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PhD opportunities: Sports Technology Institue, Loughborough University

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  • PhD opportunities: Sports Technology Institue, Loughborough University

    The Sports Technology Research Group at Loughborough University (sti.lboro.ac.uk) has considerable experience in analysing sports equipment and human performance across a wide range of sports of which golf and sports surfaces are central. The group has extensive laboratory facilities within the Sports Technology Institute, and a strong reputation of working with the leading sporting goods brands in product testing, development and innovation.

    PhD 1 – Assessment of Artificial Turf Performance through Human Testing
    Artificial turf pitches are commonly used for a variety of sports including football, hockey and rugby. Their mechanical properties are designed to suit the requirements of the specific sport and achieved through appropriate selection of carpet design, infill and shockpad materials. For example, in rugby impact protection and traction are key features to be considered, while in hockey a smooth surface that provides consistent ball roll is critical. This project aims to develop a suite of valid and reliable tests that can be performed on artificial turf pitches to evaluate their performance from a player perspective. These are likely to include player perception and biomechanical tests, the latter ranging from basic movements through to sport specific and in-game scenarios. Such tests would represent a powerful tool in the ongoing development of new artificial turf products and in benchmarking performance against natural turf.
    This project requires knowledge and experience in the following areas: experimental sports biomechanics and human perception testing, sport surfaces (or materials) engineering and research methods in studies involving human participants.

    PhD 2 – The Biomechanics of Golf Performance and Integration into Golf Coaching
    The Sports Technology Research Group has a strong history in golf equipment research and, more recently, golf biomechanics research. The group has provided biomechanical support to a leading European Tour golfer including 3D motion analysis systems, force plates, EMG and high speed video to analyse the golfer’s swing and has recently formalised this support service to be available to any elite golfer. However, despite the growing use of biomechanics in golf coaching, much remains to be understood regarding which technique parameters are most fundamental to performance. The aim of this project, therefore, will be to investigate the key biomechanical parameters associated with successful golf performance including the methods / technology by which they can be reliably measured in the biomechanics lab / coaching environment. The methods developed will then feed into the elite golfer support service.
    This project requires knowledge and experience in the following areas: experimental sports biomechanics, golf performance and research methods in studies involving human participants.

    Application requirements: A first class or upper second-class honours bachelor’s degree and optionally a master’s degree with distinction, at least one with a significant biomechanics component. Strong practical laboratory skills, excellent spoken and written communication skills and good computer competency are also necessary.
    To apply: In the first instance applicants should send their CV and covering letter to Dr Steph Forrester (s.forrester@lboro.ac.uk), deadline 6th April 2012. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed either the w/c 9th April or 16th April 2012. Thereafter, the successful applicant for each project will be supported in applying for a Wolfson School scholarship. The successful applicants must be eligible for UK/EU funding, and will receive an annual stipend of £11,500 to £13,590 plus tuition fees.
    Informal enquires: Should be directed to Dr Steph Forrester (s.forrester@lboro.ac.uk).
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