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Dimensions of motivation to eat, appetite control and obesity management


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Tuesday 23 April 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Professor James Stubbs
Additional supervisors
Dr Mark Hopkins; Professor G Finlayson; Dr Kristine Beaulieu
School of Psychology
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This fully funded PhD place provides an exciting opportunity to pursue postgraduate research in appetite, energy balance and obesity research. <br /> <br /> The School of Psychology invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2024/25 for the (Thomas Ward) Scholarship. <br /> <br /> The award is open to full-time or part-time candidates (UK only) who meet the eligibility for a place on a PhD degree at the School of Psychology.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The proposed PhD provides an exciting opportunity to pursue postgraduate research in the area of Appetite and Energy Balance. This project aims to understand how motivation to eat traits and states influence mechanisms of appetite and food intake control and to evaluate how we can use this knowledge to provide an evidence base that enhances dietary approaches to weight management and improves the health and wellbeing of people living with obesity.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Our current analyses of motivation to eat&nbsp;<strong>traits</strong>&nbsp;suggests that there are 6 motivational dimensions to the construct of &lsquo;motivation to eat,&rsquo; which are: 1) reactive eating, 2) negative emotional overeating, 3) positive emotional eating, 4) restricted eating, 5) homeostatic eating, and 6) eating for pleasure. This model is generalisable across different contexts and predictive of body weight and body weight change.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>This PhD will combine review work, psychometric scale design and analysis, secondary data analysis and collection of new data to test and evaluate whether the 6 dimensions of motivation to eat traits can be applied to motivation to eat&nbsp;<strong>states</strong>.&nbsp;</p> <p>The project will involve synthesising existing theories and measures of motivation to eat to eat (<strong>eating</strong>&nbsp;<strong>motivation mapping</strong>). Investigating how dimensions of motivation to eat influence energy balance behaviours and weight change through secondary data analyses. These studies should lead to the development of new visual analogue-based eating behaviour state measures. These can be tested as predicters of weight and weight change in a large survey of participants of a weight management programme and in relation to physiological signalling involved in appetite control and energy balance regulation, in an exciting new UKRI FLF programme, led by Dr Mark Hopkins.</p> <p>The core research questions of the PhD include.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li>Can we use the current 6 factor motivation to eat trait measures, that have been psychometrically validated and show clear associations with BMI, weight and weight change?&nbsp;</li> <li>How do aspects of MTE predict energy balance behaviours and weight change in existing large randomised controlled trials&nbsp;(DiOGenes and NoHoW)?&nbsp;</li> <li>How do dimensions of motivation to eat relate to body mass index and weight change in participants of a weight management programme?&nbsp;</li> <li>How do dimensions of motivation to eat predict changes in appetite signalling systems?&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> </ol> <h4><strong>Conditions:</strong></h4> <ul> <li>Applicants must not have already been awarded or be currently studying for a doctoral degree.</li> <li>Awards must be taken up by no later than 1st October 2024.</li> <li>Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this scholarship.</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>To apply for this scholarship opportunity applicants should complete an&nbsp;<a href=";type=184&amp;DID=757&amp;" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">online application form</a>&nbsp;and attach the following documentation to support their application.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>a full academic CV</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable)</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this scholarship project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Psychology as your programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert</li> <li>For source of funding please state you are applying for a Thomas Ward Scholarship</li> </ul> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to this scholarship in the School of Psychology should normally have an Undergraduate degree of 2:1 or above (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject area. A Master&rsquo;s degree is desirable, but not essential.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Medicine and Health minimum requirements for this PhD are: &bull; British Council IELTS - score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0. The test must be dated within 2 years of the start of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>The Thomas Ward Scholarship will attract an annual tax-free stipend matching the UKRI rate (&pound;18,622 for 2023/24) each year for up to 3 years subject to satisfactory progress. Academic fees will also be paid at the UK fee rate. Due to limited funding we can only consider applicants for this position who are eligible for UK fee status. Part time study is also available, and the stipend and study duration will be amended accordingly.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>We encourage applicant to contact the supervisor(s) for informal discussion about the suitability of the project before applying to the University</p> <p>Prof R James Stubbs e:&nbsp;<a data-email-addr="624699257be1dbe81bd8b74337275c29f81d6c020eb54b7fa43966cfef8cafa7" data-email-name="" data-stattype="2" href="javascript:void(0)"></a></p> <p>For further information about the application process please contact the Admissions team</p> <p>e:&nbsp;<a data-email-addr="362b73e637859029b72fb7319aa7bd55ffa6b1008d3b8af963f71c16a640deed" data-email-name="" data-stattype="2" href="javascript:void(0)"></a></p>