University of Portsmouth Featured PhD Programmes
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Sleeping to boost walking recovery after stroke: SleepWalk, a PhD self-funded studentship (PomeroyVU19SF)

Faculty of Medicine and Health Science

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Prof Valerie Pomeroy , Dr A Lazar No more applications being accepted Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Stroke survivors are disappointed by the level of walking ability they regain after stroke. They have called for better treatments as a research priority. Breaking through the ceiling of walking recovery is promised by production of new knowledge of the relationship between sleep quality and the timing of sleep in relation to physical training of walking. This PhD studentship will be one of the first studies to: investigate how sleep characteristics impact on walking recovery after stroke, develop an evidenced-based sleep intervention (SleepWalk) for use in clinical rehabilitation, and test the feasibility of SleepWalk in routine clinical practice. The student will undertake three inter-related studies involving different methodologies: a systematic review; co-production of SleepWalk in partnership with clinical therapists, stroke survivors and their informal carers; and a randomised feasibility trial in preparation for a subsequent definitive clinical efficacy trial.

The supervisors, Professor Valerie Pomeroy and Dr Alpar Lazar, are international experts in stroke rehabilitation and sleep respectively. The student will be immersed into the multi-disciplinary environment of the School of Health Sciences in the University of East Anglia. Expertise available includes: sleep science; rehabilitation science; neurophysiology, physiotherapy, movement science, medical statistics, health economics, and early phase evaluation of complex interventions. The immediate environment also includes state-of-the-art laboratories for Movement Analysis and Sleep. The research environment into which the student will be immersed also includes industrial collaborations for evaluation of novel rehabilitation technologies.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

This is a PhD project.

The start date of the project is 1 October 2020.

The mode of study is full-time.The studentship length is 3 years with a 1-year registration period.

Entry requirements:

Candidates should have at least an upper-second-class first degree or a Masters degree in an area relevant to this PhD studentship: SleepWalk. This includes, but is not exclusive to: neuroscience, movement science, sleep science, physiotherapy and occupational therapy. Some participants in the studies of this PhD studentship will be NHS patients. Therefore, the student will require CRB clearance. Registration with a clinical professional body is not essential.

Please note: Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee may also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


(i) Pomeroy VM, Rowe P, Clark A, Walker A, Kerr A, Chandler E, Barber M, Baron J-C. A randomized controlled evaluation of the efficacy of an ankle-foot cast on walking recovery early after stroke: SWIFT Cast trial. Neurorehabilitation and neural repair 2016;30:40-48.

(ii) Gudberg C, Johansen-Berg H. Sleep and motor learning: implications for physical rehabilitation after stroke. Front Neurol. 2015 Nov 24;6:241.

(iii) Lazar AS, Lazar ZI, Dijk DJ. Circadian regulation of slow waves in human sleep: topographical asapects. Neuroimage. 2015; 116: 123-34.

(iv) Santhi N, Lazar AS, McCabe PJ, Lo JC, Groeger JA, Dijk DJ. Sec differences in the circadian regulation of sleep and waking cognition in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016; 113: E2730-9.

(v) Siengsukon C, Boyd L. Sleep enhances off-line spatial and temporal motor learning after stroke. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 2009; 29:327-335.

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