Funded PhD with NHS Grampian - Internal Nurses and Midwives Only

An exciting opportunity has been created for a nurse or midwife looking to commence a clinical academic research career. Funding is available for one nurse or midwife in NHS Grampian to undertake a full-time PhD by prospective publication with Queen Margaret University. The funding is offered by the partnership of NHS Grampian and the Division of Nursing and Paramedic Practice in Queen Margaret University. The funding covers wages and academic fees enabling the nurse or midwife to be released 0.8 WTE to undertake this PhD study over three years.

This PhD is of strategic importance for the organisation as it is seeks to understand and improve how the care assurance framework can be used to inform and enhance practice and patient outcomes.


Applications are invited on the following topic:

To explore the influence of our organisational care assurance framework on nursing and midwifery practice.

The objectives of the PhD are to:

  1. Understand how care assurance data is collected and used by nursing teams; nurse leaders and the wider organisation to enhance practice including person-centred practice, quality, safety and staff satisfaction
  2. Explore what influences the ways in which care assurance data and activities are used to enhance care standards at the micro, meso and macro level 
  3. Explore stakeholders views of the value that the care assurance framework provides and how such value can be enhanced 
  4. Understand if and how the inclusion of person-centred KPI’s has supported stakeholders to celebrate and improve the unique contribution nurses make to high quality care.

For an informal discussion about this bursary application and the secondment lease, please contact Dr Deborah Baldie, Research and Practice Development Lead Nurse, or Dr Caroline Dickson, Senior Lecturer in Nursing,



Applications are limited to Nurses and Midwives in NHS Grampian only.

Applicants should discuss their interest in applying with their line manager in the first instance and be guided by the NHS Grampian Learning and Development Policy.  This should be followed up with discussion and support from their Associate Nurse Director/ Chief/Lead Nurse/Midwife.

Start date: 23 January 2023

The successful applicant will be supported by a supervisory team and the Graduate School and will receive:

Financial Support

  • Full waiver of tuition fees
  • Band 6 full time pay
  • Maintenance of NHS terms and conditions
  • Study leave for 0.8WTE for three years

Academic and Clinical Support

  • Monthly supervision with supervisory team
  • Access to all doctoral programme training including three doctoral study weeks per year
  • Involvement in the Student Person-centred Practice Student Community of Practice
  • Researcher Enhancement and Development (READ) programme
  • Students can apply to QMU for research project travel or other educational scholarships annually
  • Access to QMU library and the virtual learning environment

Travel and Accommodation

The successful candidate will be predominately working remotely. The nature of this PhD means that the candidate will spend considerable periods of time working across NHS Grampian.

PhD students are expected to:

  • Attend all doctoral study weeks throughout the programme of study – some of which is delivered digitally
  • Visit campus to meet with supervisors, university colleagues and peers face to face at least 3 times during each academic year of study
  • Visit campus to defend the research proposal at the PhD probationary viva 
  • Visit campus to present Assessed Seminars in years 2 and 3 (or 4 and 6 for part time candidates)
  • Visit campus to defend thesis at final viva
  • Attend social events organised by the Doctoral Candidates Association (DCA) during study weeks, including the Annual Doctoral Researchers’ Conference.

You will be reimbursed for expenses incurred during the carrying out of your duties in accordance with your terms and conditions.

The deadline for applications: 12 noon on the 28th November 2022

Who can apply?

Applications are limited to Nurses and Midwives in NHS Grampian only.

Applicants should meet the standard entry criteria for the QMU PhD Programme as follows

  • A degree in an appropriate subject, or have a qualification or experience accepted as equivalent.
  • A Bachelors degree with an excellent or very good classification (first or upper second class honours in the UK (or international equivalent) or a good Masters degree.
  • A strong research proposal (1000 words max) detailing their, background, initial research design as well as any future skills they can bring to the project.
  • International students must also evidence competence in written and spoken English by submitting a valid IELTS certificate (valid for 2 years from date of test) with an average score of 6.5 (with no element scoring below 6.0); or evidence of successful completion of a Masters degree in the UK; or evidence of successful completion of a non-UK Masters degree taught and assessed in English.
  • Two supportive references (at least one academic reference)

How to apply

An overview of the PhD course is provided via the PhD course page. Guidance on applying for the PhD is provided here.

Applicants can apply for this funded place through our Admissions portal (Accessed via the 'Apply Now' button at the bottom of this section). Applicants should then select ‘Graduate School’ through the course search, and then select ‘PhD Studentship - NHS Grampian’.

The application process includes completion of an application form and submission of supporting documentation, including a research proposal.

The online application form allows you to save your progress, and you will be able to complete your PhD application in multiple stages, if required.

Following submission of your completed application, you will receive a QMU applicant ID number. Please quote this in any correspondence you have with QMU.

Application form

Please pay close attention to the spelling of your email address within the online form, as this is how we will contact you about your application.

Please ensure you select the appropriate course to indicate you are applying for the studentship.

Supporting information and documents

As part of your application, you will need to write a personal statement that sets out your experience, suitability for doctoral study, and motivation for applying to study on the QMU PhD programme.

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • your PhD research proposal;
  • copies of your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • confirmation of your English language ability (if required); and
  • copies of two letters of reference.

You will be able to upload these supporting documents as part of the application process. This is an important part of the admissions process, and without seeing supporting documents tutors will not have enough information to make a decision on your application. 

PhD Research Proposal

All applicants to the QMU PhD programme must provide a proposal for research that has academic merit and is capable of generating new knowledge. We will use your research proposal to check how well you understand the research process

Your PhD research proposal should:

  • be around 1000 words long;
  • summarise what the research is about;
  • summarise your background and the skills you will bring to the project;
  • set out why the research is important, making reference to current literature;
  • identify provisional research questions; and
  • suggest how the research questions can be investigated.

Please note that the research proposal must be written in your own words and should NOT include text that has been copied from books or articles. This is considered plagiarism and will lead to the automatic rejection of your application. In some cases, academic reviewers may submit research proposals to Turnitin in order to verify the legitimacy of the proposed research.

Qualifications (certificates and transcripts)

Please upload copies of your degree certificates and transcripts for any undergraduate or Masters degrees that you have completed or are about to complete.

Evidencing English language ability

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an IELTS certificate or have completed a degree which was delivered and assessed in English.

Only valid IELTS certificates are accepted as evidence of English language capability.  You need a score of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each element).  IELTS certificates are valid for two years after the test date.

If you completed a degree, at a non-UK institution, that was delivered and assessed in English, then you will need to provide a formal letter from the institution, on headed paper, stating that your degree was delivered and assessed in English. 

If your documents are in any language other than English then they will need to be accompanied by a formal certified translation into English, by either the awarding institution or a sworn translator.

References Two references are required.

Referees must provide your reference in the form of a formal letter on headed paper. The reference must be dated and signed (and ideally stamped). Please note that we may contact your referee to verify the reference letter prior to it being accepted.

Referee contact details should include a professional email account. Please do not provide personal email addresses for referees (such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo), as these will not be accepted.  


The deadline for applying to this funded position is the 28 November 2022. Click the button below to apply.


Apply Now



Please contact Dr Deborah Baldie or Dr Caroline Dickson for questions specifically related to this project.


Please contact if you have any queries about the application process.


Please contact if you have any queries about studying for a PhD at QMU.