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PhD Studentship: Investigating Interbrain Synchrony in Parent-Child Dyads with Cochlear Implants Undergoing Parent-Implemented Rehabilitation.


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Friday 15 March 2024
Reference:  MED1991

Supervisor 1: Douglas Hartley []

Supervisor 2: Efstratia Papoutselou []

Supervisor 3: Guangting Mai []


Funding status: National Institute for Health Research. Tax-free stipend of £18,622 per annum. (23/24 academic year). All fees paid.


Application deadline: 15 March 2024


Project title: Investigating Interbrain Synchrony in Parent-Child Dyads with Cochlear Implants Undergoing Parent-Implemented Rehabilitation.


Project description:

Embark on an exciting PhD journey to explore the fascinating world of parent-implemented rehabilitation models in families with children using Cochlear Implants (CIs). This research, conducted under the guidance of Prof. Douglas Hartley, Dr. Tia Papoutselou, and Dr. Guangting Mai, seeks to investigate the underlying mechanisms of parent-implemented rehabilitation, with a focus on the It Takes Two to Talk (ITTT) intervention.

You will be at the forefront of cutting-edge research, comparing interbrain synchrony between parents and children with CIs receiving ITTT alongside standard care and those receiving standard care alone. Utilizing functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) hyperscanning, a non-invasive neuroimaging technique, our globally recognized team at the Nottingham NIHR BRC in Hearing aims to measure interbrain synchrony over prefrontal cortices and temporo-parietal junctions during interactive and independent conditions.

This groundbreaking research builds upon the IMPACT trial, funded by a £1.913 million award from the NIHR EME programme. The study's short-term objectives include completing validation studies on cochlear-implant measurements and hyperscanning for use as outcomes in subsequent clinical trials.

As a PhD candidate, you will actively contribute to advancing our understanding of effective rehabilitation strategies, particularly in optimizing language development in children with CIs. The study's significance lies in unravelling the role of interbrain synchrony as a potential mediator of ITTT effects, providing quantifiable measures to assess training-induced changes in parent-child interactions.

Join our dynamic team and be part of a project that not only enhances our understanding of parent-implemented rehabilitation but also addresses a currently unexplored field in research – the mechanisms of brain synchrony between parents and deaf children with cochlear implants.

We seek highly motivated candidates with a first-class or upper 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent), or an MSc/MA, in psychology, audiology, or a relevant scientific discipline. Research experience in neuroscience, neuroimaging, psychology, or audiology, along with experience working with children, will be advantageous. Eligibility for relevant research clearances, including a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service, is required.

Subject area:

Medicine, neuroscience, neuroimaging, audiology, development

Funding notes:

This studentship is funded by the NIHR (National Institute of Health and Care Research) Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre. The studentship will cover home University rates which includes a stipend of £18,622 per annum and tuition fees. UK/Home students only.

Studentship start date: to be confirmed. Duration is 36 months full time.

How to apply:

Please email with the following documents and put “Prof Hartley advertised NIHR Nottingham BRC PhD studentship” in the title.

  • A maximum of a 2-page C.V.
  • Degree certificate and transcript (if already graduated) or a recent transcript.
  • 800 words personal statement (maximum but excludes references) about why you are interested in doing this PhD, how the ideas outlined align with your interests and experiences and any specific ideas you have for research projects you have in this area.
  • Either two references (in a non-editable format, on headed paper and signed by the referee) or the details of two referees that we can contact. One of the references must be academic.

Additional enquiries:

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Douglas Hartley email:

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