The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer) has obtained funding for 3 Cardiff University Research Opportunity Placements (CUROP). Placements provide opportunities for 1st, 2nd & penultimate year Cardiff University undergraduate students to gain experience working on current research projects within an academic research centre.
Placements will last for 8 weeks and will take place within the summer break, 2017. Students will receive a payment of £200 per week. Students will benefit from the wealth of theoretical and methodological expertise in DECIPHer. They will work with researchers undertaking research on key public health issues, and encouraged to engage with the formal and informal academic activities of the Centre (e.g. the DECIPHer Forum and Health Challenge Wales seminars).
There is a single application process for all three placements, listed below. Within this, students may express interest in one or more of the placements.
Placement 1: Impacts of e-cigarette regulation via the EU Tobacco Products Directive on the marketing of e-cigarettes via social media
Supervisors: Dr Graham Moore, Dr Rachel Brown & Dr Britt Hallingberg
This research is assessing the impact of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), introduced in May 2016 with the aim of restricting the marketing and sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products. The study is evaluating the effect of the legislation on e-cigarette attitudes and behaviours of young people in Wales, Scotland and England.
The student placed with us will be asked to undertake a sub-study of the main evaluation, looking at e-cigarette marketing on social media before and after the legislation. They will consider whether mainstream advertising restrictions have led to increases in alternative advertising, looking at approaches to online marketing and social media activities for leading e-cigarette brands. The student will be supported in the analysis of data and in the development of an article for publication. They will be given the opportunity to attend project and centre team meetings and will be encouraged to fully participate in centre life.
Placement 2: The PACERS Study (Physical ACtivity monitors in an Exercise Referral Setting)
Supervisors: Dr Jemma Hawkins & Dr Graham Moore
This project is assessing the feasibility and acceptability of adding a new component (accelerometry- based activity monitors) to the existing National Exercise Referral Scheme in Wales. This aims to support motivation for maintaining activity through providing automated feedback on progression toward goals.
The student appointed to this placement will be supported by the supervisors to conduct interviews with staff from the scheme to explore their experiences of implementing this new component within existing practice over the past 12-months. The student will be supported to analyse the interview data and develop an article for publication. The placement provides opportunities to develop key skills in reviewing literature, analysis of qualitative data, using analysis software such as NVivo, and reporting research outcomes. The start date for this placement is flexible.
Placement 3: The WISE (Wellbeing in Secondary Education) Project: Improving the Mental Health Support and Training Available to Secondary School Teachers
Supervisor: Dr Jillian Grey & Dr Rhiannon Evans
The WISE (Wellbeing in Secondary Education) Project is a cluster-randomised controlled trial of an intervention to improve the mental health support and training available to secondary school teachers. The trial will involve 12 secondary schools in Wales and 12 secondary schools in England.
The appointed student will contribute to the conduct of the trial. Activities will include: planning data collection; preparing research materials; attending fieldwork at schools and administering data collection tools; entering data; completing other trial-related tasks that are consistent with the placement.
Application process and shortlisting
1) Please write 300 words on why you would be a suitable candidate for a CUROP placement and why it would benefit you. Please base this around your first choice placement, but also indicate within this which of the other 2 placements you would also be interested in, if any.
2) Attach a CV (maximum two pages) which includes: a breakdown of your individual marks on your modules to date; your contact details, and any relevant work or voluntary experience.
3) Submit both documents to SheppardKE@cardiff.ac.uk by 12 noon on Tuesday 2nd May;
4) Candidates will be notified on Monday 8th May as to whether they have been shortlisted for interview. Interviews will take place on Thursday 18th May.
Applicants must not have previously completed a CUROP project.
Quotes from past DECIPHer CUROP students
“Before I started I didn’t think I would be capable of doing half the things I have done at DECIPHer – everything from designing materials and exercises to be used in focus groups, to transcribing a full interview recording and analysing it.”
“My placement has built on the foundations of research knowledge and experience that my university work has provided, and given me a head start for my dissertation this year. I will be continuing with the project for my dissertation as I have found the project topic so interesting.”
– Zoe Phillips, DECIPHer CUROP student 2013
“Being actively involved in so many different DECIPHer projects means I’ve developed skills that will help with specific aspects of my dissertation. Maybe more importantly, though, my time here has vastly improved my overall understanding of health inequalities and the stages and complexity of health research. The placement has also given me a much better understanding of what real research employment is like.”
– Emily Lowthian, DECIPHer CUROP student 2014
“Performing background research into the links between smoking, drinking and part time work, or disposable income, was incredibly interesting. Furthermore, analysing the baseline data from the trail proved to be worthwhile as we found similar trends as those shown in the literature reviewed for the study”
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at DECIPHer and learnt a lot from the experience. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming that I felt a part of the team from the very beginning.”
– Alice Pennington, DECIPHer CUROP student 2015
“I found that working in research and learning about research to be two very different things, so knowing that the work I was doing was contributing to such an important and large scale study was amazing. Seeing how research is put into practice has encouraged me to concentrate on applying myself to my University work, to be able to be involved in similar projects related to mental health and wellbeing in the future.”
– Jessica Richardson, DECIPHer CUROP student 2016