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The health and well-being of LGBT+ military personnel and veterans

Start date

1st October 2023


1 fully funded LISS-DTP CASE studentship (+3), Psychological Medicine at the King’s Centre of Military Health (KCMHR) in partnership with the Royal British Legion


The Kings Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR), King’s College London, and the Royal British Legion are seeking a PhD candidate for a collaborative studentship funded by the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS-DTP)/Economic Social Research Council (ESRC).


Little is known about the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) personnel in the UK military. A recent review of thirty papers examining the health and well-being of serving and ex-serving LGBT personnel (Mark, McNamara et al. 2019) found no UK studies on this population. Inquiries to address issues of historical hurt among the LGBT+ veteran community during the ban on homosexuality in the UK Armed Forces (lifted in 2000) (UK Government 2022) focus rightly on a community previously unheard but may exclude the experiences of those who are currently serving, or have served, more recently.

This project will use quantitative survey data from a UK cohort study in its 4th wave of data collection and qualitative interviews to understand the health and well-being of serving and ex-serving LGBT+ personnel in the UK Armed Forces. The study aims are to:

  1. Qualitatively explore influences on the health and wellbeing of ex-serving LGBT+ personnel across military service

  2. Quantitatively determine the health and well-being of serving and ex-serving LGB UK military personnel and examine risk/protective factors for these outcomes

The PhD student will join the KCMHR team, based in the Psychological Medicine department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience. The project would be supported by the main KCMHR cohort study team leading the work on 4th wave of the cohort data collection which has been running since 2003 (, as well as the supervisory team and the Royal British Legion.

The student will have access to data from the previous three phases of the cohort study (2004-2006, 2007-2009 and 2014-2016) and be supported in collecting qualitative data. The student would have full access to all of King’s research methods and academic skills training and have opportunities to teach on undergraduate courses at KCL.

As a CASE LISS-DTP Studentship, the student will have a close partnership with the external partner, the Royal British Legion. This partnership will involve a 13-week internship to experience work on a research paper, policy document or dedicated workstream, shadowing members of the Campaigns, Policy, and Research team, mentoring sessions, facilitation of access to the Armed Forces community, and dissemination at relevant events. CASE LISS-DTP students also have access to additional training and funding opportunities – for more information see


A supervisory team will include Dr Rachael Gribble (1st supervisor), Dr Marie-Louise Sharp (2nd supervisor) and Dr Howard Burdett (3rd supervisor) 

Entry requirements

Standard PhD entry requirements: Applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree with 2:1 honours (or Overseas equivalent). A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Master’s with Merit.

Students should have/expect to have a Master’s Degree that meets LISS-DTP/ESRC core training requirements in research methods. We welcome applicants from a wide range of disciplines including epidemiology, psychology, psychiatric research, and social sciences.

LISS-DTP/ESRC entry requirements: Candidates must have covered a significant proportion of ESRC core research methods areas - social theory, data collection/management/dissemination, qualitative methods, quantitative methods, and research design – in level 7 (Master’s) modules. In some cases, we can consider professional experience, but this is in conjunction with a Master’s degree rather than a substitute. You can see more details regarding these ESRC’s core research training areas on the following link

Desirable Criteria:

o   Working knowledge of quantitative and/or qualitative research methods – for example, epidemiology, statistics, qualitative interviews, focus groups.

o   Good writing skills, ability to produce clear and concise reports

o   Experience of recruiting participants and data collection

o   Knowledge of research ethics processes and concepts

o   Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

o   Good presentation skills

o   Good organisation skills

o   Experience using Stata, NVivo or other research software

o   Interest in LGBT+ health and wellbeing

o   Interest in health/wellbeing of the Armed Forces community

Person Criteria:

o   Proactive and able to use initiative

o   Reliable

o   A team player

o   Flexible approach to work

o   Strong interest in developing an academic/research career

Award types and eligibility

The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. While international students are welcome to apply, their acceptance is dependent on ESRC and KCL quotas.

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

 - A UK national (meeting residency requirements)

 - Settled status

 - Pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements)

 - Indefinite leave to remain or enter

The award pays maintenance for all students. The stipend/maintenance grant for this PhD is valued at £19, 688 per annum (2022/23) for full-time students and £9, 834.00 for part-time students. Some research and travel costs will be covered separately by LISS-DTP funding opportunities and support from the Royal British Legion.

The project is expected to be undertaken on a full-time basis.Students will be based at KCMHR at the King’s College London Denmark Hill campus, with flexible working (office and home-based), and occasional time at the Royal British Legion offices in London.

We encourage students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from ethnic minority backgrounds. We also welcome applications from ex-service personnel or individuals with knowledge and understanding of Armed Forces health and service life and those from the LGBT+ community.

Further information

KCMHR website:

The Royal British Legion website:

About the IoPPN:

Research degrees at the IoPPN:

LISS-DTP website:

How to apply

Applicants must complete and submit an online admissions application, via the admissions portal by midnight (23:59 GMT), Sunday 26th February 2023.

On the ‘Choosing a programme’ page, please select Psychological Medicine 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 (max. 2 pages)

  • A personal statement (max. 2 pages). Please include this as an attachment rather than using the text box. It should outline:

  1. Why you are interested in the studentship

  2. How you meet the entry requirements (both standard PhD and LISS-DTP core training requirements)

  3. How you meet any of the desired/person criteria

  4. Any other relevant skills/experience

  5. Any ideas or proposals you have for developing/executing the specified project

  • CASE Application Form – please download this form and upload this as an attachment to the application.

  • Academic References – all admissions applications require one supporting reference. Please note, we are not requesting that applicants provide written statements from referees at the time of application. However, please ensure your referees have been informed of your application in case we wish to contact them prior to interview.

  • On applying please also complete the LISS-DTP Diversity Monitoring Form here:

In the Funding section, please tick box 5 and include the following reference: RG-KCMHR-LISSDTP-LGBT-23

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

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

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

References must be received by the deadline for the applicant to be eligible.

Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Closing date

26th February 2023 (23:59 GMT)


Interviews will be held in person or via MS Teams the week commencing 20th March 2023. 


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