Research Studentships


ESRC-Funded Research Studentships: Health and Wellbeing

Lancaster University forms part of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)'s North West Doctoral Training Centre (NWDTC). The DTC offers a large number of studentships, covering tuition and maintenance, for those wishing to study in areas covered by the ESRC at Lancaster, Liverpool or Manchester. Some studentships are reserved for those seeking joint supervision across two or more partner institutions. 

The Health and Wellbeing pathway is one of the newest but most successful pathways in the NWDTC and successful students can expect to join a vibrant group of postgraduate researchers across the DTC.  Applicants interested in research around social science aspects of health (broadly defined) can apply to study within the Health and Wellbeing pathway.  Applications should be made to the PhD Health Research.  Those interested in applying to the Health and Wellbeing pathway at Lancaster should consult the Division of Health Research webpages for information about our research expertise and to identify a potential supervisor.  We encourage candidates to contact potential supervisors to discuss their proposed research prior to making an application.

Students will normally have been offered a place to study at Lancaster prior to their studentship application to the Health and Wellbeing pathway. The deadline for students to submit their applicationHowever, studentship applications will be accepted from students who have submitted their institutional application but have yet to receive a formal offer, providing that such an offer has been made by the time of the NWDTC Studentship Allocation meeting, which will take place on 11 March 2016.

Further information about the studentships on offer is available via the NWTDC website, as are the application form and guidance notes.  Please check that you meet the academic and residential eligibility criteria on page 2 of the guidance notes before applying. Applications should be made on the NWDTC application form and should be sent

Further information about the provision and funding offered by the NWDTC is available on the NWTDC website. If you have any queries about your application please contact the NWDTC Administrator, Hayley Meloy:

The deadline for applications for 2016-17 is 5.00 pm GMT on 1 February 2016.


Advanced Quantitative Methods

Applications are also welcome from candidates with interests in statistical methods with applications in epidemiology or public health. Projects in this area are administered through the Social Statistics pathway and are likely to be designated as Advanced Quantitative Methods projects, which carry an enhanced stipend and are open to applicants of any nationality. Candidates for these studentships should provide a full CV together with a covering letter explaining their motivation for undertaking PhD studies and an indication of any research areas or topics that would be of particular interest to them. Please send these materials to Dr Jon Read ( Potential candidates should also visit  to see the range of current research being undertaken in this area.




Other Funding Options

For more information about postgraduate funding, please see Fees & Funding.

Investigating insulin/IGF-like signalling in brain ageing and cognitive decline in Drosophila melanogaster


Improvements in healthcare and life style in many countries have resulted in increased health and life expectancy. The downside is that more people are now living long enough to experience the diseases and loss of function that come with ageing. We therefore need to understand the underlying biological mechanisms of ageing in order to find interventions that can improve health at older ages in humans and thus ease the suffering and the financial burden resulting from an ageing population.

Laboratory model organisms such as C. elegans, Drosophila melanogaster and Mus musculus have been key to understanding many aspects of human biology due to the conservation of genes and function over large evolutionary distances, and the same is proving true for ageing. Despite their very different physiologies and life styles, similar genetic and dietary interventions can extend lifespan in these diverse model organisms and this has opened up the use of the much simpler and shorter-lived invertebrate organisms such as Drosophila to understand mammalian, and human, ageing.

The evolutionarily conserved role of the Insulin/IGF-like signalling (IIS) pathway in ageing is now well established and work is ongoing to discover the downstream signalling mechanisms, biochemical processes and tissues by which reduced IIS acts to modulate ageing and lengthen life. The functional requirement for IIS in some tissues, however, means that healthspan is not always extended along with lifespan when IIS is reduced. In fact we recently showed that reducing IIS in the Drosophila brain can negatively affect the ageing-related decline of locomotor behaviour despite extending lifespan. Using the genetic tools available in the fly together with behavioural, molecular and anatomical analyses we will investigate this tissue specific role of IIS in ageing and function. In particular, the project will focus on brain ageing to understand the role of specific neuronal and glial cells in the Drosophila brain that modulate lifespan and behavioural ageing in response to altered IIS. 

Selected Publications

M.Z.B. Haji Ismail, M.D. Hodges, M. Boylan, R. Achall, A.D. Shirras & S.J. Broughton. (2015) The Drosophila Insulin Receptor Independently Modulates Lifespan and Locomotor Senescence. PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125312. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125312

N. Alic, J. M. Tullet, T. Niccoli, S. Broughton, M. P. Hoddinott, C. Slack, D. Gems, and L. Partridge. (2014) Cell-Nonautonomous Effects of dFOXO/DAF-16 in Aging. Cell Rep 6(4):608-16.

S.J. Broughton, C. Slack, N. Alic, A. Metaxakis, T.M. Bass, Y. Driege and L. Partridge. (2010) DILP-producing Median Neurosecretory Cells in the Drosophila Brain Mediate the Response of Lifespan to Nutrition.  Aging Cell 9: 336-346.

S. Grönke, D-F. Clarke, S.J. Broughton, T.D. Andrews and L. Partridge. (2010) Molecular evolution and functional characterisation of Drosophila insulin-like peptides. PLoS Genetics 26:6(2):e1000857

S.J. Broughton and L. Partridge. (2009) Insulin/IGF-like Signalling, the Central Nervous System and Ageing. (Invited Review). Biochem J. 418:1-12.

S.J. Broughton, M.D.W. Piper, T. Ikeya, T.M. Bass, J. Jacobson, Y. Driege, P. Martinez, E. Hafen, D.J. Withers, S.J. Leevers and L. Partridge (2005).  Longer lifespan, altered metabolism and stress resistance in Drosophila from ablation of cells making insulin-like ligands.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 102, 3105-3110.

If you have any questions about the studentship please contact Dr Sue Broughton (

The Studentship is fully funded by the Sir John Fisher Foundation, including a stipend of £14,057 p.a. for three years, preferably commening on 1st April 2016, and is open to all UK and EU nationals who meet the UK residency requirements.  

If you are interested in applying for this opportunity please contact Dr Sue Broughton directly with a copy of your cv and a covering email by 15th January 2016.

Interviews will take place in the week commencing 22nd February 2016.