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Bath 4

Bath Rugby sponsored Research Studentship in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University

Enhancing the Use of Data in Professional Rugby Union via Advanced Data Science Techniques - fully funded PhD by Bath Rugby and Leeds Beckett University

The PhD studentship will have an enhanced bursary of £23,009 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU/International Fees paid initially for a period of four years.

Leeds Beckett University and Bath Rugby are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual to join the newly established research team within the Performance Department at Bath Rugby.

Founded in 1865, Bath Rugby is one of the oldest clubs in existence, and they have a rich history in both the English and European game. The club has a clear vision regarding its ambition to establish itself as a high performing organisation both on and off the field and a consistently successful team at the highest level of the game in both England and Europe. Bath Rugby are committed to the development of their people and their infrastructure to underpin this future success, and the function of research and applied science in shaping the direction of the Performance Department is an area of growth and investment.

The quality of Carnegie School of Sport research is evident in the outstanding results achieved in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, where we ranked 2nd nationally when accounting for both research quality and the number of contributing staff (Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism). The Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure delivers international research excellence through its University Research Centres. The Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) centre undertakes high quality applied research with international and national governing bodies, and a range of professional sports teams, supporting 25 PhD students and a range of postdoctoral research staff.

The research department at Bath Rugby has been established to innovate and drive current and future practices with a high level of scientific rigour. This is a unique opportunity for an enthusiastic and high-achieving individual looking to undertake a PhD in a vibrant research and professional sporting environment, alongside a number of other PhD students.


The PhD Project is

Plus Icon Enhancing the Use of Data in Professional Rugby Union via Advanced Data Science Techniques

With the ever-growing collection of data in professional sport, appropriate collection, management and analysis strategies are paramount to ensure that correct inferences are made (Casals and Finch, 2017). This is particularly important for big data sets of repeated measures that require sophisticated statistical modelling, the interpretation of responses to an intervention, and assessing individual changes in measures of training load and fatigue, and performance metrics (Robertson et al., 2017, Sweeting et al., 2017, Voisin et al., 2019). Furthermore, the presentation of such data is important to accurately disseminate findings to performance staff and athletes (Perin et al., 2018, Thornton et al., 2019). Bath Rugby and Leeds Beckett are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual with a passion for data science, and a desire to advance the area of data management and interpretation in professional sport. The candidate will have a strong grounding in model building, statistical inference and research methods, data visualization, and a desire to apply this knowledge in applied practice. Previous experience working in sport is not required.

The purpose of this PhD is to explore the use of different data collection, management and analysis methods within a professional rugby union club, in order to improve the rigor of data collection, management and interpretation. Furthermore, the PhD will investigate the effect of data presentation methods on support staff and player interpretation and engagement. The PhD student will use the findings from their research to guide performance staff, strategically embedding these methods in practice within the constraints of the day-day schedules, to ensure that scientific rigor is upheld and best practice applied.

The successful candidate will join the research department at Bath Rugby which consists of a number of practitioners and PhD students working in the areas of sports science and performance. They will be involved in the management, analysis and presentation of data collected at the club, although the specific day-to-day activities will depend on the successful candidate’s strengths and areas of interest. Candidates should be innovative, creative and ambitious, while also being well organised and highly motived. Positions will require some flexibility in working hours in line the Bath Rugby schedule, although the PhD programme of research and candidate’s academic development will remain a priority. The start date for the PhD is 1st October, although there is opportunity to start beforehand employed as a research assistant.

CASALS, M. & FINCH, C. F. 2017. Sports Biostatistician: a critical member of all sports science and medicine teams for injury prevention. Inj Prev, 23, 423-427.

PERIN, C., VUILLEMOT, R., STOLPER, C. D., STASKO, J. T., WOOD, J. & CARPENDALE, S. 2018. State of the Art of Sports Data Visualization. Computer Graphics Forum, 37, 663-686.

ROBERTSON, S., BARTLETT, J. D. & GASTIN, P. B. 2017. Red, Amber, or Green? Athlete Monitoring in Team Sport: The Need for Decision-Support Systems. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 12, S273-s279.

SWEETING, A. J., AUGHEY, R. J., CORMACK, S. J. & MORGAN, S. 2017. Discovering frequently recurring movement sequences in team-sport athlete spatiotemporal data. J Sports Sci, 35, 2439-2445.

THORNTON, H. R., DELANEY, J. A., DUTHIE, G. M. & DASCOMBE, B. J. 2019. Developing Athlete Monitoring Systems in Team-Sports: Data Analysis and Visualization. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 1-26.

VOISIN, S., JACQUES, M., LUCIA, A., BISHOP, D. J. & EYNON, N. 2019. Statistical Considerations for Exercise Protocols Aimed at Measuring Trainability. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 47, 37-45.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals and the project with Project Lead Dr. Gregory Roe ( /


To apply

Candidates should complete the application form including a clear research proposal

  • Applicants are asked to complete the research student application form and provide a proposal of the research to be undertaken using the headings below as a guide.
  • The proposal of the research can be up to four A4 pages in length (with references as an addition to the proposal) using type Arial 12 point.
  • Applicants are asked to include at the start of the proposal the research project title.
  • Applicants should use the research project reference (CARRSC01) as the subject in the email subject line when submitting their applications.

The criteria listed below will be used in both selecting those applicants who will be called for interview and those who will be successful in securing a Studentship.

  1. Qualifications, expertise and experience relevant to PhD subject area.
  2. Knowledge of the subject area that will allow the development of a focused line of enquiry;
  3. Knowledge and understanding of research methods appropriate to undertaking a PhD in your chosen area of research
  4. Clarity on the original contribution that the completed PhD will make to the body of knowledge in the relevant research literature
  5. Scale and scope of the proposed research in terms of delivery within the three-year studentship

The deadline for Applications is Midnight on 21st July 2019

Interviews will take place on 16th August 2019 in Bath


Each studentship will have:

  • An advanced stipend of £23,009 paid monthly (amount conditional as offered) and exempt from UK Income Tax and National Insurance.
  • Tuition fee waiver.
Length of Studentship

The PhD studentship is for a period of 4 years full-time study. Annual renewal will be subject to satisfactory progress.

Start date and Induction

The start date of the studentship is October 2019. The successful candidate will attend a compulsory induction at the beginning of February at Leeds Beckett University.

Part of the Research Culture

We expect bursary students to be an integral part of the research culture of the university, contributing to seminars and conferences, perhaps to projects, and generally engaging in the exchange of ideas. Associated with this, all research students undertake a research training programme.

Overseas’ Applicants
  • Tuition fee waiver.
  • Overseas applicants must refer to the UKBA regulations on studying in the UK and contact - telephone: +44 (0)113 812 5385 before submitting.

Who to contact if you have a question

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals and the project with Project Lead Dr. Gregory Roe /

Carnegie School of Sport: If you have a general enquiry, please contact Samantha Sherman in the Carnegie School of Sport Office at

The Graduate School: For all enquiries regarding the application process, please contact or telephone: +44 (0)113 812 5385.

Further information on Leeds Beckett research degrees can be found at our Graduate School website.