Postgraduate research opportunities

Free clinics and a psychoanalysis for the people

Progressive histories, collective practices, implications for our times

A fully-funded three-year doctoral studentship and PhD in Psychosocial Studies

Discover how to apply for this fully-funded three-year doctoral studentship, working on a UKRI funded project, with research supervision from Raluca Soreanu. 


Funding: Your PhD fees of £4596 will be covered and the studentship provides you with a stipend of at least £16062 per year for the duration of three years

Application deadline: 30 October 2022

Start date: January 2023

Based in: Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies (PhD in Psychosocial Studies)

Overview of the project


The Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies at the University of Essex is pleased to announce the availability of a fully-funded three-year doctoral studentship, (starting in January 2023), to work on the project ‘Free Clinics and a Psychoanalysis for the People: Progressive Histories, Collective Practices, Implications for our Times’ (FREEPSY), to be supervised by Raluca Soreanu.

FREEPSY is funded by a UKRI Frontier Research Grant (ERC Consolidator Grant guarantee) held by Raluca Soreanu (Essex). It aims to produce a new global figuration of psychoanalysis as a progressive discourse and practice, by tracing the little-known histories of free psychoanalytic clinics. This is an interdisciplinary project spanning from psychosocial studies, to social theory, historical research and arts methods. It brings together a team of eight researchers to investigate how collectives of clinicians invested in the social mission of psychoanalysis innovate in the clinical and institutional domain, and in mental health cultures, by reconfiguring the meaning of time, space, money, suffering and their interrelations. FREEPSY includes a multi-sited psychosocial ethnography of free clinics in London, Budapest, Berlin, Vienna, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, New York and Philadelphia.

Under supervision, the successful candidate will devise and undertake a qualitative investigation of free and low-cost clinics and the societal implications of their practices. Data collection will take place in the UK. The candidate will collaborate with the PI on Strand 1 of FREEPSY, ‘Progressive Clinical Cultures and Contemporary Practices’, centred on the idea of ‘mental health commons’. Applications will be considered from candidates with an interest in qualitative research in health and social contexts, where an interest in psychosocial studies and the social applications of psychoanalysis can be demonstrated. All academic disciplines/backgrounds are eligible.

To apply, prospective students are strongly advised to make informal contact with Raluca Soreanu ( prior to the deadline.

Research supervisor

Application details

Available funding 

The studentship award covers your University of Essex fees (including a fee waiver up to the value of the full-time home/EU rate for PhD degrees) and provides you with a stipend of at least £16062 per year.

You will also have access to the University’s Proficio funds for research training and further specific funding for conferences and research training through the grant.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants must meet the entry criteria for a PhD in Psychosocial Studies, based in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies.

How to apply

Please send the following documents to Raluca Soreanu:

  • A letter of motivation (max. 1500 words), outlining your interest in the project and your suitability for it
  • A current CV

If you have any questions about applying, please email Raluca Soreanu:

We will interview shortlisted applicants on November 9, 2022, either in person or via Zoom.

You do not have to apply formally for admission to the University of Essex as a part of this process. The successful studentship applicant must apply for their place on the PhD programme after selection.

The application for a PhD place will involve developing a research proposal describing the idea of the PhD project that you would like to pursue.

Application deadlines

Deadline to submit studentship application: 30 October 2022

Likely interview date (for shortlisted applicants): 9 November 2022

Deadline to accept or decline studentship offer: 16 November 2022

Start date: You will be expected to start on or about 16 January 2023, at the start of the spring term for the 2022/23 academic year.

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Contact us
Raluca Soreanu Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
University of Essex
Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 873640