The Mother and Infant Research Unit welcomes applications from potential PhD students with a focus on maternal and infant health and care aligned to one or more of our research themes.

We have expertise in a wide-range of methodologies including both primary research and evidence synthesis. The following are examples of topics of interest:

Infant feeding: studies that can inform infant and young child feeding policy and practice in a range of contexts including for example:

  • barriers and facilitators to breastfeeding
  • development of theoretically-informed interventions to promote, protect and support breastfeeding
  • knowledge, skills and attitudes of health practitioners/lay supporters
  • feeding low-birthweight/preterm infants
  • infant and young child feeding in humanitarian settings
  • promoting skin-to-skin/kangaroo mother care for full term, preterm and sick neonates
  • impact of infant feeding decisions on health outcomes for women and babies
  • breastfeeding mothers’ use of online technologies designed to aid breastfeeding
  • knowledge and attitudes of young people towards breastfeeding

Quality and organisation of maternity care: studies that explore, evaluate or aim to improve the quality and organisation of maternity services and care in a range of settings including for example:

  • using theoretical frameworks and models such as the Lancet Series Framework for Quality Maternal and Newborn Care to evaluate maternity/midwifery services and care
  • implementing evidence-based maternity/midwifery care
  • impact of midwifery/midwives on the quality of maternity care
  • experiences of women, men and families of maternity/midwifery care
  • continuity of carer in maternity care
  • outcomes and experiences of different models of maternity care including midwifery-led care
  • respectful maternity care
  • preconception care
  • support and wellbeing of maternity staff
  • perinatal mental health services

Vulnerable or socially disadvantaged groups: studies that explore, evaluate or aim to improve the access to and experiences of maternity care, and to reduce health inequalities, of women, babies and families from vulnerable and socially disadvantaged population groups or those with complex needs and circumstances. This could include but is not limited to:

  • families from minority ethnic backgrounds
  • adolescent parents; parents with mental health challenges
  • women who use substances during pregnancy and postnatally including illegal or prescribed drugs
  • public health challenges such as obesity, alcohol, smoking including e-cigarettes
  • vulnerable migrants, asylum-seekers and trafficked women
  • humanitarian settings
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; homeless women; women in the criminal justice system; and women with disabilities

Midwifery education: studies that investigate the implementation, scaling-up, quality and outcomes of pre- and post-registration midwifery programmes including preparation of midwifery educators.

Alison McFadden

Professor of Mother and Infant Public Health
 +44 (0)1382 388 735