Music Therapy: Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research PhD project opportunities

Find out more about self-funded PhD projects in areas where we already have supervisors active and engaged in the research topic in our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR).

Assessment tools, outcome measures

Supervisory team

Prof Helen Odell-Miller
Prof Jorg Fachner
Dr Jonathan Pool
Additional supervisors from the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
CIMTR is also collaborating with national and international partners to develop measures and validate them.

Project outline

Our leading research in this field supports the development of assessment tools and outcome measures to evaluate function and behaviour using musical stimuli and activities.

Children are often difficult to assess using adult measures due to neurodevelopmental differences between adults and children. These include language development, physical skills, and, importantly, cognitive development. Their needs are different too. So, it is important to have measures that are adapted or designed specifically for use with children. These measures must also be tested for their psychometric properties so that we know how we can interpret their results.

We collaborate with our research partners to develop and test new tools to be used in music therapy clinical practice to meet the needs of the treating clinicians, the family, education and care involved in looking after the child or young person. We find technological solutions to making clinical assessment and reporting more efficient.

Where you'll study

Funding

This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you have an enquiry about applying for a research degree, please email ahsspgrrec@aru.ac.uk

For administrative enquiries about our research courses please email ahsspgr@aru.ac.uk

Responsibility for the administration of research degrees is held by the Doctoral School.

Children and families

Supervisory team

Prof Helen Odell-Miller
Prof Jorg Fachner
Dr Jonathan Pool
Additional supervisors from the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
CIMTR plans to appoint further specialists in working with children.

Project outline

Our leading research in this field supports the development of strategies, methods, tools, and technologies to enhance child development and to support families and children living with disability and mental health difficulties.

Children with disabilities, whether acquired or congenital, are a growing population. Their needs are often lifelong, and their development can be severely affected by their disabilities and mental health problems.

The challenges of living with childhood disability and mental health difficulties are shared by the family. Therefore, it is important to include the family in developing interventions, assessment tools and strategies to support child and the family as a unit.

We conduct research to inform the effective delivery of interventions through education, and health and social care services. We support research investigating benefits and effectiveness of music therapy and music interventions for children, young people, and their families. We develop assessment tools that inform goal-setting, treatment and care plans, and educational plans for these children.

We foster high-impact research that explores social perspectives on childhood disability and mental health and engage in public debate on the societal questions raised by this research. We collaborate with colleagues internationally to develop guidelines and recommendations for using music in treatment and assessment with children and young people.

Where you'll study

Funding

This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you have an enquiry about applying for a research degree, please email ahsspgrrec@aru.ac.uk

For administrative enquiries about our research courses please email ahsspgr@aru.ac.uk

Responsibility for the administration of research degrees is held by the Doctoral School.

Healthy ageing and dementia

Project outline

Our leading research in this field supports the development of strategies, methods, tools, and technologies to enhance the prevention and clinical care of people with dementia.

The cost of providing long-term care for those affected by this disease is growing. In 2018 there were around 50 million people living with dementia globally, with an economic cost of 1 trillion US dollars. This population is projected to rise to 115 million by 2050.

We conduct research to inform the effective delivery of interventions through health and social care services. We support research attached to our existing projects which include delivering music therapy in care homes, working on policy for older people linked to music therapy, investigating benefits and effectiveness of music therapy for carers both family friends and paid, at home or in hospital care homes or day/out patient units.

We foster high-impact research that explores social perspectives on dementia and engage in public debate on the societal questions raised by this research. To generate and sustain the impact of our research we are also creating specialist training for music therapists, healthcare professionals and artists. Research into the generation of these new initiatives to support individuals and families to incorporate music therapy into their daily lives linked to music therapy is also welcome.

Where you'll study

Funding

This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you have an enquiry about applying for a research degree, please email ahsspgrrec@aru.ac.uk

For administrative enquiries about our research courses please email ahsspgr@aru.ac.uk

Responsibility for the administration of research degrees is held by the Doctoral School.

Music therapy and neuroscience

Research group

Supervisory team

Project outline

Neuroscience underpins our key research areas at CIMTR. We are keen on investigations into the neural basis of music and music-social interactions in its broadest sense, including the impact of music on cognition, emotion, and motor skills, as well as the role of music within a therapeutic relationship.

Our research moves the lab also into the field – capturing the real-world experiences of music therapists and their clients utilising EEG-hyperscanning. Of importance here is to realise research settings that incorporate the clinical practice of music therapy and its epistemological horizons while allowing quantitative analysis.

The supervisory team has a background in data-driven music therapy, musicological and neuroscientific research and recent grant-funded research projects have focused on EEG-hyperscanning and mobile monitoring applications in neurorehabilitation, dementia and psychiatric settings.

CIMTR’s facilities and research lab allow it to conduct single and dual-EEG lab-based experiments (e.g. ERP studies) as well as real-world studies into naturally evolving social interactions, combined with physiological monitoring and behaviour observation.

We welcome proposals that contribute to explaining how and why music therapy works from a neuroscientific perspective. For example, projects could be concerned with any of the following topics (but are not restricted to):

  • music and emotion processing
  • music and movement
  • specific aspects of clinical improvisation and music listening
  • imagery and consciousness processes during therapy
  • music and drug interactions in treatment
  • multimodal data acquisition and analysis approaches

To discuss your interests, please contact jorg.fachner@aru.ac.uk

Where you'll study

Funding

This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you have an enquiry about applying for a research degree, please email ahsspgrrec@aru.ac.uk

For administrative enquiries about our research courses please email ahsspgr@aru.ac.uk

Responsibility for the administration of research degrees is held by the Doctoral School.

Neurorehabilitation

Supervisory team

Project outline

We continue to prepare research protocols for patient benefit and efficacy and mechanisms of music-based interventions for neurorehabilitation, focusing mainly on stroke, traumatic brain injury and disorders of consciousness populations.

We have collaborated with an external SME and The University of Cambridge engineering department on developing music-based technology for stroke rehabilitation, including music apps. We continue to collaborate with Cambridge University Hospitals, where we completed a two-year feasibility study in 2019. We have also developed bids with the charitable trust there.

Our current research grant developments have been collaborations with Cambridge Community Services NHS Trust, University of Glasgow and University of Hannover, for stroke, upper limb hemiparesis.

We have completed research and published findings on home-based neurologic music therapy for upper limb hemiparesis rehabilitation, and neurologic music therapy in acute stroke rehabilitation. Previous and ongoing PGR projects related to neurological conditions have been on home-based music interventions for bulbar and respiratory function in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and developing a music and gaming app for hemiparetic arm rehabilitation following stroke.

Future studies, which have been developed to an early stage, include music interventions for cognitive and aphasia rehabilitation following stroke; music listening for fatigue reduction in acute stroke rehabilitation; and music listening for sleep-wake cycle regulation in disorders of consciousness.

Where you'll study

Funding

This project is self-funded.

Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website as they become available.

Next steps

If you have an enquiry about applying for a research degree, please email ahsspgrrec@aru.ac.uk

For administrative enquiries about our research courses please email ahsspgr@aru.ac.uk

Responsibility for the administration of research degrees is held by the Doctoral School.

If you have an idea for a project that does not align with one of the pre-defined projects above, please contact us at ahsspgrrec@aru.ac.uk