School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

PhD opportunities

Rob Barker-Davies

Photo of  Rob Barker-Davies


Squadron Leader Rob Barker-Davies joined the RAF on a medical cadetship whilst at the University of Nottingham in 2004. He attained a BMedSci(Hons) which included his dissertation with presentation at the British Orthopaedic Research Society and publication of in vitro work studying Biomaterial Related Infection in Spinal Implant Materials. Following medical school graduation (BMBS) in 2006 he undertook foundation doctor training in Nottingham before completion of officer training at RAF Cranwell. He has served at RAF Cosford, MDHU Peterborough, DMRC Headley Court and RAF Cranwell as part of post-graduate training in General Practice. He attained MRCGP in 2012 and served in the Falkland Islands, RAF Waddington and RAF Scampton as a station GP.  This has involved caring for a physically active population with specific occupational health needs particularly in the area of aviation medicine providing support to fixed, rotary wing and fast jet squadrons including Typhoon and RAF Aerobatic Display team (The Red Arrows) and conducting where necessary Aeromedical evacuation.

Since joining the RAF Rob has represented the RAF, Coventry Godiva Harries and Wales U23s as a sprinter and hurdler. He holds UK Athletics qualifications in coaching and has sought to bring together his knowledge of the sport with his professional training and experience. He commenced dual specialist training in Sport and Exercise Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine at DMRC Headley Court in 2014 and has completed rotations in Complex Trauma and Neurorehabilitation. Throughout this time he developed the proposal for the project outlined below. With the support of the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s catalyst fund in collaboration with Loughborough University, the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and Defence Medical Services he is now studying as a full time PhD student. On completion of this work he will resume training to become a Consultant in Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Medicine.

Project Title:

Chronic Tendinopathy : The Biomechanical Associations and EfFicacy of Injectable Therapy (BE FIT) Study

Project Summary:

The single highest contribution to military personnel not being able to deploy is musculoskeletal injury. Tendon problems are one such common injury. The current rehabilitation pathway consists of Physiotherapy and Shockwave treatment. At this stage there is a lack of evidence for further options. High Volume Injections using Image Guidance (HVIGI) have shown promising results in several case series but to date a randomised control trial (RCT) has not been published.


Increased load has been described as the primary driver for a continuum model for tendinopathy. Functional Movement Screening forms part of the clinical assessment. 3-D motion capture can be used to quantify errors that may impact excessive tendon loading.


Rob’s research aims primarily to identify through RCT the effectiveness of HVIGI compared to control injection in chronic Achilles and patella tendinopathy unresponsive to conservative therapies. A smaller group of participants with patella tendinopathy will be compared to a group of healthy volunteers using 3-D motion capture.


Epidemiological factors such as age, obesity, smoking, blood group, hypertension and family history will be analysed to identify predictors of response to treatment.