PhD Student Bursaries Sport & Exercise Sciences

Chichester, United Kingdom
24 Jul 2017
End of advertisement period
20 Aug 2017
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Sport Science
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Application closing date 20/08/2017
Salary The bursary amount will be £12,500 per annum
Job category/type Research/Bursaries

Job description

Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences: Research Studentships

October 2017 - September 2020

The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences is offering up to 5 research bursaries (PhD studentships) across different discipline areas. The bursaries offer students the opportunity to undertake a programme of doctoral research whilst also, potentially, developing their experience of learning and teaching in higher education in a supportive and supervised environment.

The studentships carry a tax-free stipend of GBP 12,500 and a full-time home-fees waiver. Students accepting the bursary may also undertake teaching duties up to a maximum of 6 hours per week (120 hours per annum), subject to availability. Such duties will be remunerated (currently at GBP 25.83 per hour). The bursary is funded for 3 years, subject to satisfactory annual review.

The preference is for students to undertake full-time research starting on the 1st October 2017.  Part-time research is possible and will be considered on a case by case basis.The Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences has a strong research environment and has achieved excellent results in the most recent Research Evaluation Framework (with 97% of our research deemed to be internationally recognised and over 50% deemed to be internationally excellent). We have 28 full-time members of staff researching various topics within sport and exercise sciences (with particular research strengths and interests in Occupational Performance, Developing Coaches and Athletes, Health and Well-Being and Nutritional Supplementation). We currently have a cohort of 22 MPhil/PhD students.Details of the available projects and who to contact for informal enquiries are provided below.The Application ProcessFor further information on the projects we are recruiting to (including person specifications for each project), the studentship role and an application form please visit our website ( or email: Successful applicants will be shortlisted and advised of interview dates.

Applicants should hold a minimum of good upper second class honours degree and a Masters degree in relevant subject areas.  We welcome applicants with relevant industry experience who do not possess a masters level qualification.

Non UK/EU students are eligible to apply however the usual processes for applying to study in the UK will be required (please see International Student pages:  Students will also be expected to pay the difference between UK/EU fees and Overseas Fees and appropriate visa, if required.

Each applicant will apply through the normal HR recruitment process i.e. online application, or hard copy of the online form.  In addition to asking for personal details, education history, 'other information' and references, the application requests detailed information about the research proposal.  Applicants are encouraged to make contact with the relevant individual(s) in the subject area to discuss the research proposal.

Application deadline: 20th August 2017

Interview dates: w/c 4th September 2017


Optimising polyphenol supplementation for exercise responses and performance

Intake of non-traditional nutritional ergogenic aids (e.g. berries, beetroot, and cherries) received interest due to the potential of combined health and exercise benefits. Observational studies on the intake of New Zealand blackcurrant revealed beneficial effects on whole-body fat oxidation, cardiovascular function, insulin sensitivity and exercise performance. This applied research programme will elaborate on our observational work. The study will examine the effects of dose and duration of polyphenol intake on exercise responses and performance. Focus of the project will be on the effects of New Zealand blackcurrant intake on blood parameters, cardiovascular functioning, substrate oxidation and exercise performance. Electromyography, ultrasound, hemodynamic monitoring, indirect calorimetry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and performance testing techniques will be used.The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Prof. Mark Willems (Professor of Exercise Physiology, tel: 01243 816468, email:, Dr Sam Blacker (Reader in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition), and Dr Ben Lee (Research Fellow).

Physical activity participation in coronary artery disease rehabilitation patients

Considerable evidence exists to support the relationship between increased levels of physical activity and reduced coronary artery disease (CAD) morbidity, making physical activity an integral part of cardiovascular rehabilitation (CR) programmes. During the later phases of CR (phase III and IV), the levels and intensity of physical activity should increase to enhance aerobic fitness and reduce CAD progression. There is concern that this does not occur, in particular because of patients not carrying out a sufficient amount of physical activity and physical exertion outside of scheduled rehabilitation, in addition to high levels of sedentary time. This PhD programme will assess: 1) the progression of physical activity participation and objectively-measured sedentary time throughout the later phases of CR (phase III and IV); 2) the effects of physical activity on physiological and psychological outcomes; 3) as well as exploring the factors that inhibit or motivate individuals to participate in physical activity as part of their rehabilitation.The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr Mandy Gault (Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, tel: 01243 816472, email:, and Dr Sarah Edmunds (Senior Lecturer in Exercise Psychology).

Why experienced lifeguards are so good at hazard detection: What can the brain tell us?

The University of Chichester in collaboration with King's College London are currently recruiting a PhD student to conduct a series of studies investigating whether there are differences in the brains of experienced and less-experienced lifeguards. Previous research has shown that experienced lifeguards were better at drowning detection (Page, Bates, Long, Dawes, & Tipton, 2011) and hazard detection (Smith, Long, Dawes, & Tipton, under review) than less experienced lifeguards. However, the differences in hazard detection were not underpinned by systematic differences in visual search. Furthermore, even when beach-specific information was removed (i.e., using simulations of heads bobbing in water), eliminating the need for context specific knowledge, experienced lifeguards were still better at detecting the drowning individuals. Therefore, this programme of research aims to examine the mechanisms that underpin the expertise of lifeguards in relation to, but not limited to: personality, information processing, contrast sensitivity function in the peripheral field, and visual search. It is envisaged that once the offline mechanisms that determine expertise are identified, an fMRI study will be conducted to examine brain volume, brain function (volume of oxygen being used at specific sites) and brain pathway connectivity (water diffusion) differences between experienced lifeguards and a group of matched controls. Furthermore, an eye tracker synchronised with the MRI will enable the identification of attentional strategies relative to brain function and connectivity. Once this programme of research is completed, we will be able to identify whether expertise in lifeguarding is underpinned by differences in psychological and brain-related variables. Such findings will enable identification of predictors of expertise. We would therefore like to recruit an individual with expertise in neuroimaging as well as an interest in psychology.

The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by of Dr Jenny Smith (Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology (Skill Acquisition) and Visiting Researcher at King's College London, tel: 07813 957 307, e-mail:, Professor Steven Williams (Head of Neuroimaging Department and Professor of Imaging Sciences at Kings College London) and Dr Marcus Smith (Reader and Principal Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology).

Towards compilation of practical guidelines for soccer heading in youth players: Biomechanical loading and coaching implications

In recent years the medical consequences of concussion, particularly the risk of brain injury have gained widespread media attention. In response, in 2015 US Soccer created rules to ban heading of a soccer ball in players under 10 years old.  Further, they have placed limits on the amount of 'heading' that can be performed by players under the age of 14 years old.  The proposed programme of study will record cranial accelerations during training and competition, in partnership with EPL academies. A range of differing interventions will also be performed in an attempt to reduce loading through a technique coaching programme, and also modification of existing technology in an effort to provide guidelines for safe learning of this fundamental skill in young players.

The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr Neal Smith (Field Leader in Biomechanics and Research Methods, tel: 01243 816295, email: and Professor Mike Lauder (Head of Department)

Cognitively-demanding physical activity effects on cognition and academic performance in primary school children

A recent review into the effects of exercise on cognition in children concluded that the research demonstrates the potential of chronic exercise to promote cognition and academic achievement. Recent developments among researchers have shown that cognitively-demanding physical activity (C-DPA) may be more facilitative than simply running or cycling. This is based on similarities in the neural pathways activated during physical and mental activity. However, observation of the reviewed research raises some questions with regard to design issues. Moreover, doubts have been raised concerning the transfer from the C-DPA to cognitive performance of children in the classroom. However, cognitive neuroscience theories of between-task transfer suggest that this is a definite possibility. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop a number of C-DPA tasks which will aid the cognitive and academic performance of primary school children.

The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Dr Mandy Gault (Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, tel: 01243 816472, email:, Dr Jenny Smith (Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology (Skill Acquisition)) and Professor Terry McMorris (Emeritus Professor of Motor Behaviour).