Thursday, 1 August 2013


PhD studentship opportunity in Criminology

We are pleased to announce that Keele University, along with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Staffordshire are funding a PhD studentship to run from three years from October 2013.

The successful candidate will research the effectiveness of an educational alternative to a fixed penalty for the offence of driving whilst using a mobile phone. In December 2003 a law came into force to prohibit drivers using a hand held mobile phone while driving. The principal hazard of phone use while driving is that it distracts the driver, taking their attention away from the task of driving. Research has found that drivers' reaction times were 50% slower when using a mobile phone.  The reactions of a mobile phone user are worse than those of a drunk driver.

Most drivers caught using a mobile phone whilst driving are dealt with by way of a £60 fine and receive three penalty points on their licence. However, drivers caught in Staffordshire may be offered the chance to attend ‘Crash Course' as an alternative to paying the fine and receiving penalty points. Preliminary analysis of reconviction data for this offence suggest that diversion may be a more effective way of changing driver behaviour. Thus, whilst early indications of the effectiveness of the course are good, a thorough, longitudinal evaluation is needed in order to explore the effectiveness of the scheme in a robust fashion, as well as the processes by which any change is achieved. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner Staffordshire and Keele University are jointly funding this studentship to carry out this research.

Duration and eligibility:
This studentship, which it is hoped will begin towards the end of September 2013, is for three years in duration.  Applicants should hold an honours degree in a relevant subject and have experience of carrying out and analysing quantitative research.  A postgraduate degree and/or knowledge and awareness of road traffic enforcement or educational interventions would be desirable.

The successful application will work under the guidance of Dr Helen Wells (Lecturer in Criminology), Dr Clare Griffiths (Lecturer in Criminology), and Dr Alex Lamont (Senior Lecturer in Psychology), as well as benefitting from input from Staffordshire Police.

The studentship funding for 3 years and includes a fee waiver (at UK/EU fee levels - £3,905 for 2013/14) and stipend of £13,726 per annum.  Full details and the online application form are available here. The closing date for applications is Monday 5th August 2013 and interviews will take place on 19th or 20th August 2013.

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