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Sport and Exercise Sciences VC Research Scholarships

The Vice Chancellor's Research Scholarships offer a combined salary and maintenance grant equalling the full UK Research Council Rate of £15,009 (2019/20 rate) plus tuition fees at the Home/EU rate. 

The School of Sport & Exercise Sciences is offering two Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) starting in September 2019. Students engaged as Graduate Teaching Assistants hold a unique position in the University; they are both registered PhD students in receipt of a scholarship award and employees of the University. The School has an active research culture to which our well-established doctoral research programme makes a vital contribution.

The School has two successful research groups, and benefits from working in an excellent research environment, with a large community of postgraduate research students. We are seeking high-quality prospective doctoral students who will contribute to research in one of the areas listed below. We recommend that you discuss your proposal with the potential supervisor before submission.

Self-regulation of endurance performance - Project Supervisor: Dr Chris Fullerton
We are conducting a research programme on the psychophysiological underpinnings of successful self-regulation in endurance performance. This includes using techniques such EEG-neurofeedback to enhance self-regulation of behaviour (i.e., pacing) during endurance competitions, as well as the self-regulation of thoughts and emotions during endurance competitions and training. Recent and current studies conducted by the supervisory team examine: how self- efficacy determines performance capacity; how exercise intensity and duration contribute to acute endurance performance capacity; how novel methods, such as using a pacesetter, can enhance performance; and how exercise-induced pain limits performance.
The ideal candidate will have an interest in the subject area of self-regulation and it’s application to whole-body endurance performance, and will have a background in Psychophysiology/Sport and Exercise Science. 
More specific details about the project can be obtained by e-mailing Dr. Chris Fullerton at C.Fullerton@kent.ac.uk.

The effect of exercise on the fascial tissues of sedentary people with recurrent lower back pain - Project supervisor: Kyra De Coninck
Lower back pain is a well-known symptom. Whilst most episodes are short-lasting, recurrent lower back pain is common and has a considerable impact on people’s quality of life. The benefits of exercise and its effects on muscles in lower back pain are well established. NICE guidelines for back pain management include exercise and physical activity (Bernstein et al., 2017). Evidence is emerging about the role of thoracolumbar fascia in lower back pain, as well as the effect of exercise on fascial tissues. The primary aim of this PhD thesis is to use diagnostic ultrasound to evaluate the effect of different types of acute exercise and longer-term training (e.g. multi-modal generic vs spinal control training) on the shear movement of the thoracolumbar fascial layers in people with lower back pain. 
The ideal candidate will have a degree in a related musculoskeletal health profession (e.g. physiotherapy, sports rehabilitation, sports therapy, exercise therapy, sports science, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, with a classification of at least 2.1 or equivalent) and a keen interest in exercise and health, sport rehabilitation, exercise as medicine, and/or chronic pain. Experience in group exercise is beneficial. Diagnostic ultrasound training will be provided. Whilst there will be strong leadership from the supervisory team, working on your own initiative is a required skill. 
More specific details about the project can be obtained by e-mailing Kyra De Coninck at K.De-Coninck@kent.ac.uk.

Completed applications received by the deadline will be considered for all funding opportunities for which they are eligible, separate applications are not required. 


  • Candidates must hold a good Honours degree (First or 2:1) or a Master's degree (merit/distinction or equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g., Sport and Exercise Science, Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Exercise Physiology or a related discipline)
  • The Scholarship is open to all new postgraduate research applicants, applying for September 2019 entry
  • Current Kent research students are not eligible for this scholarship
  • UK, EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply.  Please note that overseas students must have the appropriate documentation to evidence eligibility to work in the UK.  Further information can be found at: https://www.kent.ac.uk/human-resources/immigration/right-to-work/acceptable-documents.html

How to apply

Applications to the University of Kent should be completed on-line via https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/154/sport-and-exercise-science-and-sports-therapy.  Please submit a covering letter, CV & Certificates with a research proposal along with the application.  


The 2019/20 deadline for this scholarship has now passed.  Details for 2020/21 will be published here when available. 

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