Doctoral research

We support a growing cohort of doctoral research students who are investigating critical sport and climate action research topics.

Our aim is to establish a self-sustaining network that places Loughborough University at the global forefront of the sport-climate-sustainability nexus.

We welcome queries from prospective PhD students. If you would like to discuss a self-funded opportunity, please contact a member of the SCAN team. 

Please also regularly review the Loughborough University PhD Opportunity web page for both funded and self-funded advertised studentships.

SCAN doctoral research projects

We are delighted to have successfully recruited to the opportunities described below, but please review the projects in which our students are engaged.

Physiological and nutritional interventions for effective acclimation strategies in a climate-changed world

Student: Lois Mougin
Supervisors: Dr Stephen Mears, Dr Lewis James and Dr Lee Taylor 
School: School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Funding source: VC Research Cluster 

Understanding the physiological responses and determinants of endurance exercise in extreme environmental conditions - focusing on substrate utilisation, acclimation strategies, biological sex differences and performance.

Staying grounded within the panarchy of globalised elite sport: the air travel emissions of supporters’ clubs in Southern Africa 

Student: Benjamin Mole
Supervisors: Dr Mark Doidge, Dr Maddy Orr and Dr James Esson
School: Loughborough University London 
Funding source: VC Research Cluster 

Viewing the structures of Southern Africa team sports as a complex adaptive system based on qualitative data gathered from local supporters. From this data, showing that there are interactions driving greater scope-3 emissions from sport in the area. 

The effect of climate change on sports pitches

Student: Kexin Ma
Supervisors: Professor Steph Forrester, Professor Paul Fleming and Dr Aimee Mears 
School: Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering and School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering
Funding source: VC Research Cluster 

Given Loughborough’s prowess in field sport research and surface conditions such as turf science, this studentship will investigate the impact of climate change on factors such as playability, injury risk, participation, and maintenance of field sport facilities in a climate-changed world, with a view to informing policy and estates management. 

Exploring the synergies and trade-offs of adopting sustainable practices in sport

Student: Jamie Wilks
Supervisors: Dr Jamie Kenyon, Professor Rob Wilby and Dr Maddy Orr 
School: Loughborough University London 
Funding source: VC Research Cluster 

Building on the Institute for Sport Business’ existing efforts to examine sport’s responses to what the UN describes as a Triple Planetary Crisis through the Sports for Nature initiative, this studentship will explore how managers are juggling the competing interests of growing revenues, performance and participation with the increasingly urgent environmental tasks that must be achieved - reducing emissions, achieving circularity and increasing biodiversity. The focus will be on the LA 2028 Olympics.

Carbon emissions from grassroots and youth sport: a gendered analysis

Student: Tess Dahan
Supervisors: Dr Jamie Kenyon and Professor Paul Downward
School: School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Funding source: VC Research Cluster 

To date, most research on sport emissions has focused on professional and elite levels, ignoring the far more active and populated activities at the grassroots and youth levels (Wilby et al, 2022). Furthermore, there have been very few studies of the gendered aspects of sport-related emissions. This studentship will seek to plug these gaps.

Other studentships involved under the SCAN research cluster

Football shirts within the circular economy (CE): towards environmental responsibility in the sports industry?

Student: Joanna Czutkowna
Supervisors: Dr Peter Dickenson and Dr Mark Doidge 
School: School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Funding source: School funded 

The research investigates circular economy (CE) within the context of football shirts, considering the whole supply chain while accounting for different stakeholders’ perspectives. The research will investigate inhibitors and facilitators of optimal CE practices to enable research-informed guidelines that can support football governing bodies', professional football teams' as well as fans’ CE practices and initiatives.

Extra time: scoring pro-environmental last-minute goals through mobilising football fans on climate change  

Student: Jenny Amann
Supervisors: Dr Mark Doidge and Dr James Esson  
School: School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Funding source: School funded 

Following calls for innovative strategies to engage existing communities on the topic of climate change, this project seeks to understand how football fans as a non-environmental movement mobilise on climate change and what implications for social transformation more generally can be derived from this.

Overcoming the status quo inertia in sport sponsorship: a critical time for the climate crisis 

Student: Theo Frixou
Supervisors: Dr Holly Collison-Randall, Dr Daniel Read and Dr Madeleine Orr  
School: Loughborough University London 

Due to the array of nefarious actors and links to the degradation of the natural environment, the financing of sport - particularly through sponsorship - gets plenty of academic and media attention. Most of this attention comes in the form of political or environmental commentary. This research aims to add to the literature by exploring how sports marketing agencies are complicit in this service and whether any accountability lands at their door.   

Environmental sustainability in Chinese sport organisations (post-2008) 

Student: Jinyu Chang
Supervisors: Dr Jamie Kenyon and Dr Joe Piggin 
School: School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences 
Funding source: Self-funded 

In contrast to many other industries, the sports sector boasts a comparatively smaller environmental footprint. Yet, its potential to exert a significant influence on encouraging populations to engage in more sustainable activities surpasses that of many other sectors. Therefore, for both mainstream and sports organisations, recognising and communicating the importance of environmental sustainability is essential for responsible management, long-term planning, competitiveness and meeting stakeholder and societal expectations. This research endeavours to assess the present state of environmental sustainability development within Chinese sports organisations (post-2008 Olympic Games) with the goal being to derive insights that will facilitate informed predictions about future trends.