Sport Science: Fully Funded PhD at Swansea University: physical activity in youth with asthma?

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 1 March 2020

Sport Science: Fully Funded PhD Scholarship: Does it matter how physical activity and exercise are accrued in youth with asthma?
This scholarship is funded by University of Agder (Norway) and Swansea University.
Sport and Exercise Sciences
Although evidence remains somewhat equivocal, there is a growing consensus that children and adolescents with asthma have similar levels of habitual physical activity (PA) as their peers. However, whilst the overall volume of PA may be similar, the manner in which this volume is accrued, or indeed needs to be accrued, may differ according to disease status and especially disease severity. Therefore, there is a need to further investigate whether patterns of active and inactive time across the 24-hour cycle differ between youth with asthma and their healthy peers, and how these patterns relate to outcomes such as lung function, both in the short- and long-term. Indeed, there is a paucity of longitudinal data regarding the relationship between movement patterns and asthma in youth. Our earlier work has highlighted that the key barrier to PA in those with asthma is the fear of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. However, there is a need for greater understanding of the ventilatory limitations encapsulated by this umbrella term of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction and how they are manifest during exertion.
The proposed programme of studies is based on combining existing datasets from Wales and Norway. Specifically, the primary objectives that will be addressed using these datasets are:
  • Using novel statistical approaches to determine whether the patterns of PA accrual differ according to asthma status or severity, and whether this relationship is this mediated by age (biological or chronological), sex or cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Investigating the longitudinal relationship between PA and key health outcomes (lung function, cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiometabolic risk).
  • Investigating the mechanisms underpinning ventilatory limitations during exertion in those with asthma.

Project supervisors: Dr Melitta McNarry and Dr Kelly Mackintosh (Swansea) / Thomas Westergren and Bj√łrge Herman Hansen (Agder)
Available resources/facilities: This PhD will primarily influence secondary data analysis with the option of collecting additional complementary data throughout the three years. The candidate will benefit from joint supervision between Swansea and Agder University and the opportunity to visit the University of Agder in Norway during the PhD.
Swansea University
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Swansea University

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

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Candidates should hold a minimum of an upper second class (2:1) honours degree (or its equivalent) in Sports Science or similar relevant science discipline (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Public Health, Data Analysis). An MSc in related subject area is desirable.
The ideal candidate should have:
  • Experience with statistical methods to analyse movement data
  • Knowledge and understanding of asthma
  • Aptitude for coding for data analysis
  • Communication skills, especially with youth
  • Motivation and self-drive
  • Organisational and time management skills

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements (IELTS 6.5 overall with 5.5+ in each component) to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit the website for more information.
Please note that international (non-EU) students are welcome to apply, but a portion of the stipend would have to be used to cover the difference between UK/EU fees and full international fees.  


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This scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees (£4,327 covered for international candidates) and an annual stipend of £12,000 for three years.
There will be additional funds available to attend a conference and potentially to travel to the University of Agder.
Please note that international (non-EU) students are welcome to apply, but a portion of the stipend would have to be used to cover the difference between UK/EU fees and full international fees.  


Please visit our website for more information.

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