£6,000 FindAPhD Scholarship | APPLICATIONS CLOSING SOON! £6,000 FindAPhD Scholarship | APPLICATIONS CLOSING SOON!

Fully Funded PhD Studentship - Scottish Rugby Union in collaboration with the Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Beckett University, Quantification and management of (contact) load in rugby players

   The School of Sport

This project is no longer listed on FindAPhD.com and may not be available.

Click here to search FindAPhD.com for PhD studentship opportunities
  Prof BJ Jones, Dr Carlos Ramirez  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Scottish Rugby Union sponsored PhD Research Studentship in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University.

  • Full-time Sponsored Postgraduate Research Studentship
  • Start date: October 2022 (an early start date as a research assistant will be offered)
  • The PhD studentship will have a bursary of £15,609 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK Fees paid initially for a period of three years.

This is a unique opportunity for an enthusiastic and high-achieving individual, who is looking to undertake a PhD in a vibrant research and high-performance sport environment. Leeds Beckett University in collaboration with Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual to join the research team at Leeds Beckett University.

The PhD studentship will focus on primarily rugby union, based in Edinburgh in collaboration with Scottish Rugby (SRU project).

Alongside the research, the successful candidate working on the SRU project will be embedded into Scottish Rugby Union’s performance and athletic development departments working with Scotland National Teams, The SRU is the governing body for rugby union in Scotland. The PhD studentship will involve working alongside leading multidisciplinary research teams and national governing bodies to deliver a novel and impactful project within elite athletic development. The candidate will have also access to the world-class facilities at the Carnegie School of Sport, including the £45 million new build.

The quality of Carnegie School of Sport research is evident in the outstanding results achieved in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, where we ranked 2nd nationally when accounting for both research quality and the number of contributing staff. The Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) centre undertakes high quality applied research with international and national governing bodies, and a range of professional sports teams with over 60 researchers working in the CARR centre.

The successful candidate should have:

  • A strong background and passion for qualitative and quantitative research methods and data analysis
  • Experience providing strength and conditioning / sports science support to athletes


Project leads: Dr Carlos Ramirez and Professor Ben Jones

Rugby can have both a positive and unintended negative influence on biopsychosocial factors (Malm et al., 2019; Quarrie et al., 2017). Researchers from the CARR centre, in collaboration with an international research team are undertaking a study to establish ‘Contributors to Negative Biopsychosocial Health or Performance Outcomes in Rugby Players (CoNBO): A Systematic Review and Delphi Study’ (McCormack et al., protocol available on request). This study will describe negative biopsychosocial factors, which can be managed and mitigated by practitioners and policy makers to optimize player welfare.

One area of interest from a player performance and welfare perspective, specific to rugby is ‘contact load’ (West et al., 2020, Hendricks et al., 2016, Hendricks et al., 2019). Rugby players are required to engage in physical contact events, during both training and match play. Exposure to the tackle (and other contact events) during training, allows players to develop the specific technical skills to undertake these effectively and safely during a match (Hendricks et al, 2018). Conversely, given the tackle is the most injurious event in rugby, excessive exposure may expose players to an unnecessary injury risk (West et al., 2020). This may also specifically relate to sub-concussive and concussive events, given the risk of head collisions during a tackle (Tucker et al., 2017, Gardner et al., 2021).

The aim of this PhD will be to support the CoNBO study, whilst systematically evaluating the load, and more specifically contact load exposure in rugby. The PhD studentship will focus on primarily women’s rugby union, based in Edinburgh in collaboration with Scottish Rugby (SRU project).

Alongside the research, the successful candidate working on the SRU project will be embedded into Scottish Rugby Union’s performance and athletic development departments primarily working with Scotland Women’s National Team, alongside Head of Physical Performance (Stuart Yule), Head of Athletic Development (Andy Boyd), and National Team Sports Scientist (Dr Carlos Ramirez; project lead). The candidate will engage in approx. 10-15 hours of practical delivery per week.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals with the project leads Dr Carlos Ramirez ([Email Address Removed]) and Professor Ben Jones ([Email Address Removed])

For further information on how to apply can be found here

Funding Notes

Funding will consist of UK full tuition fees for three years and the award of a living stipend at UK Research Council rates (£15,609 per annum pro-rata into 12 monthly payments). Funding will be subject to satisfactory progress.
A laptop will be provided and the opportunity to apply for funding to support the research project.


Gardner, A. J., Iverson, G. L., Edwards, S., & Tucker, R. (2021). A Case-Control Study of Tackle-Based Head Injury Assessment (HIA) Risk Factors in the National Rugby League. Sports medicine - open, 7(1), 84. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-021-00377-9
Hendricks, S, Till, K, Oliver, J, Johnston, R, Attwood, M, Brown, J, Drake, D, MacLeod, S, Mellalieu, S, Treu, P, Jones, B. (2018) Technical Skill Training Framework and Skill Load Measurements for the Rugby Union Tackle, Strength and Conditioning Journal: 40 (5), 44-59 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000400
Hendricks, S., Till, K., Oliver, J. L., Johnston, R. D., Attwood, M. J., Brown, J. C., Drake, D., MacLeod, S., Mellalieu, S. D., & Jones, B. (2019). Rating of perceived challenge as a measure of internal load for technical skill performance. British journal of sports medicine, 53(10), 611–613.
Quarrie, K. L., Raftery, M., Blackie, J., Cook, C. J., Fuller, C. W., Gabbett, T. J., Gray, A. J., Gill, N., Hennessy, L., Kemp, S., Lambert, M., Nichol, R., Mellalieu, S. D., Piscione, J., Stadelmann, J., & Tucker, R. (2017). Managing player load in professional rugby union: a review of current knowledge and practices. British journal of sports medicine, 51(5), 421–427. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096191
Tucker, R., Raftery, M., Kemp, S., Brown, J., Fuller, G., Hester, B., Cross, M., & Quarrie, K. (2017). Risk factors for head injury events in professional rugby union: a video analysis of 464 head injury events to inform proposed injury prevention strategies. British journal of sports medicine, 51(15), 1152–1157. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2017-097895
West, S. W., Williams, S., Kemp, S., Eager, R., Cross, M. J., & Stokes, K. A. (2020). Training Load, Injury Burden, and Team Success in Professional Rugby Union: Risk Versus Reward. Journal of athletic training, 55(9), 960–966. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-0387.19

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

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs