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Using virtual reality technology to promote physical activity and improve quality of life in palliative care.

Project Description

Applications are invited for a PhD project based in the School of Biomedical Sciences to start in October 2019.
Studies have shown that physical activity can improve the physiological, psychological, and social functioning of patients with incurable,
progressive disease. However, the majority of patients who are living with a life-limiting condition are currently not sufficiently active to reap these health benefits. A key challenge remains in finding novel physical activity interventions that can accommodate patients who are living with the complications of a life-limiting conditions. Limited mobility, pain, and fear of movement adversely impact on patient’s ability to engage in activities of daily living and result in inactivity and reduced quality of life.

This project aims to explore the impact of a virtual reality intervention on hospice patients’ levels of PA, symptom distress, and quality of life. This research will include a rigorous mixed method (qualitative and quantitative) research methodology. We are therefore seeking a diligent student with experience in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis techniques. This studentship is an exciting opportunity to contribute to knowledge at the intersection of exercise psychology and palliative care research while working towards a rewarding research goal.

Funding Notes

We are seeking PhD applicants with the skills and enthusiasm to undertake demonstrating with our Sports and Exercise Sciences undergraduate cohorts. The successful candidate will undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year alongside their PhD research. You should hold (or be expecting) at least a UK upper second class honours, in a relevant discipline and should also have an interest in teaching.
The studentship is open to UK or EU candidates and will provide fees at UK/EU level plus a stipend of £14,777 for 4 years (subject to progress).


Burke, S., McDowall, M., Belchamber, C., & Utley, A. Physical activity in hospice care: A social ecological perspective to inform
policy and practice. Social Sciences and Medicine, submitted for publication.

Burke, S., Wurz, A., Bradshaw, A., Saunders, S., West, M.A., Brunet, J (2017). Physical activity and quality of life in cancer
survivors: A meta-synthesis of qualitative research. Cancers, 9(5).

Brunet J., Burke S., Grocott M.P.W., West M.A., & Jack S. (2017). The effects of exercise on pain, fatigue, insomnia, and
health perceptions in patients with operable advanced stage rectal cancer prior to surgery: a pilot trial. BMC Cancer, 17, 153.

Ziegler LE, Craigs CL, West RM, Carder P, Hurlow A, Millares- Martin P, Hall G, Bennett MI. 2018. Is palliative care support
associated with better quality end-of-life care indicators for patients with advanced cancer? A retrospective cohort study. BMJ
Open. 8(1)

How good is research at University of Leeds in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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