Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Education and social care predictors of female offending trajectories: A UK administrative data linkage study

Start date

1st October 2023


1 LiSS DTP Administrative Data UK (ADR UK) PhD full-time studentship (+ 3 studentship only), Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, IoPPN


Despite female offenders being a minority in the UK criminal justice system (CJS), the UK has one of the highest rates of female’s imprisonment in Western Europe. The financial and wider social costs associated with female offending are significant, costing the government £1.7 billion in 2015-16. In 2018, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) released the Female Offender Strategy, the aim of which was to reduce the number of females entering the CJS by intervening earlier. Although it is widely recognised that females experience different drivers of offending behaviour and worse CJS outcomes relative to males, there is a paucity of research focusing on female offenders. Importantly, there is little consensus about the development of female offending over time and whether it aligns with the age-crime curve, which indicates that criminal behaviour typically peaks in adolescence and decreases during adulthood. This is because research on the patterns and trajectories of (re-)offending consists mostly of homogenous male samples, highlighting the lack of longitudinal studies on offending among females. It is important to examine the offending trajectories of females, because among males, certain trajectory groups (i.e., early-onset persistent offenders) are associated with more negative outcomes than others.

The linked crime and education dataset (Police National Computer-National Pupil Database) that this project proposes to use contains the records of over 1.65 million individuals in England. It spans childhood to adulthood, and therefore provides us with a unique opportunity to examine offending trajectories in the largest sample of female offenders to date. The linked dataset will also enable us to examine the early education and social care predictors of different offending trajectories, thereby informing early identification and intervention approaches as proposed in the Female Offender Strategy, which have the potential to reduce criminal offending and its associated social and economic costs. To this end, stakeholder and advisory groups will be consulted throughout the PhD studentship to guide its development and to ensure project outcomes are met.

Using the linked dataset, the successful applicant will undertake the following work:

  • Use administrative crime records to identify the different offending trajectories followed by female offenders after their first recorded conviction or caution
  • Use linked administrative longitudinal education and social care records to describe the characteristics of female offenders and their offending trajectories
  • Develop educational attainment trajectories in relation to offending trajectories and broader offending outcomes
  • Develop statistical models to prospectively identify the different female offending trajectories using longitudinal education and social care data prior to the first conviction or caution

There is also the opportunity for the student to undertake a 3-month funded placement over the course of the PhD. All applicants should be aware that this studentship comes with monitoring requirements above and beyond those of King’s College London. These additional requirements are: (1) 6-monthly virtual check-ins with supervisors and ADR UK; (2) Quarterly progress check-in reports to ADR UK; and (3) final End of Award report. Applicants should also note that statistical analyses of the data can only be undertaken in a designated secure room in the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences at the IoPPN, in line with Office of National Statistics (ONS) ‘Five Safes’ framework


Dr Hannah Dickson (1st), Dr Alice Wickersham (2nd) and Dr Nigel Blackwood (3rd)

Entry requirements

Applicants should have (or be expected to obtain) a Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours (or Overseas equivalent). A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters with Merit.

A Master’s degree in Psychology, Criminology, Epidemiology or related subjects at Merit level or above with high grades on modules relating to Research Methods and Statistics, where appropriate. The applicant must be an ONS full accredited researcher or work towards achieving accreditation prior to the project start date. The applicant should also be proficient in Stata and/or R statistical software programmes.

Award types and eligibility

Applicants applying to these positions must meet the ESRC eligibility guidelines in terms of residency and academic qualifications, specifically core social science research methods training that must already have been undertaken (for +3 awards). Please refer to the project listings for details on how to apply. 

LISS DTP studentships are now open to both Home and International students.  You must however be aware of the definitions of each category and their funding implications, please refer to the ‘Funding Eligibility for LISS DTP Studentship’ guidance for more information Please note that the total number of international studentships a DTP is able to offer has been capped by UKRI at 30% of the total number of studentships awarded each year, and so studentships for international students will be limited in number and competitive. 

Studentship Details 

  • Both studentships are available on a full-time or part-time basis 
  • Both studentships are available as a +3 PhD Studentship only 
  • Stipend: full-time students receive a stipend of £19, 668 per annum plus an additional enhanced stipend of £1,000 per annum 
  • Tuition fees: at the UKRI Home Fee Rate of £4, 596 (2022 – 2023) 
  • Both studentships are eligible for a 3-month funded extension to undertake a placement (see below) 
  • Students are also available to apply for additional funding research costs available to all LISS DTP students, see Current students – LISS DTP ( for further information. 

Additional Information 

LISS DTP: the two successful applicants will be part of the LISS DTP student community, and will be subject to the ESRC terms and conditions as all LISS DTP studentship holders. 

Placements: funding is provided to allow ADR UK-funded PhD students to undertake a high-quality placement in academia, policy, business or civil society organisations as part of their training. This offers the practical opportunity to develop transferrable skills and apply research skills in different contexts. Funding for placements will be provided for a maximum 3-month placement (in addition to the +3 Studentship award) and further guidance on placements can be found in the ESRC Postgraduate Training and Development Guidelines 2022

To be treated as a Home student, candidates must meet one of the following criteri

  • A UK national (meeting residency requirements)
  • Settled status
  • Pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements)
  • Indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further information

More information on the department and the programme is available at the departmental prospectus page here:

About the IoPPN (link to

Studying at the IoPPN (link to

Research degrees at the IoPPN (link to

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an online admissions application, via the admissions portal by midnight (23:59 GMT) on Monday 27th March 2023.

On the ‘Choosing a programme’ page, please select Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Science Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time).

In your application, you will be asked to include:

  • Academic Transcripts – where applicable, academic transcripts must be submitted with the online admissions application
  • Details of your qualifications (you will need to attach copies)
  • Details of previous employment - please include your CV
  • A personal statement describing your interests and why you wish to apply for this project. Please include this as an attachment rather than using the text box.
  • Academic References – all admissions applications require one supporting reference. If the applicant is relying on thier referees to submit a reference directly to the College after they have submitted thier admissions application, then the applicant must ensure that (1) their chosen referee is made aware of the funding deadline (i.e. 7 days from application deadline) and (2) that the reference needs to be sent from an institutional email address.

In the Funding section, please tick box 5 and include the following reference: LISS DTP ADR UK Studentship

Please note there is no need to complete the Research Proposal section in your application as the project has already been set.

Note that the successful applicant will be expected to submit a project approval form in collaboration with project supervisors to KCL by June 1st 2023 to ensure an October 2023 start date. The project approval form can be found here

You are welcome to email Dr. Hannah Dickson for more information regarding the project and studentship.

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact the Education support team at

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Closing date

Monday 27th March 2023


Wednesday 26th April 2023


Study at King’s

Sign up for further information

Receive email updates about our courses, events, fees and funding, studying in London, how to apply and more.

Sign up