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  Collaborative VC / PhD Scholarship: Biomechanical adaptations to changes in bicycle set-up in elite athletes

   Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre

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  Dr Jon Wheat  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Collaborative VC / PhD Scholarship: Biomechanical adaptations to changes in bicycle set-up in elite athletes 

In collaboration with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), British Cycling (BC) and the Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) invites applications for a PhD investigating the effect of changes to the position of a rider on a bicycle on pedalling mechanics and external power output.  

Aerodynamic drag accounts for 90% of the resistive forces acting on a cyclist during track cycling, of which 80% is a result of the rider position on the bike (Oggiano et al., 2007). The significance of aerodynamics on athlete performance in cycling is well documented (Lukes et al., 2005; Underwood et al., 2011; Kyle, 2003; Gracia–Lopez, 2008). As a result, reducing aerodynamic drag has been the main driver for making changes to a cyclist’s position in British Cycling. 

The PhD will investigate the acute biomechanical impact of changes to the front end and changes to the saddle position on pedalling mechanics. The research will also explore the riders’ adaptations to these changes over a period of time to better understand an athlete’s capability to change and adapt to new positions, and ultimately determine the best rider position that both maximises power output and reduces aerodynamic drag. The PhD will be based at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. This research will be conducted using cyclists on the British Cycling programme and will help support the Positional Optimisation theme at British Cycling for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle and further beyond to LA 2028. 

Applicants should have a 1st or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in sports science, biomechanics, engineering or a related area. An MSc. in a related area would be beneficial, as would experience of providing applied support to athletes. We are offering this as a full-time PhD scholarship.  

The closing date for applications: 12 noon 29 July 2022 

For more information about the Studentship and details of how to apply, please follow this link: Doctoral funding and scholarships | Sheffield Hallam University (

Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

The studentship provides an annual maintenance stipend at standard UKRI stipend rates £16,062 (approx) per annum for 2022/2023 full-time study; £8,031 (approx) per annum for part-time study. The stipend is paid monthly tax free and is intended to cover basic living costs to enable you to undertake your studies.
It also covers University tuition fees at Home levels.
International applicants please be aware that the bursary will cover only the Home fee. The shortfall between the Home and Overseas fee, currently around £10,300 per year, must be covered by the student for the 3-year duration of the studentship.

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