Graduate Teaching Assistant

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is delighted to be able to offer two Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarships for new PhD students starting in the academic year 2018/19.

Overview

  • The scholarships cover full home/EU fees plus a maintenance grant and a salary which will total an amount equivalent to that offered by the Research Councils for 2018

  • The scholarships will be offered for one year in the first instance, renewable for a maximum of three years, subject to satisfactory academic performance

  • The scholarships are administered under the Graduate Teaching Assistantship Scheme. Find further details and terms and conditions here

  • Recipients of these scholarships will be expected to undertake tasks such as demonstrating, leading seminars, supervision, mentoring/tutoring, highly moderated marking, answering student enquiries on behalf of the module leader, and escalating these to the module leader, where necessary

  • These scholarships are open to UK, EU and overseas fee-paying students. Please note that overseas students must have the appropriate documentation to evidence eligibility to work in the UK  

Criteria

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Scholarships will be awarded to outstanding applicants able to demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, excellent communication skills, and the potential to make a strong contribution to their chosen field of research. 

Candidates must: 

  • hold a good honours degree (First or 2.1) or a Master’s degree at Merit or Distinction in a relevant subject or equivalent
  • have a high-quality research proposal
  • have excellent communication skills, both written and oral, suited to undergraduate teaching.

The scholarships are only open to new doctoral students, studying in the following fields:

Asthma medication and athletic performance

Supervisor: Dr John Dickinson

Project summary: Asthma is the most common chronic disease elite athletes report. Athletes with asthma-related conditions receive preventative and emergency therapy in the form of inhaled glucocorticoids and inhaled β2-Agonists. Despite the World Anti-Doping Agency's strict regulations on how athletes use asthma therapy, there remains the question as to whether it may have the potential to improve athletic performance over and above simply protecting airway health. We welcome applications to investigate the potential ergogenic action of β2-Agonist and glucocorticoid therapy on recovery, strength, power and endurance performance.   

Contact details: j.w.dickinson@kent.ac.uk

Dysfunctional breathing patterns in athletes

Supervisor: Dr John Dickinson

Project summary: Exercise respiratory symptoms are the most frequently reported in athletic populations. Although these symptoms may be due to disease (eg asthma-related conditions), they may also be due to other conditions such as, an exercise- induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO) and dysfunctional breathing (DB). DB is especially difficult to objectively diagnose and athletes often receive sub-optimal diagnosis and therapy. We invite applications to develop diagnostic assessments for DB, investigate the relationship between chest and abdomen wall movements and respiratory muscle power. We would also like to develop methods and software that can coach individuals to optimise breathing during exercise in both clinical and high-performance settings.

Contact details: j.w.dickinson@kent.ac.uk

Asthma, athletes and performance

Supervisor: Dr John Dickinson

Project summary: Asthma-related conditions are the most common chronic conditions reported in athletic populations. Despite established diagnosis and treatment pathways, little is known about how asthma-related conditions may affect performance. Furthermore, we know that screening athletes results in detection of athletes with asthma-related conditions and no previous history. Little is known about how effective therapy impacts exercise performance in these athletes. We invite applications to investigate the impact of asthma-related conditions on performance.

Contact details: j.w.dickinson@kent.ac.uk

An examination of the social legacies of the Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024 Olympic or Paralympic legacies

Supervisor: Dr. Sakis Pappous

Project summary: The Olympic Games and Paralympic Games have the potential to leave a wide of range of legacies within a host city. Olympic legacies are usually categorised as tangible and intangible and as social, sporting, environmental, urban and economic. This is an open call for proposals aiming to focus on a social or sporting legacy of either the Tokyo 2020 or Paris 2024 Olympic or Paralympic Games. Candidates are invited to examine the bids of one of the two events and design a study which will propose an evaluation of one of the social or sporting legacies of the organisers.

Contact details: a.pappous@kent.ac.uk

Integration of refugees through sport

Supervisor: Dr. Sakis Pappous

Project summary: Europe is involved in a major refugee crisis. More than a million asylum seekers and migrants reached the European Union by sea and land in 2015. The benefits of sport in the inclusion of refugees (IRTS) are well known. Nevertheless, different barriers are raised in the inclusion process of the refugees through sport.  This is a call for proposals aimed at studying how sport at a grass roots level can be employed in the delivery of actions and practices that can help overcome the barriers to the societal integration of refugees in the host countries. 

Contact details: a.pappous@kent.ac.uk

The impact of pain on exercise

Supervisor: Lex Mauger

Project summary: This studentship will extend the supervisor’s current work on the use of intramuscular hypertonic saline injections to explore the impact of tonic muscle pain on exercise. The project may include the use of techniques such as TMS and peripheral stimulation to assess the neuromuscular impact of pain, EEG to identify the neural response to pain during exercise, and tasks to assess the impact of pain on decision-making, cognition and introspection during exercise. Students with a background in exercise science, neuroscience and psychology are particularly encouraged to apply for this studentship.

Contact details: l.mauger@kent.ac.uk

Functional movement biomarkers (Wearable technologies & eHealth)

Supervisor: Dr. Karen Hambly

Project summary: Functional movement biomarkers provide the opportunity to measure what people do in real life. Existing clinic/lab-based measures are often not functional, not cost-effective for clinical settings and do not empower patients to manage their health. Functional movement biomarkers need to be developed that have a high clinical utility providing relevant and reliable measures with an acceptable accuracy for the detection of clinically important differences of function in active adults. Collaborations with research institutions and industry are already in place and the project area is a strong fit with Faculty research strategy, the health agenda at Kent and NHS policy.

Contact details: k.hambly@kent.ac.uk

Biomechanics of human grasping: evolution and applications

Supervisor: Dr. Samantha Winter

Project summary: This project is the subject of an ongoing collaboration with Professor Tracy Kivell of the School of Anthropology and Conservation at the University of Kent. The European Research Council funded GRASP project investigated how the earliest fossil humans may have used their hands in tree climbing and stone tool use by comparing fossil, ape and human bone morphology, studying grasping mechanics in apes and humans and modelling bone loading. This project would extend earlier work by examining the implications of hand evolution for childhood development or sporting performance that involves grasping, climbing or suspension.

Contact details: s.l.winter@kent.ac.uk

Neuromuscular modelling of skeletal muscle

Supervisor: Dr. Samantha Winter

Project summary: A number of established mathematical models of skeletal muscle have been used to investigate and explain varied processes that affect muscle force control. These models typically include features that replicate brain, reflex and other neural processes, as well as physiological and biochemical processes occurring at the junction between neurones and the muscle, and within the muscle fibres. These powerful models can provide fundamental insight into fatigue, ageing, pathology and movement control. These projects could include laboratory data collection using different neural and muscle measures on a variety of populations for validation or further insight.

Contact details: s.l.Winter@kent.ac.uk 

Psychobiology of self-regulation during endurance exercise

Supervisor: Professor Sam Marcora

Project summary: This PhD project will employ an interdisciplinary approach integrating psychology and physiology to investigate self-regulation during endurance exercise. This includes the self-regulation of behaviour (pacing) during endurance competitions, as well as the self-regulation of thoughts and emotions during endurance competitions and training.

Contact details: s.m.marcora@kent.ac.uk 

Psychobiology of physical activity behaviour

Supervisor: Professor Sam Marcora

Project summary: This PhD project will employ a novel effort-based decision-making paradigm to test the effects of psychological and/or pharmacological interventions to reduce perceived effort and facilitate physical activity behaviour. The successful candidate will benefit from interdisciplinary training, integrating psychology and physiology to investigate the determinants of physical activity behaviour.

Contact details: s.m.marcora@kent.ac.uk 

How to apply 

All completed applications received by 5pm (UK time) on 4th February 2018 will be considered for all funding opportunities for which they are eligible. Therefore, separate applications are not required. 

You need to submit:

  1. A KentVision application for a PhD place in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent including:
    • The name of the proposed supervisor (this should be agreed with the relevant staff member prior to submission)
    • A transcript of degree undergraduate and postgraduate marks to date and certificate, if completed
    • The names and email addresses of two academic referees. References must also be received by 5pm (UK time) on 4th February 2018. Please leave a suitable amount of time for your referees to respond to the reference request, which is sent automatically upon submission of the PhD application in KentVision. If an alternative submission method is needed, referees can send their letter of recommendation directly to the SSES Postgraduate Co-ordinator r.a.c.aladeselu@kent.ac.uk via their professional email account 
    • A current CV.


  2. A completed Application form for PhD Scholarships (DOCX 189KB).
    This document requires input from your supervisor statement so please leave sufficient time for this before the deadline. For guidance on how to complete this form, please see the School's PhD selection criteria document (PDF 102KB). This form can either be uploaded to the KentVision PhD application or sent directly to the SSES Postgraduate Co-ordinator r.a.c.aladeselu@kent.ac.uk.

Please note that the PhD application form in KentVision includes fields and word count guidelines that are not specific to consideration for this competition so please ensure that you follow the procedures listed above. In fields such as 'Reasons for study' and 'Research proposal' you are welcome to write 'See Application form for PhD Scholarships' etc.

The shortlisting process will start from 5th February and interviews will be held in the week commencing Monday 26th February.

Unfortunately, we are unable to cover travel costs but will arrange telephone/Skype interviews where appropriate. Shortlisted candidates will be required to present their proposal using visual aids (ie Powerpoint presentation slides) at interview.