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Active travel among adolescents: co-benefits for health and the climate


   Faculty of Health, Education, Sport and Social Science

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Ref: Active travel among adolescents: co-benefits for health and the climate

Post: Self-funded PhD

Hours: Full-time or part-time

Closing date: Deadlines for each start date can be found here: https://www.beds.ac.uk/rgs/apply

Start date: October or March

Director of Studies and Contact: Dr. Julia Zakrzewski-Fruer ()

Introduction

The Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research (ISPAR) at the University of Bedfordshire is pleased to offer PhD opportunities in the area of physical activity, nutrition and cardiometabolic health among adolescents. The specific details are below.

The project | Active travel among adolescents: co-benefits for health and climate change

Active travel represents a key opportunity for improving physical activity and has been associated with decreased carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, it has ‘co-benefits’ for the health of humans and the planet. An increase and maintenance of physical activity has repeatedly been shown to prevent cardiometabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adolescents are a key target population for physical activity promotion and cardiometabolic disease prevention due to various behavioural and physiological factors, which is important because ‘prevention is more effective than a cure’. Indeed, physical activity typically declines in the transition from childhood to adolescents and this is a critical time of life to promote health behaviours, such as active travel, that can be sustained for lifelong impact. Simultaneously, promoting active travel will reducing the reliance of young people on using carbon consuming transport modalities and, thereby, over time, mitigate the rate and severity of climate change. With many adolescents being classified as ‘physically inactive’ and global concerns of climate change placing uncertainty on their futures, research on the co-benefits of active travel for health and climate change in this population is highly topical. This PhD aims to understand the impact of promoting active travel in adolescents on factors relating to cardiometabolic health and climate change. The research will cover a range of highly topical disciplines (e.g., health, physiology, behavioural science, environmental science) and utilise a multi-methods approach to study designs to culminate in real-world application and impact in the field. The specific nature of each stage is open for discussion and will emerge as the research progresses. The successful applicant will work with a multi-disciplinary team of leading academics and build an excellent knowledge and skill base for a future career within the field.

The institution

The University of Bedfordshire’s vision is to create a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform their lives by participating in excellent, innovative education, scholarship and research.

ISPAR capitalises on local, national and international opportunities for collaborative interdisciplinary cross-boundary research and innovation in health and wellbeing. A major goal of the institute is to understand the role of physical activity in promoting health across the lifespan, moving from research in the laboratory to real-life settings for implementation in various contexts.

The successful candidate will join our lively community of post-graduate researchers, comprising of a wealth of interests particularly in applied health, sport, and, physical activity.

Supervisory team

Successful candidates will be supported by the following multi-disciplinary team of leading academics: Dr. Julia Zakrzewski-Fruer (; Director of Studies); Dr Michael Newell (); and Professor Angel Chater ().

Links to staff profiles are here: https://www.beds.ac.uk/ispar/about/staff/.

Expected outcomes

The expected outcomes of this PhD include a series of outputs that are suitable for dissemination via publication highly-ranked academic journals, conference presentations and stakeholder-related activities (e.g., lay summaries, school assemblies). The research is also expected to cement and build partnerships with stakeholders within the community (e.g., active travel initiatives). The findings are expected to inform future external grant applications.

 

Term and funding

Commencing in March or October, initially for two years (MPhil stage), progressing to PhD with successful upgrade viva subject to satisfactory progress. The studentship is available for students who meet the entry criteria. Please consult the University website for more information. Full-time or part-time study is welcomed. Teaching opportunities at the University will be available. Information on Postgraduate Doctoral Loans can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan.

The candidate and entry criteria

  • Applicants must have a minimum of a 2.1 degree in a relevant subject, such as Sport and Exercise Science, Nutrition, Health, Psychology, Environmental Science or a related subject.
  • An awarded Masters-level degree in a relevant subject is desirable, but not essential.
  • Applicants should have experience of working with children/adolescents, or be interested in working with this population.
  • Experience in relevant research methods and procedures, including exercise testing, physical activity assessment, blood sampling and analysis, as well as quantitative data and statistical analysis will be highly advantageous.
  • Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their ability in English, typically B2 level English qualification such as IELTS 7.0.

 

How to apply

Full details of the application process can be found on our Research Graduate School website: https://www.beds.ac.uk/rgs/apply.

Applicants must submit a 2000-word proposal highlighting the co-benefits of active travel among adolescents for mitigating cardiometabolic disease and climate change based on the available literature, and highlight current gaps in the research. In addition to a CV, all applications should include a cover letter with supporting information on their experience, skills and how these relate to the advertised studentship. Please also send a scanned copy of your highest degree and transcript where possible.

Once completed, please submit the application form by email to both and quoting the title ‘Active travel among adolescents: co-benefits for health and the climate’.

Checklist for applications

  • Application form
  • CV
  • Contact details of two referees (at least 1 academic)
  • 2000 word proposal
  • Covering letting
  • Highest qualification certificate/transcript
  • ‘Active travel among adolescents: co-benefits for health and the climate’ in email subject title

Funding Notes

Commencing in March or October, initially for two years (MPhil stage), progressing to PhD with successful upgrade viva subject to satisfactory progress. The studentship is available for students who meet the entry criteria. Please consult the University website for more information. Full-time or part-time study is welcomed. Teaching opportunities at the University will be available. Information on Postgraduate Doctoral Loans can be found here: View Website.

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