Alliance Scotland PhD Scholarship – Exploring the role of individuals with lived experience of gambling harms in policy and research

Alliance Scotland PhD Scholarship – Exploring the role of individuals with lived experience of gambling harms in policy and research

Alliance Scotland PhD Scholarship - Exploring the role of individuals with lived experience of gambling harms in policy and research

Information on the School/Research Group

The School of Social and Political Sciences offers a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment in which to pursue world-leading research that is theoretically informed and empirically grounded.

Our staff have expertise in a range of innovative methodological and theoretical approaches and engage extensively with public and private sector partners in research dissemination and knowledge exchange to advance understanding of social sciences. This provides an excellent environment for high quality supervision at the postgraduate level, within a supportive and dynamic research environment.

Project details

Gambling is increasingly recognised as a public health issue, yet to date, policy and research expertise about gambling has been centralised outside of public health fields. Within public health more broadly, there is increasing recognition that the shaping of policy and research agendas would benefit greatly from the involvement of people who have lived experience of the issues. Whilst other fields (for example, substance misuse) have involved people with lived experience in research, policy and practice, for some time, the value of involving these voices is only now being recognized in  gambling studies. Yet increasingly, people with lived experience of gambling harms are making their voices heard: campaigning for action and creating powerful lobbying groups focusing on achieving policy change (e.g Gambling With Lives).

Gambling, however, represents a diverse range of practices and experiences and there are particular challenges in ensuring this diversity is fully represented by lived experience groups. For example, whilst women do experience harms from gambling, their experiences tend to be bound with heightened senses of shame and stigma, and it is relatively rare to find women with lived experience of gambling harms speaking out on these issues. In addition, other under-represented groups include those from Black and Minority Ethnic groups, despite evidence showing a harm paradox for these groups, with people from BAME communities being less likely to gamble but more likely to experience harm if they do. 

This project proposes to explore how and why people become involved in research and policy as lived experience representatives and to examine barriers to engagement among people with certain characteristics. It aims to critically appraise how those with lived experience have been engaged by the policy and research communities to date and, drawing on best practice from other public health areas, make recommendations for the future development of the area.

This PhD is funded by The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE), who are funded through Regulatory Settlement Funds which are approved by the Gambling Commission to put the voice of lived experience at the heart of action to reduce gambling harms. The Scottish Reducing Gambling Harm programme has established a Lived Experience Forum to accelerate the delivery of the National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harm and identify priorities to reduce gambling harm in Scotland.  The ALLIANCE is the national third sector intermediary for a range of health and social care organisations. It is a strategic partner of the Scottish Government and has close working relationships with many national NHS Boards, academic institutions and key organisations spanning health, social care, housing and digital technology.

We are looking for a highly ambitious student with an interest in gambling research policy, public health and applied social research methods.  We are interested in an  individual who is  eager to explore a new field, who is able to  develop innovative ideas, and who can work independently. Candidates must also be able to collaborate with others and develop strong interpersonal networks, including those involved in the work of the ALLIANCE. The successful individual will join the vibrant PhD community in the School of Social and Political Sciences.  They will have access to significant resources and expertise from across the School, including its world class researchers and international networks. In addition, they will also benefit from access to the policy, third sector and support and resources offered by  the Scottish Lived Experience Forum to Reduce Gambling Harm, the ALLIANCE and from its extensive policy and third sector networks.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria

  • A good first degree (at least 2:1), in Social Sciences or related subject.
  • A Master's level qualification in social sciences or public health
  • Demonstratable skills in social research methods, particularly in partipatory research methods and qualitative research
  • Demonstrate an interest in gambling policy and practice
  • Demostrate interest in working with marginalized and vulnerable groups and third sector organisations.

Eligible countries/regions

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bermuda
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canada
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Congo Democratic Republic of
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • East Timor
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • England
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Estonia
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Korea North
  • Korea South
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • San Marino
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Scotland
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Wales
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Eligible programmes


The scholarship is available as a three year '+3' (PhD only). The programme will commence in April 2021.  It includes

  • A stipend indexed to the UKRI rate (2020-21 rate £15,285 Full-Time).
  • 100% Tuition Fee Waiver at the standard Home rate (An International recipient would need to cover the difference between the Home and International fee rates).

Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) of up to £2,250 over 3 years (usually up to a maximum of £750 per year).

How to apply

All applicants should complete and collate the following documentation, and then attach to a single email and send to with the subject line 'Alliance Scotland PhD Scholarship'

  • College of Social Sciences funding application cover sheet
  • Academic transcript(s): Final and current degree transcripts including grades and degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed) - scanned copy in colour of the original document/s
  • Degree Certificate(s) and an official translation, if needed - scanned copy in colour of the original document/s 
  • References: 2 references on headed paper (academic and/or professional) - one must be academic, the other can be academic or professional. If required, these can be sent from your referees directly to, with your full name and the CoSS scholarship title to which you are applying as the subject
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Cover letter detailing the following:
    1. Your research interests.
    2. A detailed course description of your Master's research training
    3. Details of any other relevant training and skills you have.
    4. Your long-term career goals.
    5. short statement (max 1,000 words) explaining how the above fit with, and can add to, the research project.

The cover letter should be a single document with the file named as follows *Yourname_Wardle_AllianceScotlandPhDScholarship_Date*

Applicants lodge their application via email:

Closing Date: 24 February 2021

Selection process

Applications will be assessed by a selection panel and applicants shortlisted applicants may be asked to attend a remote interview.

All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within the School of Social and Political Sciences. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

For more information contact: