PhD in Cognitively-Demanding Physical Activity

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

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

This bursary 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 studentship 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.

The Application Process

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

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).