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PhD Scholarship – Safeguarding Participant and Workforce Welfare in the Sport and Physical Activity Sector

Graduate School

Location:  Ormskirk
Salary:  £18,622 - Please see "Details of funding" section for information
Post Type:  Full Time
Closing Date:  Monday 18 December 2023
Reference:  EHPHD24-1123

We’re here to create and harness knowledge, to deliver opportunity for everyone. 

About the Opportunity

This is an excellent opportunity for a talented and motivated applicant to undertake an original and applied programme of research with national stakeholders to explore the potential development of a workforce governance framework and a national workforce registration scheme for sport and physical activity. The purpose of the framework and registration scheme is to safeguard the welfare of participants and the workforce, and to prevent harm, including harm to physical and mental health. The project will focus on the role of the ‘Coach’ in the first instance and will be led by Professor Andy Smith, Director of the Centre for Mental Health, Sport and Physical Activity Research, and Dr Vinny Webb from the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA). The project is funded by CIMSPA and Sport England. 

About The Research Project

The project builds upon the recommendations made by Sport England and UK Sport in their policy response to the Whyte Review, an independent investigation into allegations of participant harm in British Gymnastics. It also follows similar enquiries into safeguarding and other duty of care concerns in sport, including those identified in the Independent Duty of Care in Sport Review and the Sheldon Review into sexual abuse in football.

The successful applicant will work with a representative group of national sporting bodies to explore and pilot the requirements of a workforce governance framework, a national workforce registration scheme, and the necessary infrastructure, policy, and processes needed to support any future potential full implementation. In doing so, the project will use an adapted version of Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model to investigate how the sport and physical activity sector can better protect participants and the workforce from harm by having a better system of workforce governance and self-regulation which can only be achieved through systemic change to organisational culture, policy, and practice. The development of recommendations to support other sporting bodies in being ready to implement a national registration scheme, should one be deemed viable, will also be a key outcome of the research.

The successful applicant will work with a team of researchers from the Centre for Mental Health, Sport and Physical Activity Research, Centre for Sports Law Research, and the Centre for Child Protection and Safeguarding in Sport at Edge Hill University. They will also be required to work closely with colleagues from CIMSPA and other national sports organisations.

The successful applicant will ideally have previous experience of undertaking qualitative and quantitative research and disseminating research findings accessibly to diverse audiences. A passion for safeguarding participants and the workforce from harm, while promoting their welfare (including their physical and mental health), is particularly welcome. Given the nature of the project, applicants with previous experience of successful partnership working with multiple stakeholders, alongside academic research experience, is essential.

Details of funding 

The successful applicant will:

  • Be awarded an annual stipend for three years in line with the UKRI doctoral stipend and fee levels (minimum £18,622 per year)
  • Receive support for your tuition fees (minimum £4,712 per year)

Applicant Eligibility

This opportunity is open to UK-based applicants eligible for home fees. 

At Edge Hill University we value the benefits a rich and diverse workforce brings to our community and therefore welcome applications from all sections of society.

How to submit your application

In the first instance please complete the online application form through our February 2024 Full-Time online link as per below:

 Online Application form for February 2024 Full Time PhD 

Once you have done this, please send the following items in one email to quoting the studentship reference EHPHD24-1123 and the project title, in the subject of the email:

  • a downloaded copy of your application form.
  • a short project proposal outlining how you would approach the project (up to 2,000 words, excluding references).
  • a full academic CV (maximum of three A4 pages, using size 12 font) which includes the contact details of two referees.
  • a copy of your qualification certificates and passport.

Key contacts:

Deadlines and start date.

Closing date: 18 December 2023, 23:59pm.

Interviews will take place on 8 January 2024. Online. 

The successful applicant will be required to start in February 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. This is for a full-time PhD position. 

About Us 

At Edge Hill University we believe in the life changing opportunities knowledge can create. Since 1885, we’ve been creating access to knowledge for those who may not have had the opportunity to before. 

Today, the effect we have has a far-reaching impact, not just for those who come to study here but for those who work, invest in, and live in our local communities too. So, if you’ve ever wondered if one person can make a difference, simply speak to our alumni, students, and award-winning staff.

Because for us education isn’t about how much you take in. It’s about what you take out into the world. 

Inspiring minds and changing futures since 1885, Edge Hill University is “A great success story… an institution that improves and impresses year after year” – Times Higher Education.

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