The effect of age and risk of falling on walking: A biomechanics and non-linear dynamics approach. Self-funded PhD in Sport and Health Sciences. Ref: 3100

About the award

Location:  University of Exeter St Lukes Campus, Heavitree Rd, Exeter EX1 2LU

Academic Supervisors:
Dr Genevieve Williams
 (Univeristy of Exeter)
Dr Domenico Vicinanza
(Anglia Ruskin University)

Project Description:

The prevalence of falls among our ageing population presents a huge social and £2.3billon challenge UK societies in the 21st century. Underpinned by the contemporary dynamical systems theory of motor control this thesis will develop and evaluate novel exercise interventions to provide innovative responses to reducing falls in the elderly. The thesis will build on current research to examine how walking technique differs with age and increased risk of falling. Four participant groups (18-23, 45-52, and 65-70 years at low-risk and high-risk of falling) will walk while body movements and ground-reaction forces are recorded. Dynamics of walking will be characterised through a novel non-linear dynamics perspective. Characteristic patterns distinguishing young, old and increased risk of falling groups will provide evidence-based support to develop a novel intervention to improve motor control facets associated with risk of falling. The thesis will go on to evaluate the intervention study in order to determine its effectiveness in mitigating the effects of ageing on walking and falling prevalence in comparison to currently existing techniques.

This thesis would suit a candidate with a biomechanics, physics or mathematics background, who has an interest in human movement and ageing.

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Dr Genevieve Williams


Application deadline:10th June 2018
Value:This project is self-funded
Duration of award:Not applicable
Contact: PGR

How to apply

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter and two academic references. Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project. You may also be asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

Please quote reference 3100 on your application and in any correspondence about this project.

Entry Requirements

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in Physics, Mathematics, Human Movement Sciences, Sports Sciences or Kinesiology with Biomechanics.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.