Health and Wellbeing

The Health and Wellbeing pathway addresses ESRC’s current research priorities “Innovation in health and social care”.  We welcome applications that focus on priorities around enhancing wellbeing, understanding health behaviours across the life course, rethinking delivery of public and third sector services for health and social care, addressing health inequalities and developing inclusive communities at a range of levels from local to global. Our international partnerships and close working relationships across a wide range of countries from North America to Australasia, Europe, West Africa, South Asia and China, offer students significant opportunity to undertake overseas research, including comparative studies and visits.

We work closely with the WHO, the EU, the NHS, Social Care, private and third sector organisations as well as other local and national government agencies and international bodies. These links, combined with major research centres within each of four universities of Liverpool, Manchester, Lancaster and Keele demonstrate the opportunities for national and international opportunities to carry out high quality PhD research with excellent supervision in health and wellbeing.

Programmes eligible for NWSSDTP funding

N.B. Master’s programmes can only be funded as part of a 1+3/2+2 Studentship

Keele University

Lancaster University

University of Liverpool

University of Manchester

For information on how to apply for funding, please visit our How to Apply page.

Pathway Representatives

Contact details for Health and Wellbeing Pathway Representatives at each institution can be found here

Current Health and Wellbeing NWSSDTP students


bentonJack Benton (2017 Cohort)

Impact of urban green spaces on physical activity and wellbeing

Jack is using natural experiment methodology in to evaluate the impact of urban green space interventions on physical activity and wellbeing, working with a local housing association and a real estate company. Jack is also developing a tool for systematically observing physical activity and two other wellbeing behaviours in urban spaces, such as pocket parks, residential streets and canal waterways.


TamsinTamsin Fisher (2017 Cohort) 

Young people’s wellbeing and autotelic practices: a narrative and go-along inquiry of youth activities

This is an investigation into how young people maintain their well-being through leisure activities. Participant observation, workshops, time-diaries and interviews will be used to develop Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow experience (1990,1997) and Rautio’s theory of autotelic activities (2013). The aims are to understand how young people engage with self-care activities and how specific activities are effective for maintaining well-being.


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Marty Parker (2017 Cohort)

Investigating population health and well-being through estimation of Healthy Working Life Expectancy in England

Healthy Working Life Expectancy (HWLE) is an estimate of the number of years that people can stay healthy and in work. This project will use multi-state interpolated Markov chain modelling to (i) estimate HWLE and (ii) identify factors that reduce HWLE. Further work will model trends in HWLE over the next 20 years.


Foto2Roze Witkam (2019 Cohort)

Sociodemographic factors relating to obesity and arthritis in the UK

My research aims to understand the complex relationship between social determinants, obesity and arthritis by investigating how sociodemographic factors mediate, moderate or confound the relationship between obesity and arthritis. I will use three longitudinal cohorts (Understanding Society, English Longitudinal Study of Aging and the Norfolk Arthritis Registry) encompassing individuals from a wide range of society.


Amardeep Legha (2020 Cohort)

Longitudinal trajectories of work absence: bridging the gap between health and work

Absence from work due to ill-health is one of the biggest causes of productivity loss across the UK. To address this problem, this PhD aims to help clinicians offer targeted support to patients earlier than normally possible. Statistical methods to model common patterns (trajectories) of work absence using a large national electronic health record database will be compared.


Emma Randall (2020 Cohort)

The Nature Nurse: The practices of eco-therapy, wild interactions and wellbeing

I was awarded +3 studentship via NWSSDTP’s Health and Wellbeing Pathway in 2020. My research will develop critical geographical scholarship on nature to identify how being in nature is experienced through examining different practices of eco-therapy. This research will focus on encounters with birds in natural settings and how these non-human encounters can foster resilience and wellbeing in people.


Vincy Huang (2020 Cohort)

Health Impact of Nicotine & Tobacco (HINT): a microsimulation decision-support tool for local and national tobacco control policies in England

The aim of my project is to develop a microsimulation decision support tool to aid tobacco control policy makers at the local and national levels. This tool will quantify the health, economics and equity impact of tobacco policies. The result will be visualised in a user-friendly web-based user-interface.


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