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Injury epidemiology and injury prevention in elite women’s rugby union

   Department for Health

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  Dr Sean Williams, Prof Keith Stokes, Dr Carly McKay  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Background: The Women’s Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (WRISP)

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) oversees rugby in England and is constantly trying to understand the number and pattern of injuries to inform injury prevention strategies. The Women’s Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (WRISP) was initiated in 2017-18 to monitor injury risk in the Premier 15s teams and England Red Roses. This PhD project is the next phase of the largest continuous study of injuries in elite women’s rugby union and will be crucial to the continued development of player welfare initiatives in the women’s game.

The Project

The aim of the project, which is joint-funded by the RFU and the University of Bath, is to systematically examine the incidence, nature and severity of rugby injuries (and specifically head injuries) sustained in elite women’s rugby in England and to identify ways in which the risk of injury to rugby players might be reduced.

The project will involve:

(1)   Prospective injury epidemiology to identify overall injury risk and specific injury patterns in the Premier 15s teams and England Red Roses.

(2)   Exploring head impacts during rugby matches using video analysis and wearable sensor technology.

(3)   Evaluating injury prevention approaches (e.g., injury prevention exercise programmes, law variations, tackle training).

The student will work closely with other researchers and PhD students in our Centre for Health, and Injury & Illness Prevention in Sport (CHi2PS), staff at the RFU, and medical and conditioning staff within the Premier 15s clubs. We are particularly interested to receive applications from individuals with an interest in data science and exploring innovative ways of reporting and presenting injury surveillance data.

Preferred start date – 16 January 2023

The Successful Candidate should:

Fulfil the entrance requirements for a Department for Health PhD

Applicants for the studentship must have obtained or be about to obtain, as a minimum, a First or Upper Second-Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an area appropriate to the skills requirements of the project, such as Sports Science or Physiotherapy. A Master’s degree is also preferred, in a relevant area such as Sports Science, Sports Medicine, Data Science, Medical Statistics or Public Health.

The Department for Health is dedicated to providing a supportive and inclusive environment for our staff and students. The Department for Health hold a Bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to gender equality. We positively encourage applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity. We value, promote and celebrate inclusion, challenging discrimination and putting equality, diversity and belonging at the heart of everything we do. We aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated, respected and encouraged. We truly believe that diversity of experience, perspectives, and backgrounds will lead to a better environment for our employees and students, creating a learning environment and organisational culture that enhances health and wellbeing across our community.

Applicants should apply online to study for a full time PhD in Health. It is important to quote the project title (Injury epidemiology and injury prevention in elite women’s rugby union) on your application. Please note, the application form will appear to be for 2023/4 entry. Do not worry, we will amend this after you have applied.

Please note that the application form will refer to a formal proposal. As this studentship is to work on a specific project, there is no need to write a formal proposal in this case. Instead, please provide a brief outline of your initial thoughts on the area of research as part of your online application. This should be no more than 500 words.

Enquiries and Applications

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Sean Williams ([Email Address Removed])

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Funding Eligibility

In order to be considered for the available studentship, you must qualify as a Home student. In determining Home student status, we follow the UK government’s fee regulations and guidance from the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). Further information may also be found within the University’s fee status guidance.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for ‘Home’ fees and funding.

Funding Notes

The studentship includes Home tuition fees, a stipend at the UKRI standard rate (at least £17,668 per annum, 2022/23 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3 years. Eligibility criteria apply, see Funding Eligibility section above.

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