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PhD studentship

The Development and Application of an Open-Source Badminton-Specific Training Load Metric

Applications are invited for an exciting and innovative three-year, full time PhD studentship in association with the Badminton World Federation. This project will combine wearable technology, biomechanical signal processing, and machine learning techniques to develop and apply an open-source badminton-specific training load metric. Research equipment has been provided by both STATSports and IMeasureU to support this project.

The supervisors will be Dr Stuart McErlain-Naylor (Senior Lecturer; Sports Biomechanics) and Dr Marco Beato (Associate Professor; Strength and Conditioning). The project team will also include Mark Connor (Lecturer; Performance Analysis and Computer Science).

The PhD

Practitioners in many sports use wearable technologies for training prescription and injury management. The application of back-mounted systems based on GPS or related technologies is limited in short distance indoor accelerations, sidesteps, lunges, etc.; hence limited in badminton. Applications may be aided via more applicable sport-specific training load measures based on biomechanical load-response relationships.

The initial data collection phase of this project will consist of recording controlled and random badminton-specific movements, with participants recruited from a Performance Centre partnered with the project. Activity recognition procedures will be used to identify and quantify common badminton-specific movement patterns. You will design and apply bespoke badminton-specific recognition algorithms to the processed sensor data, whilst cross-checking for accuracy using explicitly notated video footage. Following evaluation, a suitably accurate activity recognition algorithm will be used to extract a range of discrete movement patterns and further calculations will be performed to quantify the intensity, impact, and acceleration transmission experienced by players in training and competition.

This project aims to develop a simple and easily interruptible quantification of training load that is currently lacking in badminton. The main contribution of this project will be the development of a novel training load monitoring system which can be used with a wide variety of commercially available wearable technologies. This system could also be scaled to other related and important areas of badminton-specific sport science such as injury management, training prescription and performance evaluation.

Aspects of the project are open to change as the candidate moves through the PhD process, planning and conducting research. In particular, there is scope to apply the methods to a number of applied problems during the later parts of the PhD.

The successful candidate

The successful candidate will need to be passionate about the applications of biomechanics and wearable technology in sport. In addition to an understanding of biomechanics, they will have relevant programming skills and will understand the role of signal processing in the analysis of human movement. They will possess strong analytical abilities, particularly those suited to large data sets.  

2.1 or higher honours degree in a relevant discipline, have good knowledge of data analytics, and have demonstrable prior skills in sports biomechanics, applied mathematics, and/or computer science. Whilst not essential, a Masters’ level degree in a related subject would be advantageous. Your prior degree may be in sports science, mathematics, physics, data analytics, computer science or engineering.

Successful candidates will be based at the University of Suffolk’s Ipswich waterfront campus, although there will be the opportunity to perform a significant proportion of work remotely if required.

Funding Notes

The cost of your PhD fees will be covered by the Badminton World Federation funding and research equipment is provided by supporting partners. However, living costs will need to be considered and accounted for by the candidate. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact the primary supervisor (details below) to discuss funding opportunities. 'Please note that this scholarship is only available to cover UK student fees. Additional fees will be applicable for international students.

Project and Application Timeline

The deadline for applications is 17:00 GMT Friday 12th November.

The project start date is January 2022.

The duration of the PhD will be for three years (full-time study).

Informal enquiries

Informal enquires about this studentship should be addressed to Dr Stuart McErlain-Naylor at

We are actively committed to growing and supporting a diverse workforce and welcome applications from all backgrounds and communities. We particularly welcome applications from black and ethnic minority candidates and from candidates with a disability who are currently under-represented within our workforce. 

We consider flexible working requests for all our vacancies.

Closing date: 
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 17:00

How to apply:

  1. Read the Guidance Notes and Privacy Notice
  2. If you think you might need a visa to work in the UK, please check your eligibility here BEFORE you apply.
  3. Fill in the Application Cover Sheet
  4. Attach a curriculum vitae and a covering letter setting out clearly how you meet the essential and desirable criteria for the post

Please return them as Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) attachments by email to including the post title and reference number in the email subject heading.

If you a have a disability and need to use a different method to apply for the role then please contact our recruitment team so we can make the adjustments to the process for you.

If you would like to request support or ask questions about any of our vacancies, or us as an employer, please contact us via the email above or by telephoning 01473 338351.

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