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Accelerometer-based gait analysis for quantitative assessment of physical activity outside the laboratory

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  • Full or part time
    Dr G N Askew
    Dr A P Brown
    Prof Huw Summers
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The assessment of rehabilitation status for musculoskeletal injuries, in both sports and clinical arenas can be readily measured using quantitative biomechanical approaches such as multi-camera motion capture. However, such systems are limited to specialist biomechanics laboratories and the approach is unsuitable for assessing large numbers of individuals. Commercially available accelerometers are a cheaper alternative but lack detailed information over short timescales and are unable to describe the quality of the activity. We have developed a customised device and analytical approach that offers the potential of providing meaningful gait assessment of individuals and the potential for quantitative injury assessment, as well as offering the potential of providing meaningful meta-analysis for activity levels of large populations. The main aim of this project is to derive a series of robust measures from accelerometry, validated in the laboratory against 3D movement data, that can give accurate information of an individual’s gait. This will be done in healthy individuals and in a number of patient groups - e.g. amputees and rehabilitating endurance runners. Once validated in the laboratory, we will assess the devices under field-based conditions.

The Faculty of Biological Science is Number 1 in the UK for ‘world-leading’ research in the area of sport and exercise sciences (REF, 2014) and is ranked 3rd in the UK for SES (The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018; The Guardian University Guide 2018). This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a PhD in this area whilst also contributing to the outstanding teaching on our undergraduate courses. Research in our department incorporates both multi- and inter-disciplinary investigations aimed at improving the understanding of the relationship between physical activity, exercise, health and the predisposition to chronic diseases. Our research uses a contemporary systems-integrative perspective to investigate exercise responses, control mechanisms and exercise adherence. Application and translation spans elite athletes, the elderly, and children as well as patients with chronic heart and lung disease, spinal cord injuries, and motor impairments.

We are seeking PhD applicants with the necessary skills and proven enthusiasm to undertake demonstrating with our Sports and Exercise Sciences undergraduate cohorts. The successful candidate will be expected to undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year alongside their PhD research. You should hold (or be in the final year of) a strong degree, equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours, in a relevant discipline and should also have an interest in teaching.

Funding Notes

Project is eligible for funding under the FBS Faculty Studentships scheme. Successful candidates will receive a PhD studentship for 4 years, covering fees at UK/EU level and stipend at research council level (£14,777 for 2018-19).
Candidates should have, or be expecting, a 2.1 or above at undergraduate level in a relevant field. If English is not your first language, you will also be required to meet our language entry requirements. The PhD is to start in Oct 2018.
Please apply online here https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon Include project title and supervisor name, and upload a CV and transcripts.


Clark, C., Barnes, C., Swindell, N., Holton, M., Bingham, D., Collings, P., Barber, S., Summers, H., Mackintosh, K. & Stratton, G. (2017). Profiling movement and gait quality characteristics in pre-school children. Journal of Motor Behavior, 1-9.
Clark, C., Barnes, C., Summers, H., Mackintosh, K. & Stratton, G. (2017). Profiling movement quality characteristics of children (9-11y) during recess. European Journal of Human Movement 39, 143-160.
Clark, C., Barnes, C., Holton, M., Summers, H and Stratton, G. (2016). Profiling movement quality and gait characteristics according to body mass index in children (9-11y). Human Movement Science 49, 291-300.
Holt, N.C., Roberts, T.J. and Askew, G.N. The energetic benefits of tendon springs in running: is the reduction of muscle work important? J. Exp. Biol. 217, 4365-4371. 2014.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 60.90

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

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