Developing a social media intervention to increase awareness and understanding of psoriasis

A mixed-methods project using co-production with adults with psoriasis


An exciting opportunity to apply for a fully funded PhD position at the Centre for Appearance Research in the College of Health, Science and Society, UWE Bristol. The studentship will be funded by The Psoriasis Association.

Ref: 2324-JAN-HSS05.

The expected start date of these studentships is 1 January 2024.

The closing date for applications is 17 October 2023.

Studentship details

This is an exciting opportunity to conduct a funded full time PhD on the topic of using social media to increase awareness of the skin condition psoriasis within the general population and reduce misconceptions and negative attitudes towards it. The successful candidate will benefit from the opportunities presented by being part of a thriving internationally known university research centre focused on psychosocial aspects of appearance, including those associated with appearance-altering skin conditions. Centre of Appearance Research (CAR) has a strong, vibrant postgraduate community, and links with support organisations that work with people affected by visible differences. 

The studentship is funded The Psoriasis Association, a leading national charity which raises awareness of psoriasis and provides information and support to individuals who are affected by the condition. The supervisory team will include Dr Ella Guest (Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Appearance Research), Professor Diana Harcourt (Professor of Appearance and Health Psychology at the Centre for Appearance Research), and Dr Amy Slater (Visiting Professor at the Centre for Appearance Research) who have extensive research experience relating to visible difference, skin conditions, social media, and population-level interventions.

Individuals with psoriasis often face negative experiences due to their condition, such as unwanted comments, misconceptions, and discrimination. These experiences can greatly impact their psychological well-being and engagement in life. Since these challenges arise from societal attitudes influenced by media (mis)representation, it is crucial for charitable organisations to have evidence-based tools that raise awareness, increase knowledge, and challenge misconceptions about psoriasis. This PhD aims to better understand these experiences through qualitative interviews and developing an evidence-informed social media intervention, in collaboration with people with psoriasis.

The precise details of the PhD will be finalised by the successful student, who will be supported to identify a unique focus to the research in order to make a novel contribution to research in this field, using appropriate methodology.

In addition to developing an evidence-based social media campaign for the Psoriasis Association, this PhD will also offer an excellent training opportunity to develop the specific research skills and expertise of an early career researcher looking to establish a career in the field of applied appearance/health psychology and/or visible difference research.

For an informal discussion about the studentship, please email Dr Ella Guest (


The studentship is available from 1 January 2024 for a period of three years, subject to satisfactory progress and includes a tax exempt stipend, which will be £18,622 (2023/24) per annum.

In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home).


This would be a three-year, full-time commitment. This project is ideal for a self-motivated and enthusiastic student with a good honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in psychology, and evidence of further study at Masters level or equivalent (e.g., MSc health psychology, clinical psychology). Knowledge and experience of the psychology of appearance and body image and qualitative and quantitative research methods, and an interest in social media and skin conditions will be highly desirable.

The studentship is open to citizens in the UK.

A recognised English language qualification is required.

How to apply

Please submit your application online. When prompted use the reference number 2324-JAN-HSS05.

Supporting documentation: You will need to upload your research proposal, all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application, so please have these available when you complete the application form. Your research proposal attachment should describe your proposed research in as much detail as possible. 

The proposal needs to clearly outline the research questions, the relevant research literature, your proposed research methods and how your research will contribute to knowledge in your field and should be a maximum of four sides of A4.

References: You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 17 October 2023.

Further information

It is expected that interviews will take place on Thursday 16 November 2023. If you have not heard from us by November, we thank you for your application but, on this occasion, you have not been successful.

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