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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Nurturing noncognitive skills in education: Laying the foundations for a digital twin intervention

Research environment

The School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences at Queen Mary is one of the UK’s elite research centres, according to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF). We offer a multi-disciplinary research environment and have approximately 150 PhD students working on projects in the biological and psychological sciences. Our students have access to a variety of research facilities supported by experienced staff, as well as a range of student support services.

You will join the Cognition, Development and Education (CoDE) research laboratory, led by Dr. Malanchini, becoming part of a vibrant community of PhD students and researchers with national and international collaborations ( You will also join the QMUL resilience lab, directed by Prof. Pluess, an interdiciplinary and highly collaborative research group.

Project description

Non-cognitive skills are a fundamental pillar of educational success and critical predictors of important life outcomes, from financial stability to mental health. Non-cognitive skills develop across a person’s lifetime; this malleability provides an actionable window of opportunity to intervene and nurture their optimal development.

The project aims to (1) systematically investigate which environmental experiences lead to the development of educationally relevant non-cognitive skills, and (2) based on these findings, lay the foundations to create a digital personalized intervention platform aimed at fostering the development of non-cognitive skills in the school context.

Each student is unique. Current educational practice, developed for the “average student”, is ineffective to the “actual student”. This project moves beyond one-size-fits-all educational experiences and towards a comprehensive, personalized model of education. 


This studentship is open to students applying for China Scholarship Council funding. Queen Mary University of London has partnered with the China Scholarship Council (CSC) to offer a joint scholarship programme to enable Chinese students to study for a PhD programme at Queen Mary. Under the scheme, Queen Mary will provide scholarships to cover all tuition fees, whilst the CSC will provide living expenses for 4 years and one return flight ticket to successful applicants. 

Eligibility and applying

Applicants must:

  • Be Chinese students with a strong academic background.
  • Students must hold a PR Chinese passport.
  • Applicants can either be resident in China at the time of application or studying overseas. 
  • Students with prior experience of studying overseas (including in the UK) are eligible to apply. Chinese QMUL graduates/Masters’ students are therefore eligible for the scheme.

Please refer to the CSC website for full details on eligibility and conditions on the scholarship.

Applications are invited from outstanding candidates with or expecting to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree in Psychology, Education or a related area. A masters degree is desirable, but not essential. 

Applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language ability. Please see our English language requirements page for details.

The deadline for applications to Queen Mary is 30th January 2022. Applicants will need to complete an online application form by this date to be considered, including a CV, personal statement and qualifications. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a formal interview by the project supervisor. Those who are successful in their application for our PhD programme will be issued with an offer letter which is conditional on securing a CSC scholarship (as well as any academic conditions still required to meet our entry requirements).

Once applicants have obtained their offer letter from Queen Mary they should then apply to CSC for the scholarship by the advertised deadline with the support of the project supervisor. For September 2022 entry, applicants must complete the CSC application on the CSC website between 10th March - 31st March 2022.

Only applicants who are successful in their application to CSC can be issued an unconditional offer and enrol on our PhD programme.

Apply Online

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