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Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

8 ESR Marie Sklodowska-Curie Positions – P4PLAY ITN-EJD in Occupational Science

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    University Cork College
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/05/2020 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Multiple locations, see work locations below.
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions


The P4PLAY Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSC ITN) is a European Joint Doctorates (EJD) programme in Occupational Science for Occupational Therapists. The overall research goal is to develop new knowledge on the occupation of play and play deprivation, the impact of physical, socio-cultural, and policy environments on play provision, and the development of innovative solutions to address barriers and provide solutions to play provision in diverse community settings to benefit children, families, and communities. The programme addresses four areas of play: People, Place, Policy and Practice (P4PLAY).

P4PLAY is a collaboration between 4 academic and 15 partner organisations who form the consortium. The doctoral programme is centred on training a new generation of early stage researchers (ESRs) to drive innovative research and practice in occupational science and therapy. ESRs will be provided with the transferable skills necessary for thriving careers in academic or research-based practice via collaborative interinstitutional research projects, international mentorship and access to expertise and training.

Applications are invited for 8 ESR positions with a revised starting date in late January 2021, due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Please download the Guide for Applicants for further information. A description of the individual projects associated with each ESR position is also given below (please click on the ESR number for further information):


ESR1 - Expanding conceptualisations of inclusive play to incorporate the play characteristics of children with diverse play experiences at risk of play deprivation.


  1. To identify the characteristics of play of children with diverse abilities at risk of play deprivation;
  2. To explore the barriers and enablers of inclusive play children at risk of play deprivation;
  3. To raise awareness of the diversity of play characteristics and the barriers and enablers of inclusive play and the need for related policies and interventions.


ESR2 - Exploring the impact of contemporary public/social discourse on the play of families with children at risk of play deprivation.


  1. To identify the ‘conditions of possibility’ for play in contemporary European society, including public discourse around play (e.g. public policy and strategies, the media – including blogs, tv, advertising, printed materials);
  2. To understand the impact of contemporary social discourses on play of families with children at risk of play deprivation;
  3. To identify diverse ways in which families with children at risk of play deprivation navigate dominant discourses about ‘typical play’ to construct meaningful/healthy play routines.


ESR3 - Spatial inclusion: The relationship between Universal Design and policy for play provision.


  1. To analyse the inclusion of natural elements in Universal Design for enhancing play in community playspaces;
  2. To identify, report on and select valid and reliable evaluation measures for appraising the effectiveness of Universal Design in playspaces.


ESR4 - Redefining play in technology enhanced play spaces.


  1. To explore the nature of play and participation in digital technology environments such as online gaming, virtual and augmented reality systems;
  2. To examine subjective understanding of play behaviours amongst children where technology provides a mediating influence in their play.


ESR5 - Enhancing spatial inclusion in public playspaces through participatory approaches in planning and design.


  1. To identify participatory play policy/standards/guidelines for diverse user engagement;
  2. To develop inclusive approaches in co-creating public playspaces for municipalities, among town planners, landscape architects, and parks management with children of diverse ages, genders, and abilities.


ESR6 - Applying complexity theory to identify and explore multiple outcomes associated with children’s play.


  1. Review methodological approaches to investigating complex systemic issues associated with play and play deprivation, and outcomes associated with community level actions to facilitate play;
  2. Develop and apply a methodology that enables a complex systems perspective on exploring processes associated with facilitating play to identify areas for development.


ESR7 - The evaluation of children’s outdoor play


  1. To determine usable, applicable, valid, and reliable playspace audit assessments;
  2. To evaluate the cross-regional validity of a playspace audit assessments in Ireland and Switzerland.


ESR8 - Enhancing participation through play interventions in school settings.


  1. To examine the potential role of play occupations in advocacy practice within education contexts with migrant children at risk of play deprivation;
  2. To operationalise play occupations as a central element in school life as a platform to enable participation and inclusion in school environments.

More Information


  • You will be provided with a cutting-edge research environment that will stimulate and challenge researchers to become the scientific leaders of tomorrow. P4PLAY will bring together leading international researchers in the field of Occupational Science and play for children at risk of play deprivation, along with partner organisations who are leaders in championing play rights of children.
  • You will work in a stimulating and creative learning environment and will engage in skills training and mentored development in research, community engagement, grant writing, and technology enhanced learning tailored to your needs.
  • You will engage in a thematic PhD programme that includes formal coursework in Occupational Science and play.
  • You will be provided with excellent quality supervision by a supervisory team from two Universities where you will be co-registered, at the forefront of Occupational Science, Occupational Therapy and play in Europe.
  • You will be provided with a secondment in a third research environment, with a partner play organisation who add intrinsic value to each project based on their specific infrastructure, innovation and/or role in championing play, beyond traditional rehabilitation or remedial contexts.
  • All 8 ESRs will be awarded a PhD in Occupational Science with specialist research experience in specific skill-sets required in community engagement, and advocacy, from the first PhD programme in Occupational Science in Europe.
  • Full-time employment contract for the duration of 36 months with attractive salary and working conditions (see Guide for Applicants for further information on working conditions and salary).

Eligibility criteria

  • You have completed a BSc (Hons) in Occupational Therapy and/or a Master’s degree (or equivalent) from a World Federation of Occupational Therapy programme at the time of recruitment and achieved a minimum of a 2:1 award. Applicants will need an MSc degree (or equivalent) for ESR 3, ESR 7 and ESR 8.
  • You are an Early Stage Researcher, meaning at the time of recruitment by the host organization you shall be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of your research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree (PhD).
  • The positions are open to all nationalities. However, your application complies with the European Commission’s mobility rule, meaning at the time of recruitment by the host organization, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the reference date (start of the employment contract). Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not included for this calculation.
  • You have excellent proficiency in the English language, with evidence of 6.5 minimum for IELTS (or equivalent) if English is not your first language (selection procedure and all training activities and opportunities will be in English).


Click here for more information on Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Eligibility.



Selection process

To submit your application, and facilitate the eligibility check of your application, please send the following documents (in English) in one PDF file to p4play@ucc.ie:

  • Researcher declaration including a) self-declaration about eligibility b) self-declaration about English proficiency (max 1 page).
  • Complete Curriculum Vitae (CV) (max 4 pages). Please list your whereabouts in chronological order, starting from 1 September 2017 and ending with 1 September 2020, and proof of residence (see mobility rule in eligibility criteria). Should you have resided in more than one country within the requested period, please include the times and dates of this period, and list them on your CV. If you have not graduated yet, please indicate the expected award date of your degree in your CV. Please keep in mind that you need to have obtained your degree before the time of registration.
  • Personal statement/motivation letter (max 3 pages) detailing your research interests to date, your suitability to the programme and an outline of why you are the best candidate to be considered for your choice of ESR project(s) (max 2 ESR projects to be chosen – please indicate your order of preference if applicable).

All applications will be checked according to the eligibility criteria. The application must be complete, in English and submitted before the deadline (31st May 2020 at 11pm CET). Only eligible applications will be progressed to the next stage.


Please use the following subject line/title for the application email and PDF file: P4PLAY_SURNAME_NAME


For information on requirements for stage 2 of the application process, please download the Guide for Applicants.



Applications open: 3rd March - 31st May

Online interviews (round 1): early July (dates TBC)

Face-to-face interviews in central European location or second online interview if necessary due to travel restrictions (round 2): mid-August (dates TBC)



Additional comments


Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Excellent


We seek adaptive and creative individuals with demonstrated skills in leadership and a strong interest in occupational science and children/family focused work. Excellent written and spoken English is essential, and experience with both qualitative and quantitative methods would be advantageous. A strong commitment to professional development is also desirable.

Note: please check the Guide for Applicants and individual ESR description documents for further criteria.


Work location(s)
3 position(s) available at
University College Cork
2 position(s) available at
Luleå University of Technology
2 position(s) available at
Queen Margaret University
United Kingdom
1 position(s) available at
Zurich University of Applied Sciences

Open, Transparent, Merit based Recruitment procedures of Researchers (OTM-R)

Know more about it at University Cork College

Know more about OTM-R

EURAXESS offer ID: 495950


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