PhD opportunity

Dorothy Newbury-Birch wrote:

PLEASE SHARE: fabulous opportunity to do a prestigious phd with me at Teesside University looking at developing an app for gaining consent for research for young people in the criminal justice system in the UK. For more information contact

Using a co-production approach with young people to develop an app for gaining consent in research trials in the criminal justice system.

AIMS and hypothesis (and methodology)

The aim of this PhD is to use a co-production approach with young people to develop an app for gaining consent in research trials in the criminal justice system. This will be a mixed methods study with the following objectives:

  1. To carry out a systematic review of the international literature to investigate the barriers and facilitators associated with gaining consent to public health interventions for young people
  2. To carry out interviews with stakeholders from the criminal justice arena and from university ethics boards to ascertain what is needed in order to ensure that the app would be sufficient for ethical approval
  3. To carry out a series of workshops with young people (in and out of the criminal justice system) to co-produce an online app that explains and gains informed consent from young people.
  4. To qualitatively explore the views of young people/practitioners and research commissioners to ascertain their views on the proposed app.
  5. To work with young people to make changes to the app based on the findings of previous aims.
  6. To make the app available online to researchers and monitor use.

Interdisciplinary and fit with relevant DTA programme

This work is interdisciplinary in its nature, bringing together expertise from social sciences, criminology, computing and public health and add to the social policy evidence base.

Strategic relevance

Research in the criminal justice system is difficult. There are a lot of competing parts to the equation including experience and expertise, values and judgement, resources, policy context, habits and traditions, pressure groups as well as research evidence (1). Ethical approval for research in the criminal justice system is difficult primarily because of the perceived coersion and vulnerability of the participants (2). However, evidence tells us that participants do not feel coerced if the project is explained properly (3). At the heart of this evaluation is that it will be carried out in co-production with young people and staff involved in this system. This is a methodology which the team has extensive experience of carrying out (4-6). This research has the ability to produce an innovative way of gaining consent with young people in the criminal just system which will be of benefit to researchers and practitioners.


Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at

The final deadline for application is Monday 8 October 2018. There will be another opportunity to apply for DTA3 projects in the spring of 2019. The list of available projects is likely to change for the second intake.

Funding Notes
DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.


  1. Armstrong, R., TL. Pettman, and E. Waters. 2014. ‘Shifting sands – from description to solutions’, Public Health, 128: 525-32.

  2. Jones, JA. 2012. ‘Ethical Considerations in Criminal Justice Research: Informed Consent and Confidentiality’, Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse, 4: 08.

  3. Sherman, LW., H. Strang, G. Barnes, DJ. Woods, S. Bennett, N. Inkpen, D. Newbury- Birch, M Rossner, C. Angel, M. Mearns, and M. Slothower. 2015. ‘Twelve Experiments in Restorative Justice: The Jerry Lee Program of Randomized Trials of Restorative Justice Conferences’, Journal of Experimental Criminology, 11: 501-40.

  4. McGeechan, G., C. Richardson, L. Wilson, G. O’Neill and D. Newbury-Birch (2016). “Exploring Men’s perceptions of a community based men’s shed programme in England.” Journal of Public Health in press.

  5. McGeechan, G., K. Wilkinson, N. Martin, L. Wilson, G. O’Neill and D. Newbury-Birch (2016). “A mixed method outcome evaluation of a specialist Alcohol Hospital Liaison Team.” Perspectives in Public Health In press

  6. Newbury-Birch, D., G. McGeechan and A. Holloway (2016). “Climbing down the steps from the ivory tower: how UK academics and practitioners need to work together on alcohol studies (Editorial).” International Journal of Prisoner Health 12(3): 129-134.

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Thanks for sharing this announcement!