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KESS2 PhD in Healthcare Sciences: Evaluating the Recovery Through Activity framework used by Occupational Therapy in Mental Heal, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #154 (QS) ,
This PhD scholarship is an exciting opportunity to conduct an in-depth study, alongside Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB), which will contribute to the evidence base of occupational therapy interventions used in mental health services.


This is a fully funded applied PhD which offers a unique opportunity to spend time with the Occupational Therapy Mental Health services in ABUHB.

This Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS) project will be administered in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University. KESS is a programme funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) awarded by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) in the Welsh Government. The PhD is a partnership between Cardiff University and ABUHB, who are the industry partner and sponsor of the study. The PhD scholar will work alongside Occupational Therapists across diverse settings throughout the region where mental health services are being delivered, to evaluate the Recovery Through Activity structured framework (Parkinson, 2014), which is based upon the Model of Human Occupation (Kielhofner, 2008) currently being used to improve the outcomes for service users.

Project aims and methods

The overall aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the Recovery Through Activity framework from an Occupational Therapy staff and service user perspective.

The specific objectives are to:

  • Explore Occupational Therapists’ experiences of using the Recovery Through Activity framework;
  • Identify the opportunities and challenges faced by Occupational Therapists in implementing an occupationally focussed approach;
  • Evaluate service user perceptions resulting from the use of the Recovery Through Activity framework;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of the Recovery Through Activity Framework by analysing intervention outcome data.

This project will utilise a mixed methods approach.

Qualitative data will include semi-structured interviews to explore the experiences of Occupational Therapists within mental health in ABUHB who have all implemented the Recovery Through Activity framework and identify what they perceive to be the opportunities and barriers of implementing this framework with service users (objectives 1 and 2). In addition, the experiences of service users with the Recovery Through Activity framework will be gathered through semi-structured interviews and / or focus groups, which will either be facilitated through online discussion or face-to-face sessions, depending on each setting and the preferences of the service users (objective 3). Appropriate analysis of the qualitative data will be fully explored by the KESS scholar.

Quantitative data will be obtained from anonymised intervention outcome data reported by Occupational Therapists and statistically analysed to measure change, outcome data is a measure of the change over time from base-line to the end of an episode of intervention (objective 4).

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

For more information on the programme structure of this project please visit:

English Language Requirements

This programme may require students to demonstrate proficiency in English.

General Requirements


Residency: Applicants for these awards must have a home or work address in the East area* of Wales at the time of their application for funding and enrolment.

Academic criteria: Applicants for research PhDs will be expected to have one or both of the following; a first degree, normally with class 2:1 or equivalent in a relevant subject; a relevant master's degree qualification or equivalent.

Eligible applicants will also:

  • Be a qualified Occupational Therapist or due to qualify in the 2018/19 academic year
  • Possess a reasonable understanding of qualitative and / or quantitative research methodology (up to undergraduate level) and / or mental health services
  • Be highly self-motivated, with capacity to learn and develop applied research techniques
  • Have an ability to deliver and communicate to a range of audiences in different formats
  • Be willing to travel and work in mental health settings
  • Have well developed interpersonal skills to allow positive collaborations

Applicants must:

  • have the right to work in the UK on completion of the scholarship
  • be classified as a ‘home’ or ‘EU’ student
  • satisfy the respective admissions criteria

It is a condition of eligibility for KESS2 funding that you have not applied for, nor are intending to apply for, a doctoral or research master's loan. Please read clause (3) (m) of The Education (Postgraduate Doctoral Degree Loans) (Wales) Regulations 2018 for more information.

*The East Wales region is comprised of 7 local authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.

Tuition Fee

Living costs for Cardiff

  • 628 - 1070 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Tuition fee support: Full UK/EU tuition fees

Maintenance stipend: A stipend of circa £14,000 per annum is included.

Additional funding offered: Funds for travel and conferences, consumables and small equipment items available

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