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Experiencing physical activity across the life-course: The case of injured rugby players


Project Description

This PhD studentship will be conducted with the RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF). The IPF provides support and information to rugby players in England who have sustained catastrophic injuries, such as spinal cord injury (SCI), playing the game. The purpose of this programme of research is to explore the experiences of injured players in the physical activity interventions provided by the IPF and evaluate the influence of these activities on the health and well-being of injured players over time. With an increasing number of younger people sustaining SCI living longer, there is an urgent need to understand the unique needs of those ageing with SCI and the role of physical activities on quality of life throughout the life course.

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic student who will fully engage in the dynamic and vibrant research environment offered by both universities. Applicants should have (or be near completion of) a Master’s degree and have a First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Sport and Exercise Science or other related disciplines). In addition, experience in qualitative research methods and excellent written and oral communication skills is essential. A willingness to participate in the RFU IPF physical activity programme is desirable.

This double degree PhD programme will be jointly supervised by Professor Andrew Sparkes, Dr Toni Williams (Leeds Beckett University) and Dr Adam Evans (University of Copenhagen). This unique collaboration will draw upon, and advance, existing specialisms in the respective university departments and research groups to provide an opportunity for theoretically and substantively ground-breaking work. At Leeds Beckett University, the Carnegie School of Sport delivers international research excellence through the interdisciplinary and applied nature of our work to generate meaningful impact. Similarly, the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport (NEXS) at the University of Copenhagen is a world-class, research intensive institution (currently ranked 15th globally for sport science in the QS University rankings), including research groups focused upon the study of health and physical activity during later phases of the life course.

Before applying, we would recommend any potential applicants contact a member of the supervisory team to discuss the nature of the project in greater detail: Prof Andrew Sparkes (Email: ), Dr Adam Evans (Email: ) or Dr Toni Williams (Email: ).

Funding Notes

The award provides a stipend of £15,009 per annum (pro-rata 12 monthly payments and exempt from UK Income Tax/National Insurance) and UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years (starting October 2019), and support for travel to Copenhagen of £500 per year. It's a requirement that the successful applicant will be based full-time at our Headingley Campus and will undertake a period of study of at least six months in Copenhagen across the three years. Following submission of a PhD thesis and successful completion of a public PhD defence, the student will receive an award from both universities.

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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