The ATeam: A team approach to producing healthcare guidance for children with Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT) including design and exploration of a home-based exercise package with advice and monitoring

Apply now. PhD opportunity beginning on 1 January 2020

Project description:

Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT) is a rare, neurodegenerative, autosomal recessive disease causing severe disability from childhood. There are only two centres in the UK specialising in supporting people with AT and their families. However, due to distances travelled to access these centres, service users often also engage with local services. Accessibility to care and support that meets families and children’s specific needs may therefore vary across the UK.

The aim of this research is to identify current inter-disciplinary best evidence-based practice guidelines for the management of children with Ataxia Telangiectasia. The focus will be on non-medical and non-surgical health care (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dietetic, nursing etc.); incorporating current research-based evidence available but also exploring families, carer’s and individual’s perceptions. Project collaborators include parents of children with AT and will co-produce all research arms alongside academics and clinicians.

The PhD will also involve the student in design and development of a randomised (delayed start) clinical trial of a home–based complex intervention. This will target the health and wellbeing of children with AT to assess engagement, experiences, feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness. The researcher will train in, and undertake a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to undertake this research. They will need to be organised, be familiar with the use of mobile Apps (smart phone, tablet and computer applications), and have good communication skills as they will be working with families, children and a range of health care professionals across the UK.


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

Applicants should have excellent communication and organisational skills, ability to travel to visit participants, to support setting up of the study across sites in the UK. In addition, experience of working with complex interventions and or experience of working with children, young people and families would be desirable.


The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees, a stipend of £15,009 per annum and formal training in research methods. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £12,285 per annum).

How to apply:

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Lisa Bunn,; +44 (0)1752 588782. 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 FAO Sarah Carne and state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Health Professions.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Monday 14 October 2019. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview on Monday 28 October. 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 October should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.