Sponsored Dissertations Supporting early career researchers

Every year, we invite postgraduate students based in the UK to apply for up to £5000 worth of funding and our support with a project related to coeliac disease as part of their studies. We feel that it’s important to support students and early career researchers who have an interest in coeliac disease research. We are delighted to announce that after review by our Member Review Panel and Research Awards Panel, two exceptional projects have been awarded funding for the 2023/2024 academic year.  

Project 1 - The development and application of an online group Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) based psychological intervention to support adults with coeliac disease: a feasibility study by Imogen Hughes.

research webpage image Imogen Hughes, Clinical Psychology Student at the University of Surrey

Imogen is a student at the University of Surrey where she’s completing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Her project aims to deliver and evaluate the effectiveness of delivering cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) online to adults who have coeliac disease. It’s hoped that this support will reduce anxiety and depression in people with coeliac disease and improve their quality of life. The idea came from past research that shows that CBT was previously reported as useful in supporting adults with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Imogen’s project will adapt the intervention that is used to support people with IBS to be used for patients with coeliac disease. The intervention will incorporate core components of CBT and will be delivered in two online sessions of approximately two hours, with downloadable resources available throughout the duration of the study. Imogen will use the money we have awarded to create visual materials, aids and videos to enhance the user friendliness of the therapy intervention she is designing and delivering in this study. 

Imogen said  "Being a part of the coeliac disease community myself, I'm even more excited to be building such a source of support for the community and extremely grateful for the strengthening of this from Coeliac UK. Through lived experiences and research, we know living with coeliac disease can be complex. This is only the first step in creating a resource to support individuals with managing the psychological impact of having this physical health condition, but I am hopeful the study of it will gather information from participants, that supports development of it further, and becomes widely accessible to those in need in the near future."








Illustrations by Katherine Hillier will be used in the supporting materials. 

Project 2 - Exploring the views of primary and secondary care physicians on the no biopsy diagnosis of coeliac disease: a qualitative interview study by Mohamed Shiha. 

Mohamed is completing a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Sheffield. As part of his thesis, he’s going to interview primary care general practitioners and secondary care gastroenterologists to understand their views on a no biopsy approach to diagnosing coeliac disease. 

Mohamed said "Our study aims to offer insights into the views and experiences of primary and secondary care physicians on the nuances of adopting a no-biopsy approach to diagnosing coeliac disease in adults." 

His work will look to identify the following: 

  • if practitioners are aware of when a no biopsy diagnosis might be appropriate 
  • possible advantages and disadvantages of using a no biopsy approach in clinical practice 
  • any barriers to implementing a no biopsy approach 
  • training that healthcare providers would need to ensure they deliver a no biopsy diagnosis properly 

And evaluate the following: 

  • ways in which a no biopsy approach could be integrated safely into current referral pathways 
  • appropriate ways for healthcare providers to discuss a no biopsy approach with relevant patients 

The funding from Coeliac UK will hopefully allow Mohamed to publish the findings of this work in an open access research journal and allow him to present the findings at a research conference. 

image Mohamed ShihaDr Mohamed Shiha, Trainee Gastroenterologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospital and Medical student at the University of Sheffield. 

The scheme will open again this Autumn, in line with the academic calendar. If you would like to apply, please keep an eye on our funding opportunities webpage, where we will announce the opening and closing date for applications and provide details on how to apply.