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  Supporting the people behind the moment – Using mixed methods to develop a Mental Health in Equine Sport Education Programme( Ref: WD_2023_67_WSCH)

   Research Support Unit

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  Dr Ciara Losty, Dr Sarah Jane Cullen, Dr Arthur Dunne  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Post summary

Trainers and stable staff are considered the backbone of horse racing, yet they appear to be facing a precarious future. Identifying and implementing specific bespoke interventions for trainers and stable staff is a challenge until the research and understanding around the varying areas of mental health and well-being within the racing industry are better understood. The overarching aim of this research is to investigate the mental health, well-being and coping strategies amongst trainers and stable staff within the Irish racing industry to allow the development of a Mental Health in Equine Sport education programme. A survey will be distributed to all trainers and stable staff to investigate their current lifestyle and occupational behaviours, the prevalence of common mental health disorders and well-being and associated risk factors. Using a qualitative approach, semi-structured interviews will be conducted to further explore unique stressors and coping strategies used. These findings will all be interpreted to develop, implement, and evaluate a pilot Mental Health in Equine Sport education programme. This study will provide a framework to offer a safe and supportive environment for trainers and stable staff within Irish horse racing, improving employment standards, enhancing welfare support services, ensuring career pathways and education programmes are available.

Person specification



·       Essential. Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Psychology or Sport and Exercise Science OR a related discipline

·       OR

·       Hold a taught MSc degree in one of the above disciplines


·       Work or research experience within National Governing Bodies of Sport

·       Interest in the Horse Racing Industry

·       Experience undertaking or delivering sport psychology or mental health workshops

·       Statistical analysis using appropriate software

·       Conduct and analysis of qualitative interviews

Knowledge & Experience


Very strong interpersonal skills

Very high level of academic writing

Motivational skills

Personal organisational skills

Ability to work as part of a larger team

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see WIT’s English Language Requirements for details.


·       Good verbal communication skills        

Skills & Competencies


·       Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate on application that they meet SETU’s English language requirements and provide all necessary documentation. See Page 7 of the Code of Practice. In order to be shortlisted for interview, you must meet the SETU English speaking requirements so please provide evidence in your application.

Psychology (31) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

Supervisor(s)Dr Cíara Losty (SETU),Dr Sarah Jane Cullen (DCU)and Dr Arthur Dunne ( SETU)
Department /School/Faculty:Department of Sport and Exercise, School of Health Science
Duration 4 Years( 48 months )
Status: Full-time
Funding information:SETU Co-Fund Scholarship Programme
Value of the scholarship per year for four years
€ 18,500 per year Stipend
€ 3000 per year research expenses
PG tuition fees are covered for 4 Years under this scholarship


Further information
For any informal queries, please contact Dr Cíara Losty on email
For queries relating to the application and admission process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office via email or telephone +353 (0)51 302883.
For queries relating to the funding programme, please email University Website
Application procedure
Download the Research Postgraduate Application Form from here and return the completed application to quoting advert reference code from the above table WD_2023_67_WSCH in the email subject line.
Please note that paper submissions will not be accepted.