The Centre for Research for Health and Wellbeing provides a vibrant and fertile environment for postgraduate research studies. We offer a number of research routes for those wishing to increase their research experience and develop their academic and professional profile. We can offer 'traditional' postgraduate programmes such as MPhil and PhD as well as new routes to PhDs such as PhDs by Applied Research, PhD by Publication (prospective and retrospective) and we are in the process of developing a Professional Doctorate in Health Research. We are particularly interested in receiving enquires and applications from those who wish to undertake research in professional and community based environments. Please contact Bob Snape [] if you wish to submit a proposal or application to undertake postgraduate research.

We have a range of postgraduate research training modules available to our postgraduate research students to ensure that they are able to develop the skills and expertise required to undertake independent research.

Current Students Include:

Ana Lucia Borges da Costa

Ana is an Occupational Therapist by background and she is also a teacher of 'Circle Dance'.  She currently holds a PGR Bursary within the Centre for Research for Health and Wellbeing to explore the potential contribution of circle dance to well-being through the subject field of occupational therapy.

Circle dance derives from the tradition of folk dance; its repertoire includes traditional dances from different countries and cultures in addition to contemporary choreographies. As a form of physical and leisure activity, it can be explored in the context of occupational therapy principles and practices and promotion of health and well-being. The overall focus of this investigation is to develop an understanding of the complexity and meanings that participants attributed to circle dance and its impact on their sense of occupational well-being; this will thereby generate a detailed knowledge of the process of being engaged in this shared occupation.  It will also consider how pedagogic practice might induce a sense of well-being in participants and how the principles of occupational therapy, as a profession involved and specialised in occupation could enhance the pedagogy of circle dance.

Related Publications by Ana to this research study is as seen below:
Borges da Costa, A.L. (2012) Circle dance, occupational therapy and well-being: the need for research. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(2), pp. 114-116.   

Borges da Costa, A.L. (2012) Circle dance: a leisure occupation promoting well-being. Leisure Studies Association Newsletter, n. 91, pp. 25-26.

Amy Shephard

Amy is currently working on a full time PhD at the University’s Centre for Research for Health and Wellbeing. Her research is exploring the role community based health organisations play in helping to increase social capital and health potential. She is undertaking the research in a participatory way. She has formed a research steering group with residents around Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living who meet every two months to provide guidance on how the research should be shaped. As part of this process Amy has interviewed several local stakeholders, this process has led to a wide spread awareness of the research and they too have contributed to its shape and local relevance.

Amy hopes to use the research to help influence the way local stakeholders view health.

Marta Anna Zurawik

Marta is undertaking a doctoral degree within Centre for Research for Health and Wellbeing. Her research interests are in the fields of Leisure Time Physical Activity and Social Gerontology. Marta’s research study examines benefits of Nordic Walking on elderly people and popularity of Nordic Walking in the North West area.

Nordic walking, also known as walking with poles, is an outdoor activity which involves using walking poles to engage the legs and upper body in a workout. The origins of Nordic Walking come from Finland when cross-country skiers used poles to exercise in summer time to keep their bodies in top condition and prepare for winter season. Since 1990s Nordic Walking has spread to countries all over the world, becoming main stream leisure activity, promoted as a simple whole body workout in health and wellness programs. Growing interest in Nordic Walking endorsed researchers’ attention to activity and its effects on human body, however,  none research findings have explained its benefits on well-being and life satisfaction. 

The key focus of Marta’s research is to explore the role of Nordic Walking in maintaining and improving older peoples’ well-being and  quality of life. The study investigates mental well-being of participants and overall positive experience Nordic Walking brings into their lives.

Bimpe Kuti

The University, in partnership with NHS Bolton and Bolton Council, is presently building a new Centre for Health and Wellbeing which will be known as Bolton One.  Further details of this exciting development can be found here

Bolton One will provide a range of services to the people of Bolton, and Bimpe's research project is focused on how service users' views and experiences can be incorporated into this development; using this as a driver for service improvement. Bimpe has a strong background of working with voluntary/ community groups in Bolton; with interests in health and well-being, including those from refugee and asylum seeker communities.

Bimpe is keen to share her experiences of developing public participation in health.  She has created a blog so that others can learn about her work and share their own experiences of public participation:

Bimpe is also currently collaborating with NHS Bolton, Bolton Council and the University to set up a service user involvement and engagement working group towards the new Bolton One Development to continuously identify and explore opportunities for collaborative working between services located in Bolton One.

Sue Brown

Sue worked for over 15 years in the field of substance misuse (alcohol, drugs, and food), prior to commencing a full-time PhD in the Centre. Her research investigates men’s health and wellbeing and intersections with men’s culturally influenced masculine leisure identities. Sue is focussing her studies within the male-centred context of British motorcycling, which will function as a leisure-based insight-segment for this work. British motorcycle culture is of particular relevance due to its accessibility, established gender order, masculinities and praxis, as well as its position in British social history. Sue’s research considers how male participants in motorcycle culture manage, and make sense of, apparent tensions between wellbeing through belongingness, and health.