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Enhancing the Use of Data in Professional Rugby Union via Advanced Data Science Techniques


Project Description

With the ever-growing collection of data in professional sport, appropriate collection, management and analysis strategies are paramount to ensure that correct inferences are made (Casals and Finch, 2017). This is particularly important for big data sets of repeated measures that require sophisticated statistical modelling, the interpretation of responses to an intervention, and assessing individual changes in measures of training load, fatigue and performance (Atkinson and Batterham, 2015, Robertson et al., 2017, Swinton et al., 2018, Voisin et al., 2019). Bath Rugby and Leeds Beckett are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual with a passion for data science, and a desire to advance the area of data management and interpretation in professional sport. The candidate will have a strong grounding in model building, statistical inference and research methods, data visualization, and an ability to apply this knowledge in applied practice

The purpose of this PhD is to explore the use of different data collection, management and statistical methods within a professional rugby union club, in order to improve the rigor of data collection, management and interpretation. Furthermore, the PhD will investigate the effect of data presentation methods on support staff and player interpretation and engagement. The PhD student will use the findings from their research to guide performance staff, strategically embedding these methods in practice within the constraints of the day-day schedules, to ensure that scientific rigor is upheld and best practice applied.

The successful candidate’s PhD will focus on the use of technology and physiological training principles to support the design of specific field-based training practices that facilitate both physical and technical / tactical development of professional rugby union players concurrently. The PhD student will work closely with conditioning, rugby and analysis staff to develop an efficient training model at Bath Rugby.

The successful candidates will be embedded within Bath Rugby, collecting data relevant to their PhD. They will work collaboratively with each other and with the wider performance department at the club, and data will be shared between projects. Candidates should be innovative, creative and ambitious, while also being well organised and highly motivated. Positions will require flexible working hours, including evening and weekend work in line with Bath Rugby team scheduling. Candidates should have a strong applied research background and experience of working as part of a multi-disciplinary team. The start date for the PhD is 1st October, although candidates will be encouraged to start 10th June employed as a research assistant.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals and the project with Project Lead Dr. Gregory Roe / / Andrew Rock (Bath Rugby) or Professor Ben Jones

Funding Notes

The PhD studentship will have an advanced bursary of £23,009 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU Fees paid initially for a period of four years.

Overseas applicants must refer to the UKBA regulations on studying in the UK and contact Professor Ben Jones before submitting.

How good is research at Leeds Beckett University in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 48.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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