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   The School of Sport

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  Prof K Till, Prof BJ Jones  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Leeds Rhinos with the Carnegie School of Sport are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual to a prestigious PhD

Full-time Sponsored PhD Studentship 

Start Date: 1st November 2022

Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Rhinos are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual to join the research team at Leeds Beckett University. The PhD studentship will involve working alongside a leading international multidisciplinary research team and experienced staff at Leeds Rhinos, embedded within Leeds Rhinos Academy. The candidates will have access to the world-class facilities at the Carnegie School of Sport, including the £45 million new build.

The successful candidates will provide approximately 10 - 15 hrs per week of practical support within the Leeds Rhinos Academy, primarily focusing on sports science, inclusive of GPS and instrumented mouthguard monitoring, to inform training and contact load exposure. This project will run concurrently with the TaCKLE project, in collaboration with the Rugby Football League.

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, led by Professor Ben Jones and Professor Kevin Till, 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.

Leeds Rhinos are the most successful rugby league club in the Super League era, having won the Super League five times, Challenge Cup three times, and World Club Challenge twice in the last ten years. Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Beckett University have a strong established relationship, with fifteen PhD studentships embedded within the club since 2014. Leeds Rhinos appreciate the risks associated with rugby league and have continually invested in research to better understand the load players are exposed to during training and matches.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals and the project with; Professor Kevin Till ([Email Address Removed]) and Professor Ben Jones ([Email Address Removed]).


Research Team: Professor Ben Jones (project lead) and Professor Kevin Till

Rugby league is a contact sport, whereby players are required to engage in repeated physical contacts during training and match play. There is an inherent injury risk to the body and head, with concussions reported as 5 and 13 per 1000 hrs for senior [1] and academy [2] rugby league players. The characteristics of injurious tackles have recently been evaluated, identifying potential risk factors during Super League [3]. In rugby union, head collisions have been associated with upright tackles [4] and technical deficiencies [5].

Within training, players are exposed to technical, tactical and physical collision loading, to safely prepare players for match play and competition. The body and head collision and contact load, during training and match player, requires accurate quantification, and can be determined via video analysis [6][7] and new technologies [8][9].

The neurological outcomes associated with contact sports have recently received attention in the media and academic literature [10]. Whilst an emerging body of evidence exists, more research is required to understand the contact load and head acceleration exposures academy rugby league players are exposed to, to inform practice and policy modification.

To discuss the project please contact Professor Kevin Till ([Email Address Removed]) and Professor Ben Jones ([Email Address Removed])

A guide to making an application and an application form can be found through this link

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.


1 Fitzpatrick AC, Naylor AS, Myler P, et al. A three-year epidemiological prospective cohort study of rugby league match injuries from the European Super League. J Sci Med Sport 2018;21:160–5. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2017.08.012
2 Tee JC, Till K, Jones B. Incidence and characteristics of injury in under-19 academy level rugby league match play: A single season prospective cohort study. J Sports Sci 2019;37:1181–8. doi:10.1080/02640414.2018.1547100
3 Hopkinson M, Nicholson G, Weaving D, et al. Rugby league ball carrier injuries: The relative importance of tackle characteristics during the European Super League. Eur J Sport Sci 2020;0:1–20. doi:10.1080/17461391.2020.1853817
4 Tucker R, Raftery M, Fuller GW, et al. A video analysis of head injuries satisfying the criteria for a head injury assessment in professional Rugby Union: a prospective cohort study. Br J Sports Med 2017;51:1147–51. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097883
5 Davidow D, Quarrie K, Viljoen W, et al. Tackle technique of rugby union players during head impact tackles compared to injury free tackles. J Sci Med Sport 2018;21:1025–31. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2018.04.003
6 Hendricks S, Till K, den Hollander S, et al. Consensus on a video analysis framework of descriptors and definitions by the Rugby Union Video Analysis Consensus group. Br J Sports Med 2020;54:566–72. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2019-101293
7 Gardner AJ, Howell DR, Iverson GL. A video review of multiple concussion signs in National Rugby League match play. Sports Med - Open 2018;4:5. doi:10.1186/s40798-017-0117-9
8 Liu Y, Domel AG, Yousefsani SA, et al. Validation and Comparison of Instrumented Mouthguards for Measuring Head Kinematics and Assessing Brain Deformation in Football Impacts. ArXiv200801903 Phys Published Online First: 24 December 2020. doi:10.1007/s10439-020-02629-3
9 Kieffer EE, Begonia MT, Tyson AM, et al. A Two-Phased Approach to Quantifying Head Impact Sensor Accuracy: In-Laboratory and On-Field Assessments. Ann Biomed Eng 2020;48:2613–25. doi:10.1007/s10439-020-02647-1
10 Manley G, Gardner AJ, Schneider KJ, et al. A systematic review of potential long-term effects of sport-related concussion. Br J Sports Med 2017;51:969–77. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097791

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

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