PhD Studentship

The ukactive Research Institute working in collaboration with Coventry University has hired three PhD candidates to join a research unit focused on collaboration with the wider physical activity sector and delivering real world impact. The three PhD studentships are fully funded, with the successful students having opportunity to complete their studies whilst engaging with industry partners, national policy makers, and wider academic networks. 

There are three areas of study are outlined below:

1. Exercise Referral

To tackle the inactivity pandemic, the activity sector in the UK has been called upon to design and implement programmes with a focus on engaging inactive people, provide inclusive services aimed at reducing health inequalities, and work to refine physical activity programmes, interventions and services.

We will investigate consumer adoption and retention from a variety of angles, including economic, behavioural and psychological. The aim will be to provide an explanation of the factors affecting consumer adoption and retention and ultimately trial data informed strategies aimed at delivering effective behaviour change. Previous research has commonly used unrelated or indirect factors such as trust and commitment, price terms, and loyalty terms. Such studies lack a clear theoretical background and a solid empirical proof to support their findings of consumer operant retention behaviour.     

Position now closed. 

2. Physical Activity Adoption and Retention

This project aims to build an evidence base for the use the of exercise and physical activity programmes in the improvement of quality of life, prevention, and management of disease. This is achieved by engaging with the physical activity sector to encourage best practice in data capture, management, and dissemination. 

The student will seek to understand the impact of exercise on referral in the UK, the determinants of its success or failure to deliver clinically relevant outcomes, and develop recommendations for best practice that can be shared directly with operators and wider industry stakeholders.

Position now closed. 

3. Children’s Fitness Testing 

Following on from Generation inactive project is to test the feasibility of delivering cardiorespiratory fitness testing in a primary school environment, gain a deeper understanding of children’s physical activity habits, and inform public policy as a result.

This programme of study will inform parents, teachers, Ofsted and Public Health England in relation to the fitness levels of children and the way in which it can be improved / monitored, and consequently providing longer term benefits to the child. Further, data will act as a benchmark for further investigatory work.      

Together ukactive and Coventry University will be able to use its unique position as the hub for the physical activity sector, to disseminate data and key learnings to practitioners, operators, policymakers, local government, and health agencies. 

Position now closed. 

If you would like any further information please contact the research team on

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