PhD opportunity: Implementation of Functional Imagery Training Into Primary Care

Director of Studies:        Professor Jackie Andrade

2nd Supervisor:              Dr Tracey Parkin

3rd Supervisor:               Dr Linda Solbrig


Applications are invited for a three-year Peninsula ARC funded PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2019.

Project description

Functional imagery training (FIT) is a process designed to strengthen motivation by using imagery to increase desire for functional goals and the behaviours that lead to them. FIT does this by combining imagery training with a counselling technique called Motivational Interviewing (MI). We have recently published a study exploring the use of FIT compared to MI, which demonstrated that the use of FIT resulted in greater weight loss than use of MI techniques alone. This research aims to establish the requirements for implementing FIT into weight loss and other health services in a primary care setting. The primary care setting (LIVEWELL Southwest) currently delivers a tier two weight management service. Primary investigations will be around the implementation of FIT into this service and how this fits in the context of other provided services, to allow consideration of wider implications and implementation of FIT in practice. Includes consideration of training and fidelity checking to ensure consistent delivery of FIT. The researcher will be undertaking a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to undertake this research. Including collection of service user’s experiences and views of FIT. Exploration of the underlying mechanisms by which FIT may operate to engage and support people with complex needs to determine future applications of FIT across health services.  

The researcher will need to be organised, familiar with behaviour change and have excellent communication skills.


Applicants must hold a BSc (first or upper second-class honours degree) in an appropriate subject (psychology/dietetics/nutrition) and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.

Applicants should have excellent communications skills, quantitative and qualitative research skills, the ability to work with a range of people and good organisational skills.


The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,009 per annum. The position is open to UK citizens and EU citizens with appropriate qualifications who have been resident or studied in the UK for three years.

How to apply

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Professor Jackie Andrade. However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at University of Plymouth is available at:  

You can apply via the online application form which can be found at: and click ‘Apply’.  

Please mark it FAO Catherine McCoulough and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Psychology

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 6 June 2019. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in June. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by the end of June should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.