New technology for the remote assessment of anxiety in older people

This project sits with the ACRC Academy , a dedicated centre for doctoral training based with the Advanced Care Research Centre. The programme is novel, structured, thematic, cohort-based, and of 48 months duration, with an initial taught year followed by three years of PhD research. Each PhD research project within the Academy has been devised by a supervisory team comprising academic staff from at least two of the three colleges within the University of Edinburgh.


Older adults are vulnerable to mental health problems such as anxiety[1]. These issues may have been exacerbated by recent lockdowns[2], and they have been linked to multimorbidity[3]. Recent technological advances enable the recording of brain activity at home using convenient, un-obstructive, affordable devices[4]. This kind of devices can track changes in older people’s brain activity related to emotional responses[5]. We hypothesize this technology can be harness to enable the remote and personalised monitoring of anxiety in older people. This PhD provides an exciting opportunity to explore this topic and produce feasibility evidence to facilitate future remote interventions.


[1]Byers,  A.L., et  al."High  occurrence  of  mood  and  anxiety  disorders  among  older adults:  The  National  Comorbidity  Survey  Replication." Arc.  Gen.Psychiatry67.5 (2010): 489-496. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.35

[2]Wong, S.Y.S., et al."Impact of COVID-19 on loneliness, mental health, and health service  utilisation:  a  prospective  cohort  study  of  older  adults  with multimorbidity in primary care." Br. J.Gen.Pract.70.700 (2020): e817-e824. doi:10.3399/bjgp20X713021

[3]Jones, S.M.W., et al."A psychometric examination of multimorbidity and mental health in older adults." AgingMent.Health20.3 (2016): 309-317.doi:10.1080/13607863.2015.1008988

[4]Sawangjai, P., et al."Consumer grade EEG measuring sensors as research tools: A review." IEEE   Sens.J.20.8   (2019):   3996-4024.doi:10.1109/JSEN.2019.2962874

[5] Neale,  C., et al."The  aging  urban  brain:  analyzing  outdoor  physical  activity  using the  emotiv  affectiv  suite  in  older  people." J.Urban  Health94.6  (2017):  869-880. doi:10.1007/s11524-017-0191-9


Further Information: 

Dr Escudero Rodriguez -

Dr Lucy  Stirland -

Azucena Guzman -

The University of Edinburgh is committed to equality of opportunity for all its staff and students, and promotes a culture of inclusivity. Please see details here:

Closing Date: 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Principal Supervisor: 

Assistant Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree. Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


A stipend of £16,748 (2022 rate) and fees are payable for home students. There is funding available for stipend and fees for international students as part of the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: