Vice Chancellor’s Scholarships

Five fully funded Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship Award studentships are available to passionate and committed students 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.

SCAN Studentship topics

We are delighted to have successfully recruited to the majority of opportunities described below, but please do review the projects our students are engaged in. Applications are still welcome from candidates for the following programmes:

  • Representing the underrepresented: Understanding emissions across the Commonwealth Sport system
  • Exploring the synergies and trade-offs of adopting sustainable practices in sport

Carbon emissions from grassroots and youth sport: a gendered analysis
Supervisory team: Dr Jamie Kenyon and Professor Paul Downward
Additional support: Professor Stacy Clemes and Dr Clare Stevinson
Location: East Midlands

It is becoming increasingly accepted that there is a bi-directional relationship between sport and the climate, in that sport both affects and is affected by the climate system.

Though research on the varied ways in which climate change impacts sport and vice-versa is increasing, in terms of the research on sport-related carbon emissions, this has almost exclusively focused on professional and elite-level sport, ignoring the far more active and populated activities at the grassroots and youth levels (Wilby et al. 2022).

Yet, as we indicate in our meta-analyses (ibid.), participation sports can be "hotspots" of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and - given the number of grassroots and youth sport participants around the world - the impact of that participation on the climate remains an important line of enquiry.

This studentship will seek to address this gap.

Representing the underrepresented: Understanding emissions across the Commonwealth Sport system
Supervisory team: Dr Madeleine Orr and Dr James Esson
Location: London

Our meta-analyses has revealed that countries in the Global South are underrepresented in the sport ecology literature (Orr et al. 2022; Wilby et al. 2022).

To address this gap and develop pragmatic emissions-reductions strategies for sport clubs and events hosted in small and developing nations, it is important to begin collecting and analysing data on emissions linked to sport in countries outside of North America and Europe. For this, we will focus on the Commonwealth and leverage Loughborough’s existing ties to the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Apply for this PhD

Physiological and nutritional interventions for effective acclimation strategies in a climate-changed world
Supervisory team: Dr Stephen Mears, Dr Lee Taylor and Dr Lewis James
Location: East Midlands

Increasing heat and humidity combined with reductions in air quality place increased strain on the narrow thermal range in which humans effectively operate.

Understanding adaptive responses to changing, challenging environments and exploring interventions to maximise acclimation and safeguard athlete health - particularly between the sexes - will be a key focus of this strand.

Engineering sports pitches for a climate-changed world
Supervisory team: Dr Steph Forrester, Prof Paul Fleming and Dr Aimee Mears
Location: East Midlands

This studentship will investigate the impact of climate change on factors such as playability, injury risk and maintenance of sports pitches, with a view to informing policy and estates management.

It will benefit from existing industry support within the world-leading Sport Surfaces Research Group, including access to training and networking opportunities. The group has strong links with major organisations such as FIFA, FIH, Tencate and Labosport with many past graduates enjoying successful careers within the industry.

The studentship is suited to an engineering graduate with an interest in sport and climate change.

Exploring the synergies and trade-offs of adopting sustainable practices in sport
Supervisory team: Dr Madeleine Orr and Dr Robert Wilby
Additional support: Dr Eddie Mighten and Dr Russell Seymour
Location: London

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, improving performance, and increasing participation with the urgent environmental tasks that must be achieved - reducing emissions, achieving circularity, and halting biodiversity loss.

Apply for this PhD