The Role of the Muscles in Minimising Tibial Stress During Running- Sports and Health Sciences - EPSRC DTP funded PhD Studentship Ref: 2949

About the award

This project is one of a number funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership to commence in September 2018. This project is in direct competition with others for funding; the projects which receive the best applicants will be awarded the funding.

The studentships will provide funding for a stipend which is currently £14,553 per annum for 2017-2018. It will provide research costs and UK/EU tuition fees at Research Council UK rates for 42 months (3.5 years) for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students.

Please note that of the total number of projects within the competition, up to 15 studentships will be filled.

Dr Hannah Rice
Prof. Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova

Professor Akbar Javadi

St. Luke's Campus, Exeter

Project Description
PhD funding is available for an interdisciplinary project exploring the role that muscles play in minimising bone stress during running. Running is a very popular form of physical activity, with many health benefits, but is associated with a high injury occurrence. Stress fractures of the tibia (shin bone) are one of the more burdensome running injuries. 

The curved geometry of the tibia means that it undergoes mechanical bending, and experiences high stresses during running. The muscles which cross the tibia can act to minimise these stresses. This important interaction between the muscles and bones requires further exploration. 

This research will use an interdisciplinary approach, combining human movement biomechanics with mathematical modelling and finite element analysis techniques to estimate tibial stress, non-invasively. 
The aim of the research is firstly to develop and evaluate a three-dimensional model of the tibia, which will then be simulated to identify factors which influence bone stress during running. Secondly, the model will be used to identify and test interventions to minimise tibial stress amongst runners.  

The PhD student assigned to the project will collect motion capture data and magnetic resonance images from human participants, and will use mathematical and engineering techniques to develop and simulate a three-dimensional model of the tibia. This research would suit a student with a strong background in engineering or mathematics, with an interest in its application to human populations.

Entry Requirements
The majority of the studentships are available for applicants who are ordinarily resident in the UK and are classed as UK/EU for tuition fee purposes.  If you have not resided in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship, you are not eligible for a maintenance allowance so you would need an alternative source of funding for living costs. To be eligible for fees-only funding you must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU.  For information on EPSRC residency criteria click here.

Applicants who are classed as International for tuition fee purposes are NOT eligible for funding. International students interested in studying at the University of Exeter should search our funding database for alternative options.


Application deadline:10th January 2018
Value:3.5 year studentship: UK/EU tuition fees and an annual maintenance allowance at current Research Council rate. Current rate of £14,553 per year.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Doctoral

How to apply

You will be required to upload the following documents:
•       CV
•       Letter of application outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to
        undertake the project.
•       Transcript(s) giving full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained.  This should be an interim
        transcript if you are still studying.
•       If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your current
        proficiency in English.  For further details of the University’s English language requirements please see

The closing date for applications is midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 10 January 2018.  Interviews will be held at the University of Exeter in late February 2018.

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email:
Project-specific queries should be directed to the supervisor.

During the application process, the University may need to make certain disclosures of your personal data to third parties to be able to administer your application, carry out interviews and select candidates.  These are not limited to, but may include disclosures to:

• the selection panel and/or management board or equivalent of the relevant programme, which is likely to include staff from one or more other HEIs;
• administrative staff at one or more other HEIs participating in the relevant programme.

Such disclosures will always be kept to the minimum amount of personal data required for the specific purpose. Your sensitive personal data (relating to disability and race/ethnicity) will not be disclosed without your explicit consent.