PhD Studentship Enhancing artificial turf performance for rugby

Ref: CV-SSRG/PF/2013

Artificial turf pitches (ATP) are used for a variety of sports, such as association football, hockey and rugby football and their use worldwide is growing for elite level sport. Many stimulating research questions exist for ATPs regarding: play performance; safety/injury risk; and design/construction/maintenance optimisation. The current portfolio of research within the Sport Surfaces Research Group (SSRG) through Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough University currently includes seven postgraduates with strong industry support.

This project is focussed on the use of ATP for rugby codes. In comparison to soccer this large sporting community have only recently embraced artificial turf and currently are knowledge constrained by little research into player-surface interaction specific to their sport. Previous work has largely focussed on association soccer, and although many of the findings regarding mechanical testing and associated performance limits have crossed over into rugby codes it is clear that rugby comprises many different aspects regarding the players and the game. The project aims are to develop a suite of player and surface mechanical testing protocols for Rugby specific movements on ATPs. The measurements will include laboratory and field testing using the SSRG labs in Civil Engineering and the Sports Technology Institute, and several artificial pitches on campus. The findings will permit a unique insight into rugby specific requirements in relation to player kinetics and kinematics, footwear, and the surface system design and testing. The project is expected to be enhanced by in-kind support of a professional Premier League Rugby Union team coupled to several elite teams showing an interest following Saracen’s stadium installing artificial turf. This research is also timely as the Rugby Football League (RFL) and Australian Football League (AFL) are implementing plans for elite level artificial turf facilities, with similar knowledge constraints.

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The three-year scholarship will provide a stipend of £13,726 per annum tax free and tuition fees. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is open to UK and EU applicants only. Applicants should be highly motivated and have at least a good 2.1 honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate undergraduate discipline and/or Master’s level training. After the closing date the most suitable candidates will be invited to demonstrate their communication skills by giving a short 10 minute presentation (web based or in person) on a given topic followed by a short interview.

Please apply through the following web page via the Apply button below. 

Should you have any problems please contact Helen Newbold, Research Administrator ( Informal enquires about this scholarship should be directed to Dr Paul Fleming (e-mail or Dr Steph Forrester (e-mail 

It is very important to quote the reference “CV-SSRG/PF/2013” on all correspondence and especially on the application form. 

The closing date for applications for this post is Wednesday 3rd July 2013.

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