The University of Bedfordshire are pleased to offer a full-time PhD studentship in the subject area described further below. This exciting new studentship has been made available through the collaboration of the Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research (ISPAR) and Precision Fuel & Hydration. The studentship is hosted by the Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research and will cover tuition fees, bursary per annum as well as research and conference attendance expenses where applicable.
The University of Bedfordshire’s vision is to create a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform their lives by participating in excellent, innovative education, scholarship and research.
ISPAR capitalises on local, national and international opportunities for collaborative interdisciplinary cross-boundary research and innovation in health and wellbeing. A major goal of the institute is to understand the role of physical activity in promoting health across the lifespan, moving from research in the laboratory to real-life settings for implementation in various contexts.
According to the latest Research Excellence Framework 89% of our outputs were 3-4* in quality, a huge increase from our score in 2014. Our impact score has increase to 75% at 3* all our research is internationally excellent in impact, and the majority is world leading.
The successful candidate will join our lively community of post-graduate researchers, comprising of a wealth of interests particularly in applied health, sport, and physical activity.
Successful candidates will be supported by the following multi-disciplinary team of leading academics: Dr Michael Newell ([Email Address Removed]; Director of Studies), Dr Jeff Aldous ([Email Address Removed]), and Dr Martyn Morris ([Email Address Removed]). Staff profiles are here: https://www.beds.ac.uk/ispar/about/staff/.
The successful candidate will have experience in sport and exercise science and/or nutrition with a strong element of physiology and biology throughout their academic background. Candidates who are passionate about endurance sport and ultra-endurance events are welcome and would be ideally suited to appreciate the demands of the anticipated exercise protocols in this PhD programme. The studentship holder will be key in identifying and recruiting eligible participants and moving them through some challenging and time intensive protocols. Candidates with aspirations of working professionally within the sports nutrition industry would also be desirable.
In this research study, the candidate will be working closely with the industry partner who will be a key stakeholder in the design, recruitment and execution of the experimental trials taking place.
- Applicants must have a minimum of a 2.1 degree in a relevant subject, such as Sport and Exercise Science, Sport and Exercise Nutrition, Health, Biology, or Environmental Science or a related subject.
- An awarded Masters-level degree in a relevant subject is desirable, but not essential.
- Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their ability in English, typically B2 level English qualification such as IELTS 7.0.
Precision hydration and fuelling – optimising hydration for health and performance during endurance exercise.
The project aims to gain insight into the true physiological range of exercising sweat rates and sodium losses experienced during long duration endurance events. In doing so, we aim to then assess the efficacy of individualized hydration strategies during prolonged exercise to optimize physiological function and performance for athletes and physically active individuals.
Remaining hydrated during long duration mass participation endurance events is crucial to the health and performance of competitors. Athletes rarely drink enough before or during exercise to replace the ongoing fluid and sodium losses they experience, especially in the heat. Current guidance typically repeats the mantra “drink to thirst” but little evidence exists to support whether this approach is optimal for all competitors under all conditions.
Exercise capacity and performance are compromised when the ambient temperature is high. This impaired performance is attributed to large sweat losses that lead to hypohydration, a failure of thermoregulation, and eventually exhaustion. Furthermore, the sheer variation in sweat rate and composition measured in the population drastically exceeds the recommended fluid and sodium intakes we see advised. To combat dehydration, hyperthermia, and impending fatigue and exhaustion, athletes should drink fluids before, during, and after exercise. However, whilst hydration guidance exists, there is little evidence to date that explores the adoption of specific, individual hydration strategies that directly address the needs of each athlete for optimal health and performance. Furthermore, we are at the start of an explosion in wearable technologies that aim to provide individual insights into sweat rates and hydration status, driving the need for more accurate and reliable data in this area.
The project aims to gain insight into the true physiological range of exercising sweat rates and sodium losses experienced during long duration endurance events. In doing so, we aim to then assess the efficacy of individualized hydration strategies during prolonged exercise to optimize physiological function and performance for athletes and physically active individuals. In addition, we aim to then assess whether individual hydration strategies afford an advantage to health and performance when compared to standardised hydration strategies that currently exist. In doing so, we aim to better inform the physically active population with updated strategies and guidance around hydration during exercise.
How to apply
Full details of the application process can be found here: https://www.beds.ac.uk/rgs/apply.
Applications must include submit a 2000-word proposal highlighting the current knowledge around sodium ingestion rates and performance in ultra endurance athletes, particularly in the heat, and where there are gaps in our understanding based on the available literature.
Please submit the completed application form by email to both [Email Address Removed] and [Email Address Removed] quoting the title ‘Precision Hydration and Fuelling’.
- Application form
- Contact details of two referees (at least 1 academic)
- 2000-word proposal
- Covering letting
- Highest qualification certificate/transcript
- ‘Precision Hydration and Fuelling’ in the email subject title