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Motor competence and the isotemporal substitution of physical activity, sedentary time and sleep in children

Project Description

This fully funded project will seek to build upon an emerging field of physical activity analytics, with an overarching aim of integrating objective measures of motor competence, physical activity and sedentary behaviour with novel and robust analytics. Our technological and analytical capability has proliferated in recent years, yet almost all contemporary, empirical data highlight that endeavours to enhance or increase childrens’ physical activity levels (and corresponding decrements in sedentary behaviour) are wholly unsuccessful. Despite the mounting evidence of their utility, novel technological and analytical insights have not yet penetrated physical activity and health policy and practice, with interventions being conceived, often, with little consideration of expected outcomes, or based on the work of subjective, self-report data.

This work will seek to apply isotemporal substitution of activity behaviours and investigate their theoretical impact on motor competence. Following this, the veracity of the novel analytical approach will be assessed, which, hitherto, has never been demonstrated. The final step of this project will be to incept a theoretically driven, and empirically tested, intervention, for the improvement of activity behaviours and motor competence in children.


• The Centre has a vibrant post graduate student community and has accreditation from the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) for the training it gives to its science PhD students.
• You will benefit from access to a world-class, Olympic-grade fitness and sports science facilities and life sciences laboratory environment with industry standard research and teaching facilities. You will become a part of a multi-professional team of renowned academics, researchers and clinicians.
• The new Science and Health Building is home to the first education-based Super laboratory (Lab+) for biomedical, pharmacological and analytical sciences.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.
All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:

• Knowledge and/or experience of working with children and/or computer science
• Candidates must have some experience in experimental work and of working in a laboratory. It is desirable that candidates can evidence their commitment to research in the form of publications of some kind (for example journal or conference papers/presentations).
• Candidates should have good knowledge of statistics, data analysis and data visualisation. In order to soundly contextualise the research.
• Candidates should be proficient in R, MatLab or a similar code-based software

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Cain Clark or Professor Helen Maddock Executive Director CSELS

To apply online please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Enquiries may be addressed to:
Dr Cain Clark , Director of Studies,
or Professor Helen Maddock Executive Director CSELS

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2019

Duration of study: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Funding Notes

Fully funded to UK/EU fee equivalence plus stipend
(please note that eligibility is restricted to UK/EU graduates only)

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