1] The folklore tale of a remote community asked what it wanted, such as new housing or services, etc.  The village requested a bell, which they could ring when a church service was about to begin, for all to hear if they wanted to attend.

Research Environments

These projects sit within the University of Lincoln's specialism in coastal community research, spanning the Schools of Social and Political Sciences, Sport and Exercise Sciences, and the Lincoln International Institute of Rural Health. 

This GTF forms a suite of three, and all three GTFs benefit from co-supervision across the School of Social and Political Sciences, the School of Sport and Exercise Science, Lincoln International Insitutute of Rurual Health, and the School of Social and Political Sciences Postgraduate seminar series and respective research seminar series. Teaching opportunities will likewise sit across these Schools, according to the successful candidates’ skillsets.

Person Specification and Requirements

You will be given the opportunity to work across disciplines and engage with colleagues from the University of Lincoln. You should possess a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in sport, exercise, physical activity, or a related discipline. Applicants with a relevant Master's degree are particularly welcome.  A strong aptitude for qualitative research is essential. Applicants should possess the ability to work collaboratively as part of a team. Excellent communication skills, in both written and spoken English, is required.


A Graduate Teaching Fellow position is a four-year full-time role which combines PhD study with teaching duties. Applicants with relevant personal circumstances may be enrolled for six years on a part-time basis, but only where this is justified.

All Graduate Teaching Fellows will have their PhD fees waived, whether they incur home or international fees. They will also receive the equivalent of the standard UKRI stipend (£17668 p.a. in 2022-2023), partly as salary and partly as a stipend.

Graduate Teaching Fellows will be provided with appropriate training and support to undertake their teaching role. It is envisaged that their teaching duties, including associated administrative support and training, will not exceed 468 hours (0.3 FTE) per year, and in no case will exceed 20 hours of duties per week.

How to Apply

Please attach:

  • Your CV (no longer than two pages)
  • a 1-page covering letter
  • The EDI monitoring form 
  • Contact details for at least two academic references.

Please send the above documents in a zip file to Maureen Young ( with the subject as the “GTF Application”. Please quote project ID in the subject line of the email.

Those called for interview will be required to prepare a presentation.

Application deadline is 14 June 2023.




Standard Research Studentships

Computer Science

PhD Studentship

AI-based Novel Biomarkers Discovery for Diagnosing and Grading the Severity of Spinal Disorders with MRIs

Supervisory Team: Dr Lei Zhang, Prof Xujiong Ye, Prof Paul Lee


We are offering a full 3-year PhD studentship jointly funded by the University of Lincoln and MSK Doctors Ltd. The successful candidate will join the Laboratory of Vision Engineering in the School of Computer Science, in close collaboration with MSK Doctors Ltd (, which is an independent private medical clinic specialising in the management of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.

Project Description

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used to assess spinal disorders (e.g. lumbar spine deformities, intervertebral disc degeneration, osteoporosis, vertebral fractures etc.), as it provides non-invasive soft tissue visualisation with enhanced contrast alongside different modalities.

However, traditional manual image interpretation(reading) in clinical practice is prolonged and there can be variability in manual diagnoses, subject to the radiologist's experience. Automated AI based solutions can help to reduce the diagnostics errors caused by human clinical practice, and increase the efficiency of the clinical workflow. This research aims therefore to develop novel explainable AI approaches for diagnosing and grading the severity of spinal disorders with MRIs.

Research Aims

This research is to identify novel biomarkers from MRIs using state-of-the-art AI models to support diagnosis of spinal disorders, of which the efficiency, accuracy, and robustness will be validated in the clinical practice. The specific objectives are:

  • To conduct requirement analysis and engage stakeholders in the co-design of the AI solution used for clinical practice
  • To develop novel explainable AI approaches for automated lumbar vertebral segmentation and intervertebral disc localisation
  • To exploit novel biomarkers to grade the severity of spine disorder (disc degeneration) based on the quantitative measurements
  • To validate the new technologies and test their acceptability and usability at clinical sites (MSK Doctors).

Person Specification and Requirements

You will be given the opportunity to work across disciplines and engage with colleagues from the University of Lincoln and work with experts and clinicians in clinical practice. You should possess a good honours degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, or related discipline. Applicants with a relevant Master's are particularly welcome.

Interested applicants are encouraged to demonstrate any skills and/or experience relevant to the project subject area(s) of interest, including (but not limited to) (medical) image analysis, segmentation, surface reconstruction, and machine/deep learning. Evidence of ability to engage in scientific research and to work collaboratively as part of a team, including excellent communication skills in both written and spoken English, is required.

Funding Notes

A fully-funded studentship is available for home and international fees applicants for up to three years, as well as funding for travel and participation in conferences.

How to Apply

To apply for this, please send your CV, cover letter, and personal statement in a ZIP file to Dr Lei Zhang at with the subject as the “PhD Studentship Application”. The personal statement should outline your approach to the project and also explain how your qualifications and experience meet the requirements (about one page). Please include contact details for at least two academic references.

Application Deadline: 28 February 2023

For further information, please contact Dr Lei Zhang ( or Prof Xujiong Ye ( at the University of Lincoln, or Prof Paul Lee ( at MSK Doctors. The successful candidate will receive clinical training and work with an interdisciplinary team at MSK Doctors based in Sleaford, Lincolnshire.


PhD Studentship

Smart Water: Engendering Climate-sensitive Low-land Flood-resilience Through Novel Nature-based Abstraction

Supervisors: Dr Daniel Magnone and Dr Luca Mao


Climate change exacerbates the occurrence and negative effects of extreme weather events, increasing the risk of both groundwater and surface water flooding including in low-lying areas commonly used for high-value agriculture. One solution to this is natural flood management (NFM) which reduces flood risk by storing water during times of abundance, usually in off-line ponds built on floodplains. However, the costs of using the agricultural land and maintaining the ponds can limit the implementation of NFM on agricultural land.

However, climate change will also reduce the availability of water resources over the coming decades. For example, eastern England alone will require extra 284 million litres of water per day for agriculture by 2050. The most urgent of these will be required in the low-land sites of region where over third of the nation’s vegetables are grown in 4 % of the nation’s agricultural land.

NFMs can provide a solution to both flooding and water scarcity since the stored water has the potential for use during times of drought. However, fully utilising this will require changes to UK water abstraction licencing procedure. Currently, UK water abstraction licencing provides for both daily, and annual limits (i.e. an abstractor is permitted to use a certain volume per day whilst not exceeding a certain volume in a year) with seasonal caps (usually during the summer months). As such that water stored on NFM features like ponds during the winter would not be extractable during the summer.

Developing new dynamic licencing strategies is a complex challenge which must also minimise all potential environmental damages. For example, in some NFMs — particularly in areas vulnerable to groundwater flooding — ponds may fill from both groundwater as well as excess of surface runoff from the nearby rivers. Therefore, abstraction from these ponds would also imply the use of groundwater resources and if this is not considered in licencing then it could lead to aquifer depletion.

Developing strategies for managing water stored in ponds will require both the application of hydrological theory and novel technologies to create a dynamic abstraction licencing system. However, currently these ideas are in their infancy and as such a systematic approach needs to be developed, firstly, to audit the current state of the abstraction licencing system, secondly, to assess the available applicable technologies to support dynamic licencing and, finally, to consider the design of NFMs to support both sustainable abstraction as well as flood management. Other nations, particularly in water stressed regions, are already battling with these challenges using high-technology approaches. Learning from these regions will be a key component to developing dynamic licencing in the UK.

Aim and Scope

Project Groundwater: Greater Lincolnshire is monitoring the Cress Marsh NFM test sites on the low-lying chalk aquifer of Grimsby. The site is managed by the RSPB and was developed by Northeast Lincolnshire Council’s regeneration as part of the authority’s £42m South Humber Industrial Investment Programme. This PhD will use this study site as a proof of concept for low-lying dynamic NFM abstraction and assess the opportunities, challenges, and barriers to wider development of this policy at a national level.

Structure of Study

This PhD is uniquely structured around three placements in industry with WSP consultants, the Environment Agency, and an overseas placement (currently a research intensive university in, Chile). The purpose is for the student to learn from each placement to understand the challenges and potential solutions to overcoming this complex problem.

Research Environment

You will work within a vibrant and rapidly growing community of PhD students and early career researchers in the Department of Geography. You will play a pivotal role in the legacy and broader implementation of Project Groundwater: Greater Lincolnshire, a £7 million investment in reducing flood risk in Lincolnshire.


This is a fully-funded studentship funded by Project Groundwater: Greater Lincolnshire (Defra-FCRIP) for 3.5 years with fees covered at the home fee rate (overseas students will have to cover the additional cost beyond UK fees). Beyond the fees the studentship covers an annual stipend of £17,668 paid in monthly instalments and research costs.

Required Skills

The ideal candidate with have an MSc in the relevant field. A first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant area is essential. Candidates should have a background in physical geography, earth science, environmental science, or a related field. Excellent English language communication skills are required (IELTS score of 6.5 or above for non-native speakers) and the ability to work to deadlines are essential.

How to Apply

To apply, send a two-page CV (including two academic references), two-page covering letter, certified copies of degree certificates and transcripts, to as a single PDF. The subject heading for the email should start NFM_PhD. 

In the covering letter you should explicitly explain (1) how you would deliver this project, (2) how your skills and experience will support you in delivering this project and (3) how this project will help you develop your career.

Applications are open now and will close at 23.59 on 18 June 2023. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted directly by 30 June 2023 with an interview time. Interviews are provisionally scheduled for the 12 July 2023. Applications are reviewed continuously and we reserve the right to close the position early.    

Health and Social Care

PhD Funded Studentship

Reference Number: 1AC-2AU-545066 

Adult Social Work and Social Care

Supervisors: Dr Mo Ray and Mr Chris Erskine


This studentship will focus on researching aspects of adult social care / social work. We encourage potential applicants to develop a proposal that responds to key and contemporary issues in adult social care. For example:

  • Strengths based approaches in adult social work and social care provision
  • Experiences of transition (for example, for older people with high support needs)
  • Social work practice with people with complex or high support needs (for example, people who self-neglect; people identified as frail; people living with cognitive impairment)
  • Developing and delivering care close to home in rural environments

Research Environment

The successful candidate will be part of the Healthy Ageing Research Group (HARG) based in the School of Health and Social Care in the College of Social Science at the University of Lincoln. 


This studentship is funded by Lincolnshire County Council and the University of Lincoln. The studentship will cover tuition fees at the home student rate and an annual stipend of £17,668 per year.


Applicants should have a first or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant area, and those with a master's degree in social work, social sciences, or sociology are encouraged to apply. Applicants should possess excellent written and English language communication skills, the ability to forge relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and the ability to plan goals and work to deadlines. 

How to Apply

Please email your CV (no longer than two pages) and a one-page cover letter outlining your interests, relevant experience, and proposed research area for the topic to Maureen Young ( Applicants invited for interview will be asked to complete an on line application form and prepare a presentation.  Please quote the project ID number in the subject line of the email. 

Please contact Mo Ray ( for further discussion.

closing date: 18 May 2023

Interviews: 5 June 2023

Start Date: by agreement

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics: AgriFoRwArdS

The University of Lincoln has launched the world's first Centre for Doctoral Training in Agri-Food Robotics in collaboration with the University of Cambridge and the University of East Anglia. This new advanced training centre in agri-food robotics is creating the largest ever cohort of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) specialists for the global food and farming sectors, thanks to a multi-million pound funding award the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Applications for entry into the CDT programme starting in October 2023 are now open.

More Information

Contact Us

If you would like to find out more about postgraduate study at the University of Lincoln or have any questions, please contact our Enquiries team.
+44 (0)1522 886644