The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 14 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the University of Warwick, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University and the University of Nottingham. The University of Birmingham as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborative partner Sswitch to commence in October 2022.
Sport-related concussion is associated with “brain fog” and academic under-performance. Since the extent of any cognitive deficits is poorly characterised, the severity of the problem is unknown. Moreover, decisions about when student athletes should “return-to-learn” and “return-to-play” can be ad hoc rather than evidence-based. Importantly, the impact of sport-related concussion on student athletes’ ability to study have been largely ignored. Undoubtedly, many student athletes could benefit from institutional help during their post-concussion convalescence. In sum, sport-related concussion among university student athletes is a poorly understood problem calling out for research to provide evidence to inform policy and practice.
This project seeks to address a number of research questions, including:
1. What are the effects of sport-related concussion on cognitive function in university student athletes?
2. What are the effects of sport-related concussion on wellbeing and academic studies?
3. Can cognitive training prevent concussion?
4. Can cognitive training mitigate effects of concussion on cognitive function?
The project will recruit a large cohort of student athletes who will complete the “Student Athlete Concussion Test Battery” of cognitive tests on their iPhone/iPad each month. The tests for the battery will be selected from the SOMA-NPT library of >70 cognitive tests. SOMA-NPT is an app created by our commercial partner, SSWITCH (https://sswitch.ch/). The app will also incorporate additional materials (e.g., symptom diary, questionnaires). The tests to be included in the battery will assess executive function (memory updating, response inhibition, task switching) as well as motor coordination, decision making, and vigilance. Participants will also be asked to complete rating scales to assess concussion symptoms (e.g., fatigue) and activities (e.g., training history, sleep). The project will also develop and evaluate the effects of a mental+physical training program on sports-related concussion.
To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Collaborative Studentship application form available online here. Please upload an anonymised CV and cover letter as part of the online application process. Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide transcripts and two references. Applicants must have a degree in Sport Science and/or Psychology.
Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP
Our ESRC studentships cover fees at the home rate, a maintenance stipend, and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available to both home and international applicants. For further details, visit: www.mgsdtp.ac.uk/studentships/eligibility/.
Informal enquiries about the research or School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences prior to application can be directed to [Email Address Removed]