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Research with Impact

Jan

16

Dr Suzanne Dash, reports on the School of Psychology’s PhD Studentships in collaboration with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: Research with impact.

The School of Psychology now hosts six PhD students who are part-funded by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and part-funded by the university. The close relationship between the University and the Trust offers the tantalising prospect of rapid translation of research findings into evidence-based clinical practice, resulting in research that will address local needs.

    

From left: Clio Berry, Lizzie Clark, Geoff Davies, Nicolas Farina, Sarah Fielding-Smith, and Jeremy Young.

Jeremy Young’s work on exercise and ageing and Nicolas Farina’s project examining exercise and dementia will help support the Trust’s commitment to the holistic care of people with dementia living in the local area. This is particularly important given that East Sussex has the highest proportion of over 85s in England, and consequently high numbers of people living with dementia[1].

One benefit of the SPT studentship is that we have been able to access patients that we would not normally have access to, enabling a greater understanding of the factors involved in a given clinical condition.” says 3rd year PhD student Jeremy Young. “Our over-arching goal we like to call: ‘Dementia – prediction, prevention, prorogation’, we’re hoping that our research will help to predict and at least delay the onset of dementia, and on the other side help to prorogue, or postpone, the progression of dementia.” 

Another area that the research is contributing to is service delivery. Mindfulness-based therapy is gaining a strong evidence-base, and Lizzie Clark (supervised by Dr Kate Cavanagh) is undertaking a PhD project examining the feasibility of offering mindfulness in a self-help format. 

The breadth of the topics being researched by the students is impressive, from social inclusion in psychosis (Clio Berry, supervised by Dr Kathy Greenwood) and the impact of exercise on older-adults’ cognitive function (Jeremy Young, Nicolas Farina, supervised by Professor Jenny Rusted), to expanding our expertise in psychosis research with Geoff Davies’ project in neurocognition in psychosis and Sarah Fielding-Smith use of novel time-sampling methodologies to study the temporal dynamics of psychotic experiences (both supervised by Dr Kathy Greenwood and Dr Mark Hayward, (SPRiG)).

However, it is not only the University and local health and mental health services that benefit from these studentships. The students themselves gain valuable skills in both academic and clinical psychology.  Experiencing such a broad and applied research education will no doubt increase the employability of these students when they reach the end of their PhDs.

There is a bright future for the University, the students, and for local services as these students progress and their research findings inform local clinical practice. These students are on track to make a real difference to the lives of people affected by mental health difficulties and medical conditions, on a local, national and international level.

Information about current PhD studentships in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex can be found online.  

The students’ research presentations can be viewed too. 

 

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