The Midlands Graduate School is an accredited Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). One of 15 such partnerships in the UK, the Midlands Graduate School is a collaboration between the Universities of Warwick, Birmingham, Nottingham, Aston Leicester, Loughborough, De Montfort, and Nottingham Trent.

Loughborough University as part of Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with the collaborative partner Young Epilepsy to commence in October 2024.

Physical activity is essential to maintain positive physical and mental health and prevent chronic disease. Children and young people should engage in at least an average of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per day. Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological condition of childhood and is associated with significant stigma, lower quality of life, increased mental health problems, and lack of independence. Physical activity is often restricted among children with epilepsy because of concerns about seizures and fatigue, and lack of understanding of the benefits and risks associated with participation in physical activities and being physically active.

Partnerships between children with epilepsy and their families, school staff, and physical activity infrastructure (e.g., sports clubs), and their supporting epilepsy team (e.g., paediatricians) are an ideal place to identify key barriers and facilitators for physical activity promotion and design and initiate feasible and acceptable intervention strategies that are contextually relevant, and accessible. Despite this being a promising approach, these key partnerships have not been utilised to support children with epilepsy to lead active lives.

In collaboration with Young Epilepsy, the successful candidate will conduct a series of studies to address these gaps and enhance the understanding of feasible ways to increase physical activity among children with epilepsy. Studies could include co-designing strategies to increase physical activity among children with epilepsy and testing the implementation of these strategies into self-management care plans through an intervention study. The successful candidate will be supervised by an experienced and interdisciplinary supervisory team from the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences at Loughborough University and Young Epilepsy, the operating name of The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy Charitable Trust.

Candidates should have a degree in psychology, sports-science or a related subject, and have a strong interest in physical activity and intervention development. Candidates without a social science Masters degree will be eligible for a 1+3.5 award, the first year of which consists of a Masters in Social Science Research.

Application deadline: 26th February

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