The South East Technological University (Carlow) is offering a funded PhD position titled “Fitness levels of Irish children and adolescents with disabilities” and supervised by Dr. Sharon Kinsella (SETU, Carlow, Ireland), Dr. Martina Gooney (SETU, Waterford, Ireland), Assoc. Prof Sean Healy (University of Limerick, Ireland) and Dr. Kwok Ng (University of Turku, Finland).

Fitness is an important topic for those with disabilities. Poor fitness is a risk factor for many diseases and can result in loss of independence and poor quality of life. In Ireland, there is a lack of data on the fitness levels of Irish children and adolescents with disabilities (CAWD). Ireland is not the only country to have a lack of data for fitness for CAWD as within the 2023 ‘Global Matrix of Para Report Cards on Physical Activity (PA) of CAWD’ the overall grade was inconclusive. One of the main factors noted for this grade was a lack of valid and reliable measures of fitness for CAWD.

This project will develop a reliable and valid method to assess fitness levels in all subgroups of CAWD. The fitness levels will be compared to able-bodied youth and will also be analysis to establish if any subgroups of CAWD may have greater disparities in fitness. The results of the project will allow for more targeted PA interventions to be created. The outcomes from this project will be invaluable to many stakeholders, including CAWD and their carers’, disability and early intervention teams, the education community, Active Disability Ireland, and Sports Ireland.

Knowledge & Experience

Applicants should have a good primary degree (First or 2.1 Honours) or M.Sc. in an appropriate discipline (Health, physical education, adapted physical activity, sport-related science degree). The successful candidate should be highly self-motivated and have experience working with children and adolescents, ideally with disabilities. The applicant will require excellent communication skills.

Skills & Competencies


Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate on application that they meet SETU’s English language requirements and provide all necessary documentation. See Page 7 of the Code of Practice

To be shortlisted for an interview, you must meet the SETU English speaking requirements so please provide evidence in your application.

· Excellent communication skills (written and verbal).

· Comprehensive analytical and problem-solving skills.

· Proficient computer skills including Microsoft Office, Excel, Access, Word, and PowerPoint.

· Highly motivated and self-directed with good time and project management skills.

· Be willing to travel for research purposes.


· Excellent written and verbal communication skills

· An understanding of statistical analysis of data and use of referencing software

· Ability to work both as a team member and as an independent researcher

· Experience collecting and managing large data sets

Further information

For any informal queries, please contact Dr. Sharon Kinsella on email

For queries relating to the application and admission process, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office or telephone +353 (0)59 9175203


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