Development of an evidence-based, sport-specific classification system for vision-impaired athletics
Would you like to help us improve the structure of competition at the Paralympic games? Paralympic competition is structured into classes so that athletes compete against others whose impairment has a similar impact on performance. The aim of this classification system is to maximise the chance that the winner is the best athlete rather than the one with the least impairment. Track and field athletics for individuals with vision impairment currently uses three classes: B3 for athletes with least impairment, B2 for moderate impairment, and B1 for high impairment. These classes were created many years ago using the World Health Organisation’s criteria for low vision and blindness, without any evidence to show they represent the fairest way to structure competition. Moreover, the same three classes are used for all sports (e.g., athletics, swimming, cycling), even though the impact of vision impairment is likely to differ depending on the visual demands of each sport. The aim of this PhD project is to design a new evidence-based classification system for athletics for individuals with vision impairment. You will travel to training camps and competition events to test the vision and competition performance of athletes in order to develop a new system of classification to be used in future Paralympic events. You will be housed within the Visual Function and Physiology Research Group in the Department of Vision and Hearing Sciences. The studentship would suit a student with a background in vision and/or sport. The group has expertise in both vision and sport and have recently published in high impact scientific journals such as Sports Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine.
How to apply
To apply, you’ll need: A first class bachelor’s degree or a 2:1 bachelor’s degree and a masters at merit level or above. Equivalent awards will be considered. Qualifications must be relevant for the particular studentship you are applying for.