Personalised intervention approaches to improve and maintain physical activity following cardiac rehabilitation SSEHS/NP24

   Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

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  Dr N Paine, Dr F Kinnafick  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are still a leading cause of death globally. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an evidence-based intervention which is delivered after a cardiac event and aims to improve and restore health post cardiac event, and decrease the risk of future events.

The benefits of exercise-based rehabilitation mean physical activity is a core component of CR and patients are encouraged to engage in physical activity on a regular basis. However, adherence to physical activity can be problematic within this population, and maintenance of physical activity in the months’ following discharge from CR has been shown to decline. 

Our studentship will utilize a range of transdisciplinary methods to investigate strategies to encourage increased physical activity in CR settings, with a view to long-term maintenance of physical activity. This will encompass elements of psychology, behaviour change, and physiological measures.

Initial work will include developing an evidence base of existing intervention components and their efficacy. In consultation with stakeholders, intervention components will be identified and then investigated further using behaviour change theories and intervention development frameworks.

In addition to investigating changes in physical activity, physiological measures of cardiovascular risk will also be assessed to examine both behavioural and physiological changes. 

Loughborough University is ranked number one in the world for sport-related subjects (QS World University Rankings). The School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences offers an exciting, interdisciplinary research environment, where research students work alongside expert staff with a diverse range of interests and experience.

By studying for a PhD with us, you will be joining a thriving research community of over 200 Doctoral Researchers from across the globe. You will add to world-leading research that is helping to shape the latest advancements across the sport, exercise and health sectors. In REF 2021, 100% of research impact from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

94% of Loughborough’s research impact is rated world-leading or internationally excellent. REF 2021


Primary supervisor: Dr Nicola Paine

Secondary supervisor: Dr Florence Kinnafick

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Essential criteria: 

  • Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in one of the following subject areas: Sport and exercise sciences, health psychology, public health or a physiology-related subject.
  •  Ability to work independently, as part of a wider team and with members of the public
  • Strong communication and excellent inter-personal skills
  • Enthusiasm, passion and interest in the topic area

Desirable criteria:

  • A relevant Master’s degree in one of the following areas is desirable: Sport and exercise sciences, health psychology, public health or a physiology-related subject
  • Professional experience in a relevant discipline such as working within a clinical setting or with a clinical population group (such as, but not limited to, cardiac rehabilitation)
  • Previous experience with intervention development and/or behaviour change theory (e.g., through dissertation work, employment)
  • Previous experience of undertaking physiological assessments relating to cardiometabolic health

Start date

October 2024, January 2025

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote the advertised reference number: SSEHS/NP24 in your application.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

As part of your application, please also submit a 1000-word (maximum) research proposal. In this proposal, we want you to imagine that you are at the point of designing a physical activity intervention for Cardiac Rehabilitation patients as part of your PhD.

In your proposal, please outline what your study design would be, what measures would you include, and what would your intervention components be and why? You may include a reference list at the end of your proposal, which will not count towards the 1000 word limit of the proposal.

The following selection criteria will be used by academic schools to help them make a decision on your application.

Apply now

Medicine (26) Psychology (31) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £18,622 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus university tuition fees.

Where will I study?