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25 Mar 2021

PhD Studentship – Exploring opportunities to improve the food and drink environment in UK secondary schools

Junk food in schools

Start date September 2021 for three years, full time.

This PhD opportunity is linked to our early intervention, prevention and behaviour change theme, and is based at Newcastle University.

Our Doctoral Fellows are distributed across themes and universities and are a crucial part of our capacity building strategy.

More about the PhD

Are you interested in improving children’s diets? This exciting PhD will help develop the evidence-base on potential interventions in secondary schools to improve students food and drink choices, and influence practice and policy.

Children do not consume enough fruit or vegetables but consume too much saturated fat and sugar. Individual, social, environmental and policy all influence what we eat. The Covid-19 pandemic has re-highlighted societal inequalities, including for children. The school environment can play a significant role in addressing some of these inequalities.

Over 3 million children attend a secondary school in England for 190 days a year. Each year, a group of students transition from primary to secondary school leading to more independence in food and drink choices due to different school food environments and the opportunity to influence food and drink choices of large numbers of children. Although there are food-based standards that apply across the whole school day in secondary schools, there is little research beyond the lunch period.

Under the Prevention, Early Intervention and Behaviour Change theme of the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) North East and North Cumbria (NENC), this PhD will enable the candidate to develop key research questions exploring opportunities to improve food and drink choices in secondary school students.

The candidate will have the opportunity to develop independent thinking; refine the research question(s) and review the literature; consider data collection methods for student food and drink choices; and use theory and qualitative methods to explore co-designing an intervention with stakeholders.

Find out more and apply.

Closing date 21 April 2021.