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Clinical Psychologist in Neuromuscular Disease

Requisition ID:  15161

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  30-Apr-2022

We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all.  You can learn more about what is available here on our Benefits Website page.


Closing Date: 27 May 2022


The Role

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a clinical PhD project in a world-renowned centre of excellence for research in neuromuscular disease and develop your psychology career in health settings. This post will be based at the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre (JWMDRC) at Newcastle University and will play a key role in establishing and delivering models of psychosocial intervention and support for people diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and their families. 
Psychological support and intervention for DMD from the point of diagnosis has been identified as a critical area of care that is currently significantly lacking. The JWMDRC has received charity funding as part of a standards of care project called DMD Care UK for a full-time clinical psychologist post with opportunity to undertake a PhD alongside a similar post at UCL Hospitals Trust in London. The PhD will give the opportunity to conduct research which will inform therapy decisions and impact UK care recommendations for DMD. 

You will also be part of the Clinical Research Team at the JWMDRC. You will gain comprehensive knowledge of DMD and other neuromuscular diseases through working alongside paediatric and adult neurologists who are international experts in this field. 

You will approach this opportunity from a paediatric clinical psychology background preferably with experience working with children with life-limiting conditions and their families.


As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles.  These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.


The post is available full time for 3 years starting as soon as possible


For informal enquiries please contact Catherine Turner (Programme Coordinator) via email (

Key Accountabilities

Clinical practice
•    Observe clinical practice as part of the neuromuscular clinical team, with a focus on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) – building up to being an active member of that multidisciplinary team, assessing (paediatric) patients and discussing their and their families’ needs with collegues.
•    Develop clinical knowledge of in DMD (and neuromuscular diseases more generally) through participation in specialised clinical, diagnostic and clinical research activities
•    Make psychological/psychiatric/other referrals as appropriate
•    Mentor and advise more junior /non-expert colleagues as appropriate
•    Develop relationships and discuss best-practice and referrals with the project neuro-psychiatrist and other psychiatry experts to address patient needs

Research activities
•    Define, in collaboration with the DMD Care UK psychosocial working group, research questions with a focus on psychosocial support and intervention for families at and after diagnosis
•    Formulate the resulting research proposal and design, apply for necessary approvals (with expert administrative support) and conduct research
•    Undertake the above as the basis of a PhD thesis (desirable)
•    Develop and implement therapeutic assessments and pathways for familes of patients diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy from the point of diagnosis
•    Develop, in collaboration with neuromuscular clinicians, protocols for DMD diagnosis delivery and follow up support and intervention
•    Collect data on effectiveness of strategies implemented and lead analysis and write up of these into academic publications
•    Collaborate with colleagues in the BIND (Brain INvolvement in Dystrophinopathies) project (PI Professor Francesco Muntoni, UCL) to help facilitate implementation of relevant project outcomes into clinical service and practice

•    Engage and report progress to the DMD Care UK psychosocial working group (representing clinicians, the patient community and funders)
•    Engage with and seek input from clinical collaborators at neuromuscular centres across the UK (the North Star Network)
•    Working closely with the project manager, Cathy Turner, participate in dissemination, awareness raising and educational activities whilst also representing the JWMDRC and the DMD Care UK Project

The Person 


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 
•    Interest in pursuing a clinical research career
•    Interest in neurology and neuromuscular diseases
•    Experience working as a clinical psychologist in a multi-disciplinary team

•    Training and experience in family support related to life-limiting conditions
•    Experience of supporting patients and families at diagnosis, especially of a genetic condition

Attributes and Behaviour

•    Inquisitive, enthusiastic and rigorous in approach
•    Keen to learn new skills and to help train others
•    Shows initiative and adaptability
•    Excellent interpersonal skills and bedside manner
•    Enthusiastic team player



•    Post-graduate doctoral level training in clinical psychology (or its equivalent) as recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council
•    Registration as a clinical psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
•    Experience in health settings and disability


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 15161