ERC-funded PhD studentship opportunity- Consequences of conspiracy theories

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent. The studentship is funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant awarded to Professor Karen Douglas, titled “Consequences of conspiracy theories” (CONSPIRACY_FX). The studentship will commence in September 2023.



The studentship is suitable for applicants who have or will have a Master’s degree or equivalent at merit or distinction level in Psychology or another relevant subject area by July 2023. The studentships will cover tuition fees at the Home rate (£4,596 per annum) or International rate (£17,400 per annum) and will additionally provide you with a stipend (£17,668 in 2022/23) for maintenance. There is also funding to conduct the PhD research and for conference travel and attendance.


Research project

The overall aim of the CONSPIRACY_FX project is to systematically examine the consequences of adopting and sharing conspiracy theories, to determine when and how they are important, and why they are influential. The project consists of four work packages. Three examine the consequences of conspiracy theories in the domains of politics, health and the environment. The fourth work package examines the consequences of conspiracy theories for the people who adopt and share them. Each work package involves a set of archival, survey, and experimental studies.


The successful candidate will work with Professor Douglas, alongside three Post-Doctoral Research Associates, a Project Officer, other Academic Staff, Research Assistants, and an International Advisory Board.


The successful candidate will be primarily responsible for the work package on health-related conspiracy theories. They will work closely with Professor Douglas to shape the specific studies in the PhD in a way that meets the project’s aims as well as matching the student’s research interests. Also, the successful candidate will work with Professor Douglas and the Post-Doctoral Research Associates across all four work packages.


Key responsibilities include survey and experimental design, study pre-registration, ethics applications, data collection, data analysis, data management, and dissemination of findings in the form of conference presentations and publications in academic journals. The student will also assist with other aspects of the project (e.g., co-ordinating the work of Research Assistants, public outreach). It is expected that the successful candidate will be highly familiar with major theories and research in social and political psychology, and will have extensive experience with quantitative research methods. Some experience analysing archival and qualitative data is desirable.


The student will be part of the vibrant research groups in social and political psychology research at the University of Kent (for more information see: and



The studentship is open to applicants of all student fee paying statuses. The studentship guarantees coverage of fees at the Home or International rate. Please note that current Kent PhD students are not eligible to apply.


How to apply

All completed applications received by 17.00 (UK time) on 28 February 2023 will be considered.

Completed applications must comprise all of the following:

  • Submission of a KentVision application for a Psychology PhD place in the School of Psychology at the University of Kent including:
    • A transcript of degree undergraduate and postgraduate marks to date and certificate, if available, in pdf format.
    • The names and email addresses of two academic referees. References must also be received by 17.00 (UK time) on 28 February 2023. Please leave a suitable amount of time for your referees to respond to the reference request which is sent automatically upon submission of the PhD application in KentVision.
    • A current CV in pdf format.
  • Submission of a 1-2 page covering letter which outlines your research interests and explains why you should be considered for the ERC-funded Psychology PhD studentship. Please feel free to describe specific ideas you have about investigating the consequences of health-related conspiracy theories. This letter should be sent directly to and should include the KentVision application ID number. If you have any specific questions about the studentships, please write to Professor Karen Douglas at


Please note that the PhD application form in KentVision includes fields and word count guidelines that are not specific to consideration for this competition so please ensure that you follow the procedures listed above. In fields such as ‘Reasons for study’ and ‘Research proposal’ you are welcome to write ‘See Application for ERC-funded Psychology PhD Studentship’.


The deadline for completed applications (including references) is 17.00 (UK time) on 28 February 2023. The shortlisting process will start immediately afterwards, and interviews will be held in the week commencing 06 March 2023. Unfortunately, we are unable to cover travel costs but will arrange Zoom/Teams interviews where appropriate.