Leeds Rhinos Rugby League sponsored PhD Studentship

Leeds Rhinos Rugby League sponsored Research Studentship in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University

  • Full-time Sponsored Postgraduate Research Studentship  
  • Start date:  October 2021

The PhD studentship will have a bursary of £15,609 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU Fees paid initially for a period of three years.

Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Rhinos Rugby League club are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual to join the embedded research team at Leeds Rhinos Rugby League club.

Leeds Rhinos are the most successful rugby league club in the Super League era, having won the Super League eight times, Challenge Cup three times, and World Club Challenge twice. Leeds Rhinos Women are the reigning Women’s Super League Champions and have won the Challenge Cup twice in the last three years. Leeds Rhinos and Leeds Beckett University have a strong established relationship, with sixteen PhD studentship embedded within the club since 2014. Given the success of embedded research studentships, Leeds Rhinos are looking to invest in another PhD studentship to work with the Women’s team. The successful candidates will be embedded within Leeds Rhinos working alongside research and performance staff.  

Funding will consist of UK / EU full tuition fees for three years and the award of a living stipend at UK Research Council rates (£15,609 per annum pro-rata into 12 monthly payments). Funding will be subject to satisfactory progress.

A laptop will be provided and office space (subject to LBU COVID19 arrangements for return to campus) and the opportunity to apply for funding to support the research project.


(Supervisory Team; Professor Ben Jones, Dr Sean Scantlebury, Omar Heyward)

Rugby league is a contact sport, whereby players are required to engage in a high number of tackles during match play. Match outcome can be determined by tackle ability, therefore the tackle is key for rugby league performance. The tackle also carries a high risk of injury, with over 80% of injuries occurring in the tackle in women’s rugby league (King & Gabbett et al., 2017). The characteristics of injurious tackles during men’s Super League have recently been evaluated (Hopkinson et al., 2020), and in men’s rugby union, greater tackle proficiency has been shown to reduce the risk of injury (Burger et al., 2016). Whilst findings from men’s rugby league and rugby union can be applied to women’s rugby league, further research is required to investigate the tackle from a performance and safety perspective in this cohort.

This PhD will quantify the tackle characteristics of women’s rugby league and design experimental studies to improve tackle technique aimed at improving player performance and safety in women’s rugby league.

In addition to the research programme, the successful candidate will be embedded within Leeds Rhinos Women’s team, providing strength and conditioning and sports science support to players and coaches. Practical hours will not exceed 10 hours per week. The successful candidate should have a strong practical background in sports science and/or strength and conditioning, and a strong academic background in research methods and data analysis.  Experience of providing sport science / strength and conditioning support is desirable.

Applicants can discuss their proposals and the project with Professor Ben Jones (b.jones@leedsbeckett.ac.uk)

As part of your application, please provide a CV, cover letter and research proposal. The proposal should align to the above theme and include a brief literature review related to this project, with an outline of the studies that you would propose to the answer the aims of the PhD (maximum 5 pages single spaced).

We can only consider complete applications. The research degree application is complete once you have uploaded all of the following:

  1. Your application form (include the project reference CARR LR1)
  2. Your research proposal, statement of purpose and CV on the Research proposal template
  3. Copies of your bachelors and master certificates, including transcripts
  4. Copy of your IELTS (or equivalent) certificate (if applicable) further information can be foundon our Graduate School FAQs
  5. Copy of your passport

Email the documentation above) to researchadmissions@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

The deadline for applications is midnight 15th August 2021

Candidates must be available for interview on 27th August 2021

Who to contact

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Carnegie Applied Rugby Research centre

Bringing together researchers and practitioners within the sports of rugby with expertise in coaching, strength and conditioning, sport science and player development.

Image of a rugby match and the player with the ball is up in the air