Supervisors: Dr Currie & Dr Irvine (James Hutton Institute), Dr Reid (University of St Andrews)
Funding Status: The studentship will only be fully funded for UK / EU candidates for up to 4 years.
This studentship will critically examine the utility of ‘health smart homes’ (HSH) to enhance the wellbeing of older people in rural Scotland. Enabling older people to remain in their own homes as long as possible promotes their wellbeing (Chan, et al., 2009, Milligan et al., 2011) and is perceived to reduce pressures on the National Health Service (Scottish Government, 2012). This is particularly important for Scotland – especially its rural areas – since it is faced with a demographically ageing population that has increased healthcare and social needs. The transition towards HSH’s (Le, et al., 2012), homes which include automation and provide healthcare from afar, is thus gaining political traction as a mechanism for ‘positive-ageing-in-place’ (Bowes & McColgan 2006). Yet, the concept of HSH is not without challenge and much of the scholarship concentrates on technological innovation with individual-level implications (e.g. ability to cope with change) and the broader social context within which HSH operates (e.g. ethics of monitoring) often neglected. It is thus critical that HSH are examined more widely than through a technological lens. The project will draw on multiple fields of inquiry such as Science and Technology Studies, (environmental psychology, geography and sociology. A mixed methods approach will be considered. Research will seek to inform the potential design of HSH in the future and to understand how they are implemented and experienced.
Interested candidates should have a good first degree from a social science background. You must have a minimum of a strong first degree (First Class, Upper Second Class or equivalent) and preferably a Masters in a relevant subject [e.g. geography, environmental psychology, sociology, public health or related discipline. Knowledge and/or experience of different research designs, methods (qualitative, quantitative) and some familiarity with statistical packages and large data sets will be necessary. You must be able to work in a self-directed manner and have inter-personal skills to work effectively with others.