University of Bath

PhD studentship: Injury epidemiology and injury prevention in schools rugby

Apply for a full-time studentship to work in our Department for Health. You'll research how the risk of injury to youth rugby players might be reduced.

A flag with the text 'Rugby England' with some rugby players training in the background
The project has been commissioned by the Rugby Football Union

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) oversees rugby in England and is constantly trying to understand the number and pattern of injuries to inform injury prevention strategies.

In recent years, the University of Bath has worked with the RFU to develop large scale programmes of injury surveillance at multiple levels of the game. This has included the development of strategies to reduce injuries, such as an injury prevention exercise programme (Activate). Minimising the impact of injury will have a major impact on individuals and teams in terms of enjoyment and success as well as an impact in terms of the public health burden of sports injuries.

The research project

The aim of the project is to systematically examine the incidence, nature and severity of rugby injuries sustained in youth rugby in England and to identify ways in which the risk of injury to rugby players might be reduced.

The project will involve:

  • prospective injury epidemiology to identify overall injury risk and specific injury patterns in a sample of independent schools and schools participating in the All Schools programme
  • examining the effectiveness of the RFU’s Activate injury prevention exercise programme
  • exploring predictors of injury prevention strategy uptake in youth rugby

If successful, you will conduct your research under the supervision of Dr Carly McKay, Professor Keith Stokes and Dr Sean Williams.

You will be based at the University of Bath, but there will be a requirement to travel to schools around England as part of the project. You will work closely with other researchers and PhD students on similar projects in rugby and in other sports.

Funding requirements

To be considered for this funding you should:

We are particularly interested to hear from those with a background in sport or health psychology.

The award

If successful, you will be supported for four years. This includes:

  • a £14,553 (2017/8 rate) per year stipend
  • Home/EU tuition fees
  • an annual Training Support Grant

Support for travel and accommodation when visiting schools and clubs will be provided.

The studentship is funded by the RFU.

How to apply

You should apply online to study for a full-time PhD in Health. You must quote the project title (Injury epidemiology and injury prevention in schools rugby) on your application.

You should also provide a brief outline of your initial thoughts on the area of research as part of your online application. This should be no more than 500 words.

Please note that the application form will refer to a formal proposal. As this studentship is to work on a specific project, there is no need to write a formal proposal.

See guidance on how to make an application


The closing date for the receipt of applications is 12.00 noon (GMT), Tuesday 7 November 2017.

Interviews will be held at the University of Bath on Tuesday 14 November 2017.

You will be expected to commence your studies on Monday 22 January 2018.

Informal enquiries

You can contact Dr Carly McKay and Professor Keith Stokes.