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Leeds United Academy sponsored Research Studentship in collaboration with the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University

The School of Sport

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Dr S Emmonds No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Leeds United Academy sponsored Research Studentship in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University, Carnegie School of Sport
Full-time Sponsored Postgraduate Research Studentship - start date October 2020

Leeds Beckett University and Leeds United are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual for a PhD studentship.

This is a unique opportunity for an enthusiastic and high-achieving individual looking to undertake a PhD in a vibrant research and athlete development environment at a Category 1 Academy. The successful candidate will support staff at the club in delivering strength and conditioning and sport science support to Leeds United academy players.


The long-term athletic development of youth footballers is a priority for practitioners working in elite academy settings, given the known needs for athleticism in the professional game. However, it is widely accepted that growth and maturation during adolescence will impact upon the athletic development of youth players.

A large body of research has cross-sectionally characterised the influence of growth and maturation on the athletic development of elite youth male soccer players for example:

• Lovell et al., 2015; player characteristics in English lower-league development programmes: The relationships between relative age, maturation, anthropometry and physical fitness
• Towlsen et al., 2018; When does the influence of maturation on anthropometric and physical fitness characteristics increase and subside?
• Read et al., 2017: and landing performance in male youth soccer players: effects of age and maturation.).

However, less is known about the influence of growth and maturation on the response of youth football players to different athletic development strategies. This requires further research, particularly given the constraints of athletic development in such environments, in which specific time dedicated to athletic development may be constrained by the needs to develop players holistically for the demands of the game.

A limited body of work has explored the influence of growth and maturation on speed training and development (e.g. Moran et al., 2018; adaptations in running speed in response to sprint training in youth soccer players) but athletic development strategies in youth male soccer players at different stages of maturation is an area that still requires further research. Therefore, this PhD studentship provides the opportuning to explore the impact of strength and conditioning strategies on the long-term athletic development strategies of elite youth male football players on their long-term athletic development pathway and help innovate and drive current and future practices.

The successful candidate will be embedded within Leeds United academy supporting the deliver of the clubs physical development framework . The practical commitment will involve a maximum of 3 days of delivery per week (30 weeks per year) at the academy whilst allowing the candidate to undertake innovative research on long-term athletic development.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals and the project with the Project Lead; Dr Stacey Emmonds at [Email Address Removed]

Applicants are asked to complete an application form and provide a proposal of the research to be undertaken using the criteria given below as a guide.

The proposal of the research can be up to four A4 pages in length (with references as an addition to the proposal) using type Arial 12 point.

Applicants should use the research project reference (LU20) as the subject in the email subject line when submitting their applications.

The criteria listed below will also be used in both selecting those applicants who will be called for interview and those who will be successful in securing a studentship.

a) Qualifications, expertise and experience relevant to PhD subject area.
b) Experience of providing sports science / strength and conditioning support to athletes
c) Knowledge of the subject area that will allow the development of a focused line of enquiry;
d) Knowledge and understanding of research methods appropriate to undertaking a PhD in your chosen area of research
e) Clarity on the original contribution that the completed PhD will make to the body of knowledge in the relevant research literature
f) Scale and scope of the proposed research in terms of delivery within the three-year studentship

Application forms are available from [Email Address Removed] or [Email Address Removed]
The deadline for applications is midnight on 17th September 2020

Funding Notes


• A stipend of £15,285 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments)
• UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years
• Laptop and office space (subject to LBU COVID arrangements) and funding to support the research project

The Project is subject to external funding
The successful candidate will need to be based in Leeds for the studentship
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