PhD Opportunities in Brunel University

Brunel University has a number of ESRC-funded MSc+PhD or PhD-only studentships available on the broad topic of health and wellbeing. Students with an interest in the cultural evolution of medicine / health behaviour are encouraged to contact Micheal de Barra or Matthias Gobel to discuss co-developing an application. We particularly interested in supervising projects examining health behaviour across cultures using theories from cognitive anthropology / cultural evolution. Methods may include laboratory studies, field work, transmission chain experiments, or natural language processing of health texts/corpuses. Illustrative topics include:
– How intuitions about biological processes shape health-related information sharing. (de Barra)
– How public trust in health care systems influences the cultural evolution of vaccine narratives. (de Barra)
– Health and well-being in organisational settings across cultures (Gobel)

Successful applicants would join the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies and the Centre for Culture and Evolution (CCE). The CCE is an expanding group with expertise in cross-cultural psychology, evolutionary psychology, and cultural evolution. Centre members explore the psychology and evolution of religion, ritual, dance, leadership, relationships, as well as health/medicine:

Some practicalities:

– This scheme is competitive and applicants without a first class degree and a strong skillset or relevant experience are unlikely to be successful.
– Candidates are required to be UK residents, but there are exceptions if the students have advanced quantitative methods and data skills.
– The deadline for Brunel applications is likely to be in mid January and candidates are encouraged to contact Micheal de Barra ( or Matthias Gobel ( by mid December for an informal discussion about the applications.