MPhil/PhD Studentship in Angling on Inland Waterways: Interventions for Young People with ADHD or Emotional Behavioural Difficulties

Funded by Canal & River Trust 

Investing in excellence: studentship opportunities

The University of Derby has an opportunity for a full-time postgraduate research studentship in the Public Services area of research.

Qualification type: Location: Funding amount: Hours: Closes: Interview: Start date:
MPhil/PhD Derby, UK £17,668 stipend pa + UK home tuition fees Full-time Midday on 20 January 2023 3 - 7 February 2023 March 2023

The PhD will be funded by the Canal & River Trust. The successful applicant will receive a stipend of £17,668 per annum and tuition fees will be paid for. The post covers home MPhil/PhD tuition fees for 3 years.

This studentship is only available to students assessed as Home fees only.

The intended intake period is March 2023, or the next available intake. 

The successful applicant will be expected to complete their MPhil/PhD within 3 years on the MPhil/PhD route, contribute to the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care REF submission and get involved in the wider research activities of the College. 

Applicants will become part of a friendly and welcoming team and will be supported and managed by their supervisors. 

The vacancy details are as follows: 


This MPhil/PhD Studentship project partnering with Canal & River Trust aims to further evidence and measure the potential for therapeutic and social benefits of angling on inland waterways. The project would specifically explore the benefits of angling for children and young people who have a diagnosis of ADHD, those with other neuro-atypical diagnoses or those who exhibit emotional behavioural difficulties and may be accessing education within non-mainstream settings.

This project will primarily investigate the impact of canal coarse fishing, which is overwhelmingly catch-and-release angling, on young people's wellbeing. We are also interested in the intersectionality of the effects of participation on participant nature connection and wider effects within a One Health context.

Project description 

Increasing connection with nature is known to bring sustained benefits to mental well-being. The 3-year full-time MPhil/PhD will develop and assess the feasibility and acceptability of nature connectedness interventions for children and young people with emotional behavioural difficulties such as ADHD. This will include examining the short and long-term effectiveness of the intervention and factors that affect the success of it (e.g. gender, age, pre-intervention nature-connectedness).

We are looking for a highly motivated graduate psychology student who is capable of studying at PhD level and enjoys both independent and applied collaborative research. Prospective candidates are also expected to have a good Honours degree in psychology and a related Masters-level qualification.

Potential project impact 

The project has the potential to impact within public services but also more widely. There is a need for appropriate interventions for young people with ADHD or emotional behavioural difficulties, including those with wider benefits whilst incurring minimal costs. Currently, there is great interest in green prescribing and the research team has strong links with the National Academy of Social Prescribing. Working with national organisations and disseminating findings will support a large number of individuals and groups.

Principal accountabilities and responsibilities

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate the successful application of a range of psychological methods and the subsequent analysis of data. An ability to think creatively about opportunities for data collection will be welcome. Whilst efforts will be made to facilitate participant sampling close to Derby, candidates must be willing to travel for fieldwork across the England and Wales inland waterways network.

If successful, you will be supervised by Dr Tom Hunt and Professor Miles Richardson and work within the School of Psychology and Nature Connectedness Research Group, affiliated at the University of Derby. From the Trust, you will receive support and guidance from the Insights and Evidence team, alongside the National Fisheries and Angling Teams, and the Trust’s fisheries and angling advisory group. Angling researchers specialising in angling participation outside of the University of Derby, Dr Adam Brown (Substance) and Dr Natalie Djohari, will also be stakeholders in the project.

Please email the Director of Studies for more information related to this project (  

To apply 

Completed applications should be submitted via our online application system quoting funding reference: S&E_ADHD_0123

For other enquiries which are subject-specific please contact Dr Tom Hunt ( 

Closing dates for applications: Midday on 20 January 2023 

Interviews: 3 - 7 February 2023

If you have not been invited for an interview by the interview date, please assume your application has been unsuccessful.  

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