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PhD Using Football to overcome deprivation in India

School of Applied Sciences

About the Project

Slum Soccer is an award winning non-profit organisation which uses football to change the lives of marginalised populations of India. India has the second largest population, but 170 million people live on the streets and 260 million earn less than $1 a day (UN Habitat). A sizeable portion of these are women and children. Slum Soccer transcend race, religion, language and gender to foster long term solutions to homelessness and to improve living standards and education within underprivileged areas. Slum Soccer centres provide social support and foster skills development and education. Football is available to everyone and encourages engagement with training programmes; such as, The Young Leaders Programme, Project Young Stars, Livelihood Training, Deafkidz Goal, Coaches Training, the Shakti programme for girls, and the Edukick programme which uses football to teach mathematics in schools.

In India, there is no provision or support for physical education in government run primary schools. Slum Soccer is embarking on an ambitious project to develop a sustainable ecosystem to provide training and resources to teachers that will enable them to provide effective PE in primary schools of rural areas of Nagpur district. This project provides opportunities for curriculum development, coach training development, teacher training and peer mentoring support. Each element will require evaluation of the efficacy of the programmes within the schools, with the children, and within the wider communities. There is consistent reporting of the impact of Slum Soccer, and this programme will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to evidence the potential power of sport to facilitate positive change with much wider cultural implications.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and capable PhD candidate to work with Slum Soccer to develop, evaluate, and understand the impact of the Slum Soccer Primary Education project. You will be based at Edinburgh Napier University but work with Slum Soccer directly. You will gain an understanding of the power of sport to facilitate personal growth, and gain a unique insight into how sport education might foster cultural development and transitions.

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in Psychology or Sport and Exercise Psychology with a good fundamental knowledge of physical activity and behaviour change.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
 Experience of fundamental psychology or social science research methods
 Competent in literature review and critical analysis
 Knowledge of Social psychology and Developmental psychology
 Good written and oral communication skills
 Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
 Good time management

Desirable attributes:
A good understanding of the power of sport or community participation for positive developmental outcomes

Funding Notes

Please quote project code SAS0084 in your enquiry and application.
• Completed application form
• CV
• 2 academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (Found on the application process page)
• A personal research statement (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction.)
• Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)

This is a self-funding PhD opportunity


Hermens, N., Super, S., Verkooijen, K. T., & Koelen, M. A. (2017). A systematic review of life skill development through sports programs serving socially vulnerable youth. Research quarterly for exercise and sport, 88(4), 408-424.
Morgan, H. (2018). Enhancing social mobility within marginalized youth: the accumulation of positive psychological capital through engagement with community sports clubs. Sport in society, 21(11), 1669-1685.
Nols, Z., Haudenhuyse, R., & Theeboom, M. (2017). Urban sport-for-development initiatives and young people in socially vulnerable situations: Investigating the ‘deficit model’. Social Inclusion, 5(2), 210-222.
Smith, R. E., & Smoll, F. L. (1990). Self-esteem and children's reactions to youth sport coaching behaviors: A field study of self-enhancement processes. Developmental Psychology, 26(6), 987-993. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.26.6.987
Woodward, J. (2016). The impact of role models on players and coaches. Retrieved from

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