Postgraduate Research

The Department of Sport and Physical Activity has a growing group of postgraduate research students at varying stages of their PhD studies. These students are guided by their academic supervisory teams with whom they meet on a regular basis. Some of the students are also employed as Graduate Teaching Assistants, and all have the opportunity to gain teaching experience and undertake the accreditation towards the Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching in High Education.

Current Students

Michael Owen

Previously studied at Liverpool John Moores University for BSc (Hons) in Applied Sports Psychology and MSc in Health Psychology.

Interested in physical activity and health research, specifically the psychological impact of physical activity on children and young people. PhD project led by Michael is to investigate, design, implement and evaluate school based physical activity interventions for adolescent girls. Past research centres on both qualitative and quantitative methodology investigating the psychological, social, emotional and behavioural factors linked with health behaviour change. Also undertaking Stage 2 Training with the British Psychological Society to become an accredited Health Psychologist.


George Sanders

Previous studies include BA in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity completed at Durham University, and MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Loughborough University.

Research interests are physical activity in older adults, in adults with intellectual disabilities, in community settings, in school settings, as well as athlete sport psychology. PhD project led by George is “Get Healthy Get Active (GHGA)” aiming to assess the impact of physical activity on selected physical, psychological and social outcomes among inactive adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) and inactive older adults (over 65 years of age). This three-year project has been chosen as 1 of 16 nationwide evaluation projects to be funded by Sport England (Sport England, 2015a). These sixteen projects, titled Get Healthy Get Active (GHGA), are aligned to Sport England’s aspiration of getting individuals participating in PA at least once a week.


Sarah Taylor

Previously studied at Liverpool John Moores University for BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and, MPhil entitled ‘An Investigation into Physical Activity and Classroom Behaviours in Children with Intellectual Disabilities’.

Interests include research which surrounds ways in which physical activity levels can be improved and sedentary behaviour reduced in school-aged children. The PhD project led by Sarah aims to improve health and wellbeing in primary school children through the use of school-based PA interventions. An initial baseline study will identify elements of each participating schools environment most in need of intervention where physical activity is concerned. Previous research includes the exploration of physical activity and its potential associations with classroom behaviours in children with intellectual disabilities, as well as the use of a physical activity and fitness programme entitled Born to Move in primary schools.


Sanjoy Deb

Previously studied for BSc in Sport and Exercise Science completed at the University of Birmingham, as well as an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition from Leeds Beckett University.

The PhD project led by Sanjoy is concerned with the physiological effects of acute hypoxic exposure and the role of pre-exercise alkalotic inducement. Prior to joining the university Sanjoy led a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project focused on extreme environment physiology at Robert Gordon University.


Tom Duffell

Previously studied for BSc in Sport Science from Liverpool John Moores University and MSc in Sport and Exercise Physiology at UCLan.

The PhD project led by Tom is in collaboration with Everton in the Community (the official charity of Everton Football Club), which aims to understand how a multi-agency community-focused programme can increase the proportion of inactive men aged 35-50 living in areas of high socio-economic deprivation in North Liverpool to become physically active.


Steven Eustace

Previously studied for BSc in Sport and Exercise Sciences and MRes, both completed at the University of Wolverhampton.

The focus of the PhD project led by Steven is on the biomechanical and neuromuscular markers of ACL injury in soccer players, with a particular focus in young female players.


Lewis Gough

Previously studied for BA in Sport and Exercise Studies with Education Studies at Derby University before completing MRes in Sport and Exercise Science at the same institution.

Research interests surround ergogenic aids and performance. The PhD led by Lewis is investigating sodium bicarbonate as an ergogenic aid at normoxia and hypoxia.


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