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Addressing Inequalities in Women’s Access to and Experience of Care during Pregnancy through Technology


Research Field
Formal sciences



Pregnant women and their partners engage in self-care by negotiating and shaping boundaries (e.g., objects, activities, places) in everyday life. What happens during pregnancy and women’s experiences of birth and the postnatal period has profound long-term consequences for parents and their social network. Women often struggle to self- diagnose (distinguish between ‘normal’ pregnancy changes and complications), and self- triage (decide whether to seek help, where and how urgently) during pregnancy. When seeking help from healthcare professionals, they can find it difficult to engage with, navigate and negotiate access to care, making it difficult to actively

engage in care decisions. Women who live socially complex lives (e.g. young and single mothers, refugees, ethnic minority groups) are amongst those who are particular at risk of delayed access and uptake of services, increasing the chance of poor maternal outcomes.

Digital technologies are creating opportunities to support women, relatives and healthcare professionals by facilitating access to information, remote communication, monitoring of health conditions, recreating life experiences (e.g., through virtual worlds), helping to build self-confidence and sharing experiences, information and support with others. There is a lack of attention in understanding and designing

technology to support the everyday experience of pregnant women living in complex social circumstances.


To get an in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of pregnant women living in complex social circumstances and co-design socio-technical prototypes that can enable greater agency and engagement in self-care. The project is informed by theoretical frameworks for health interventions and a narrative review conducted by the supervisors on pregnant women’s use of technologies.

Research Questions

1. How do women living in complex social circumstances experience and practically cope with their everyday care needs and safety concerns during pregnancy?

a. What are their technologically mediated and unmediated care practices?

2. What opportunities arise for technology to address the identified socio-cultural challenges?

3. How does technology shape the women and partner’s socio-cultural practices (intended and unintended consequences)?

What is funded

 Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics is currently offering a funded 3 year PhD scholarship. Stipend equivalent to Research Council rates (£15,285 per annum in 2020/21), plus travel/conferences, support, consumables/equipment.

Tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (£4,407 per annum in 2020/21).

Overseas applicants must self-fund the difference between the above UK/EU rate and the Overseas rate (£21,950 per annum in 2020/21) each year. Indicate how you will cover this in the Funding Source field.

Students earn additional income supporting the School’s teaching (but not sufficient to fund the Overseas tuition fees).


A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master’s degree, in computing or a related subject subject (e.g., Human- Computer Interaction, Design, Media & Communication, Digital Humanities & Health Informatics, etc) For this project, you should have programming and prototyping skills (e.g., mHealth, wearables, physical computing, context-aware systems, DIY, etc.) and some experience planning, conducting and documenting field-based qualitative research studies and facilitating design workshops and activities and synthesizing the insights through visual forms e.g., scenarios, etc.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to Apply

Contact relevant staff to refine and align your research proposal with the research strategy of the School before applying. Follow our guidance online, submit your research proposal of approximately 500 words and enter “PhD Scholarship in Computer Science & Informatics” in the Funding field.

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Informatics with a start date of October 2020:

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from ’Addressing Inequalities in Women’s Access to and Experience of Care during Pregnancy through Technology’.


The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.