Elite athletes continue to push the boundaries of human endeavour, in their ability to perform complex skills rapidly but efficiently, often under highly dynamic and stressful conditions. The student will adopt a multidisciplinary approach to determine the various factors – innate, learnt, and environmental – that ultimately contribute to expertise within a specified domain. This is an exciting opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research, which will have both applied and theoretical implications.
Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this project, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to use a variety of techniques including gaze-tracking technology, performance analysis, psychometric testing, neuroimaging (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI], electroencephalography [EEG], transcranial magnetic stimulation [TMS]), and kinematic data acquisition. Previous experience with some or all of these techniques would be a distinct advantage, but the student will receive training as necessary; expertise is not expected at the point of application. The target population(s) and specific measures to be used will be determined jointly by the candidate and the supervisory team.
The supervisory team is made up of Dr David Broadbent (http://www.brunel.ac.uk/people/david-broadbent) whose research focuses on the testing and training of anticipation skills in sport, the impact of anxiety on performance, and the role of performance analysis in sport, having worked for Everton Football Club as a performance analyst for three years; Dr Noel Kinrade (http://www.brunel.ac.uk/people/noel-kinrade) whose research focuses on decision making under pressure, attentional control and working memory, whilst also being an experienced basketball coach; and Dr Dan Bishop (http://www.brunel.ac.uk/people/dan-bishop), an HCPC-registered Practitioner Psychologist providing ongoing psych support to international athletes, whose research profile includes work on neural and psychological markers of expert perception and decision-making, emotion induction, multimodal optimisation of attention, and the development of expertise (e.g., via observational learning).
In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, the Division of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences was ranked in the Top 3 in the UK. For more information please visit the website: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/sport-health-and-exercise-sciences). The successful candidate will be situated within the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) which focuses on fundamental and applied research into the relationships between brain function, behaviour and psychological processes. The group integrates the expertise of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropsychologists, cognitive psychologists and sports and exercise psychologists. For more information please visit the website: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Centres/Centre-for-Cognitive-Neuroscience.
Brunel University London has state-of-the-art sport facilities which are open to researchers to conduct projects. One such example is Brunel’s Indoor Athletics Centre (IAC) – the centerpiece of the University’s performance sport facilities, comprising 6-lane sprint and hurdles straights; dedicated jumping , vaulting, S&C, and plyometrics areas; and onsite medical/rehabilitation facilities. The IAC is also a UK Athletics Regional Performance Centre and is the chosen training venue for many of the country’s finest athletes. For more information please visit the website: http://www.brunel.ac.uk/services/sport/facilities/indoor-athletics-centre
This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. Applications from home, EU and overseas students are welcome. Please contact any of the supervisory team for an informal discussion about the project.