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Life Beyond Sport: Sustaining Team GB athletes post elite sport: Skills, careers, and mental health considerations

   Faculty of Health Sciences

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  Dr Luke Jones Jonzon  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

About our partnership with Team GB

The University’s partnership with Team GB was announced in January 2019 and includes the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The partnership is borne out of a synergy between the University’s ambitions and values, and those of Team GB, and is built on the belief that there is the extraordinary in everyone.

In a further exciting development in this unique partnership, we are delighted to announce the launch of three PhD projects which will be delivered in close collaboration with Team GB. The three studies are about sustaining the future of individuals, society as a collective, and the environment and will form our Team GB: Competitors, Community, Climate cluster. 

Find out more about the other Team GB PhD opportunities.

About this project

Retirement from sport is an extremely significant ‘hot topic’ in contemporary sports research and is an area of huge importance to Team GB. Very little is understood about the lives of retired athletes, including how their experiences of elite sport will govern their lives after being a competitive athlete. This research aims to fill the gaps in this area and to provide critical knowledge that can be used to support athletes’ careers and well-being in their life beyond sport.

Using a socio-cultural poststructuralist lens, the successful candidate will use an in-depth qualitative approach in the form of semi-structured interviews with retired athletes and, significantly, will consider the role of current and / or retired coaches. Whilst based primarily in the department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science at the University of Hull, you will work with a variety of stakeholders and partners to conduct your research and analyse your findings.

This unique project will place you at the forefront of contemporary research into an extremely timely and current topic. You will help Team GB better understand how elite sport can positively influence competitors’ lives after retirement and also the challenges they face. Crucially, the aim is for your research is to inform and shape support provision for athletes both in the years preceding and post retirement.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship.

If you need to move into a fourth year to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period.

Who can apply

Candidates will need to have a strong interest in the socio-cultural analysis of sports contexts, sports retirement studies and sports coaching practices. Candidates will require an undergraduate degree in Sports Science, Sports Coaching, Sociology, or Education with at least a 2.1.

A Masters degree or relevant experience outside academia, would be advantageous.

We would very much welcome applications from retired high-performance athletes from any sport, as we appreciate the unique insights that your previous experience as an athlete will bring to the project. Your experience in the field of elite sport will be taken into account when assessing your academic qualifications.

For more details on our entry requirements please visit the postgraduate admissions webpage.

This scholarship is available for full-time study only and not open to candidates who have already obtained a PhD. This opportunity is open to Home candidates only.

How to apply


Apply via the University of Hull website

When applying, please provide a personal statement, of no more than 800 words (Arial, minimum font 11 point, margins 2.54cm), outlining: (i) what motivates you to pursue PhD study; (ii) why you are interested in this project; (iii) how your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need; and (iv) the wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.

Closing date for applications and interviews

Applications will close at 17.00 on 31st May 2021.  Interviews will take place during week commencing 14th June 2021.

Find out more

Come and chat to us! We are hosting a live webinar on Wednesday 12th May at 6pm. You will have an opportunity to meet Team GB, hear directly from them why these projects are important and ask questions. You will also have the opportunity to meet and chat to the PhD project supervisors here at the University of Hull. Register here.

You can also email us at [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant / stipend for three years, which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 21/22 is £4500 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £15609. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.