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Durham University

Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Durham University & TASS

"Diversifying routes for developing elite sports performers: how to promote inclusivity in dual career systems."

Durham University PhD Studentship in Partnership with the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS).

Qualification type: PhD

Location: Durham University

Funding: Subject to meeting eligibility criteria, the scholarship covers tuition fees (equivalent to UK / EU students fees) and a grant (stipend) towards living expenses. The value of the stipend is £14,500 per annum, for three years. The student will also have an allocated Research Training Support Grant for conference attendance and other research-related expenses:

Hours: Full time

Placed on: 1st June 2019

Closes: 25th July 2019

Durham University and the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) are inviting applications for a three-year PhD Studentship, available from 1st September 2019. TASS is a collaborative funding partner and will support ongoing project design and delivery.

The Project

As working lives diversify, interest has risen in understanding how individuals grow and manage multiple identities and careers. A dual career in sport is defined as the challenge of combining a sporting career with education or work. The benefits of athletes undertaking dual career routes have been widely reported, including social, developmental, and attainment-related outcomes.

At present, however, the profile of athletes engaging in dual career routes is not representative of the wide range of talented athletes within the UK. This project will work with athletes, support staff, National Governing Bodies and dual career systems within the UK, considering how best such systems and processes can be equitable, inclusive and engaging a diverse cohort of athletes. The research will develop our understanding of how inclusion and exclusion are experienced, and how motivation and engagement are affected and overcome by those facing barriers to participation.

The successful candidate will map cohorts of dual career athletes over time by key demographic and social characteristics to identify under-represented groups. They will also spend time exploring barriers and facilitators to diversifying dual career systems, from the perspectives of national governing bodies, education and work providers, and athletes themselves. By working with TASS, the candidate will gain valuable insight and experience of UK sporting organisations, as well as be provided with clear routes for disseminating and promoting the findings of the research.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Emily Oliver and Dr. AJ Rankin-Wright at Durham University, with support from Dr. Emma Vickers/Guy Taylor at TASS. The successful candidate will be based in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, which is home to a vibrant multi-disciplined postgraduate research community and research groups including Sporting Lives, Cultures and Performance. For further details visit:


Applicants are welcome from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, including psychology, sociology, and sport studies. At Durham University, our aim is to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone can reach their full potential. We welcome and encourage applications from members of groups who are under-represented in academic positions in the University, including people with disabilities, women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Essential Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Have a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject area.
  • Have evidence of strong research methods skills, accrued in study and/or employment.

Desirable Criteria:

  • Experience of working with/engaging with athletes
  • Experience of managing sensitive topics and data
  • An understanding of dual career athletes and/ or high-performance sport environments
  • Have completed a master’s level qualification or expect to have completed a relevant master’s degree by October 2019. It is expected this will be at merit or distinction level.

How to apply

Applications should be made via the Durham University online application system: with funding entered as ‘TASS’ and program code of: B6A101. Supporting documents should be either uploaded with your application or emailed directly to Selection will be based on application documents and interview. Enquiries regarding the application process should be forwarded to

Supporting Documents:

1) A 1,500-word review of theory and research concerning exclusion in sport, including recommendations for how sporting environments can become more inclusive.

2) Evidence of previous study – Transcripts and Certificates showing a first class or upper second class honours degree and , if appropriate, a relevant master’s degree with merit or distinction (or evidence this will be achieved by October 2019).

3) References – letters of support from two academic sources.

4) CV (no more than 2 pages).

5) Evidence of competence in English if English is not your first language. Refer to website for further details and section on acceptable evidence of achievement.

Closing Date: 25th July 2019, 17.00 (GMT)

Interview Date: tbc