Funding is available for the following research project which will be supervised jointly between Queen Margaret University and Edinburgh Napier University:

Smart wearable devices for supporting multi-comorbid and frail individuals to live independently

We aim to design, develop and evaluate a smart multi-sensor instrument that allows a personalised assessment of gait, stability and activities of daily living. The data will be used to perform different analysis to show risks associated with physical frailty and/or falls and pre-falls using AI approaches

Approximately 28%-35% of people aged 65+ experience one fall every year1. Near-falls, which include slips, trips and loss of balance which do not result in a fall are more common than an actual falls and have been shown to be associated with increased risk of an actual fall in the future. Detection however of falls and near falls rely upon accurate recognition and identification of high risk situations and activities linked with these types of adverse events. Identification of these high risk situations in the free living environment, may be more meaningful for effective preventive measures.

Frailty (PF) is one of the biological and behavioural risk factors linked with falls disability, social and mental dysfunction and increased morbidity. The desire to live independently with advancing age, combined with multiple coexisting conditions and associated risks, may conflict with safety and ability to maintain other instrumental and leisure daily activities (ADLs). There is an ever growing need for sustainable and cost effective solutions and systems to support the world’s aging population in maintaining independent living and prevent the occurrence of common injuries associated with disability and frailty such as falls, bone fractures and hospital admissions. In this respect we are proposing to combine research expertise and clinical experience and networks of people from QMU and ENU universities for a joint PhD programme of research. This project will aim to examine the dynamic interplay between physical movement during ADLs in the living environment and outcomes such as falls, pre-falls and related injuries as well as other health and well-being outcomes as agreed by the collaborating parties. Building on our previous work, we will implement new methodologies to record and monitor quantity and quality of human movement, incorporating data analysis, with state-of-art wearable devices, to offer novel insights into ADLs of elderly and frail individuals and the relationship to health and wellbeing outcomes.

Academic qualifications: A Master’s degree or a first degree (at least 2.1) ideally in Computing, or Computing Engineering, or Electronics and electrical engineering, or Robotics, or Mathematics or Health and Exercise/Physiotherapy related disciplines with a good understanding of wearable sensors and quantitative and qualitative data analysis and experience with working with human participants in research or practice settings.


  • Experiences in sensor technology and data analysis
  • Experience in mixed methods research approaches
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Component in statistics and data modelling
  • Knowledge of applied statistics


General Information

Start date: 23 January 2023.  (The successful applicant will need to be ready to commence on the programme by this date.  For International applicants this will include securing the required visa in time to travel to Edinburgh by this date.)

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

  • Full waiver of tuition fees;
  • an annual stipend of £15,609 lasting 3 years for full-time study; and
  • a research budget of £2,000 to cover project expenses and travel.

The deadline for applications is 7th August 2022.  Interviews are expected to take place during the last week of August or the first week of September 2022.


World Health Organisation (WHO), 2008. Global report on falls prevention in older age. Geneva: World Health Organization. (Accessible via:

Who can Apply?

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 - Napier Collaborative Studentship (CHEARR)’.

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 7th August 2022. Click the button below to apply.

Apply Now


For queries related to this project please contact:

Professor Hongnian Yu, E-mail: and/or

Dr Pelagia Koufaki, E-mail: 

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.