PhD in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience: Understanding Cognitive Mechanisms of Loneliness in Traumatic Brain Injury

Bangor University - School of Psychology

Dr. Richard Ramsey and Dr. Rudi Coetzer

Location: School of Psychology, Bangor University   

Funding amount: The studentship, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales, covers the full cost of tuition fees for PhD students, plus a maintenance stipend of £14553 per annum for 3 years and a research allowance of £750

Hours: Full Time or Part Time, commencing an October 2018

The project will involve working in the Social Brain in Action (SoBA) laboratory within the School of Psychology, as well as the North Wales Brain Injury Service.

The mechanisms that underpin the experience of loneliness in typical individuals, as well as following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), are not well known. Furthermore, interventions that are aimed at reducing loneliness are not grounded in a mechanistic framework and the outcomes are inconsistent. Currently, therefore, there is very little understanding of how cognitive mechanisms contribute to the experience of loneliness in general, as well as following TBI.

Aim: The current project will establish the social and cognitive mechanisms that underpin loneliness in typical individuals as well as following TBI, before developing an intervention to reduce loneliness in TBI. 

Key research questions:

(1) How does the experience of loneliness impact social and cognitive mechanisms in typical individuals and following TBI?

(2) To what extent and in what ways does training socio-cognitive skills alter the perception of loneliness in TBI patients

SoBA Lab
The SoBA Lab, is an international research that offers access to outstanding facilities for Social and Cognitive Neuroscience and explores the cognitive and brain systems that underpin our ability to understand the actions and mental states of other people. Crucially, the project is collaborative and will involve working under the joint supervision of Dr Rudi Coetzer who is the director of the North Wales Brain Injury Service.

Bangor is situated in a beautiful region of North Wales close to Snowdonia National Park, which provides a wonderful natural backdrop to professional activities.

Applicants are expected to have a first or upper second-class degree in experimental psychology or neuroscience and a relevant Masters qualification. 

The applicant should be highly motivated and creative with strong written and oral communication skills, and preferably have experience working in clinical settings, ideally within a neurorehabilitation service.

Further information
Informal enquiries may be directed to Dr Richard Ramsey,

Residency requirements
This studentship is primarily aimed at UK and EU students. However, those who are interested, but are from outside of the UK/EU, should contact Dr Ramsey to discuss the conditions for the funding of international students.

Application requirements
All applications submitted on Bangor’s online system must include a current CV, a 1-page cover letter explaining their motivation to apply for one of these PhD positions, and a 3-5 page research proposal covering a topic relevant to the laboratory’s research in this domain. Applications that do not include all three of these elements will not be evaluated.

General enquiries
For administrative advice about how to apply and eligibility, please contact Everil McQuarrie:   

The online application form is available here:

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