Group of pregnant women and women with children

The efficacy of a wearable intervention in treating poor mental health in the early postnatal period and the role of circadian rhythm and prolactin during mental health recovery

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details:  Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU at international rates from Sept 24)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2024

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2024

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Ksenija Maravic da Silva

circular light trails


The Trailblazer PhD studentships have been devised and developed by leading early-career researchers at Coventry University.


Adverse mental and physical health outcomes in the early postnatal period arise due to an imbalance in individual resources, environmental demands, and physical, hormonal, and sleep changes. The added barriers are related to the stigma of the antidepressant effect on the quality of breast milk and the affordability and duration of psychological interventions. Therefore, research is underway to explore new, non-pharmacological, affordable, and effective treatment options.

Project details

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recognised that wearables can improve mental health in the general population. However, this advice has not been extended to the perinatal period due to a lack of research, impeded by the stigma related to perinatal mental health. Importantly, recent studies have speculated a correlation between aberrant expression of lactogenic hormones and pathological changes in mood and sleep.
Following (i) a systematic literature review, this research will (ii) evaluate the suitability of a wearable intervention in the postnatal period and (iii) explore the trajectory and protective role of circadian rhythms and prolactin levels on mental health during the early postnatal period. The outcomes will lay the foundations to extend treatment care for women post-birth


Tuition fees and bursary (£18,622 p/a).


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English.  The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

For further details please visit:

Additional requirements

Previous experience working with neuromodulation devices and/or maternity services is highly desirable.


How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact - Dr Ksenija Maravic da Silva

All applications require full supporting documentation, and a covering letter – plus up-to 2000-word supporting statement showing how your applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

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