Fully Funded PhD - Elite Sport Performance, Injury and Recovery

Melbourne Football Club and Australian Catholic University

  • Melbourne Victoria Australia
  • Full Time
  • $28,854 pa for 3 years
20 Aug 2022
Applications 0



Poor sleep quality has been shown to influence sporting performance, however the link to injury risk is limited. Developing a better understanding of the interrelationship between sleep, performance and injury risk may allow practitioners to intervene and potentially reduce the likelihood of an injury occurring. To improve the understanding of this interrelationship, one stipend scholarship is available for a PhD student to be embedded at the Melbourne Football Club. The student will undertake a series of research projects that will create a better understanding of these interrelationships in elite athletes. The candidate should have a firm understanding of sports science with practical experience desired, be hard working and eager to progress within the research and sports performance field.

About Melbourne Football Club

The Melbourne Football Club is the founding club of the AFL. Based at Australia's most iconic sports stadium, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It is part of the fabric of the city of Melbourne which has over 40,000 members and attracts over 400,000 attendees to its games each year.

The Club has strong leadership and is an emerging team in the competition, looking to build a strong, diverse and sustainable future. The high-performance department aims to provide world class support with an evidence based approach to improve performance whilst minimising injury risk.

About Australian Catholic University

ACU is a world-leading research university in our priority areas of Education, Health, Theology and Philosophy, and other liberal arts. Research excellence at ACU is founded on the principles of social justice and attracts global experts, students and collaborators from across the globe. This PhD scholarship is offered in the field of Human Movement and Sports Science. In the 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment, Human Movement and Sports Science research at ACU scored a rating of Well Above World Standard, the highest rating available. Furthermore, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, ACU is ranked among the world’s top 1% of Sports Science Schools and Departments.

About the Sports Performance, Injury, Recovery and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre

This PhD program of research will be undertaken within the SPRINT Research Centre at ACU. SPRINT aims to advance knowledge in the areas of performance, recovery and injury in the sporting domain, using established and developing laboratory and applied research techniques. SPRINT research focuses on the interactions between athlete performance, fatigue, sleep and recovery interventions and the prevention, risk identification and rehabilitation of injury with a strong emphasis on findings that directly translate into practice.

SPRINT consists of more than 20 members including 11 academic staff and over 10 research students across honours, masters and PhD programs. All members conduct multi-disciplinary, cutting edge research using world-leading laboratories in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, strengthened by national and international collaborators.

About the PhD Stipend Scholarship

This research will focus on the interaction between sleep, performance and injury risk in elite athletes. This could include (but is not limited to) investigating the role that sleep quality may play in the risk of an injury occurring, the impact that poor sleep quality may have on mental alertness and athletic performance, and determine if intervening and extending sleep provides any benefits for athletic performance and injury risk management.

The successful scholarship recipient will undertake their PhD program of research through ACU under the proposed supervisory team of Dr Ryan Timmins (ACU), Associate Professor Shona Halson (ACU) and Dr Rich Johnston (ACU), with external supervision from Mr Selwyn Griffith (Performance Manager, Melbourne Football Club) and Dr Nick Murray (Head of Sports Science, Melbourne Football Club). The successful candidate will be embedded at ACU’s Melbourne St Patricks campus and the Melbourne Football Club.

As part of the scholarship, the PhD student will be expected to work closely with strength and conditioning, coaching, performance analysis, and medical staff.
Given the applied nature of the scholarship, the successful recipient will need to possess well-developed academic, data management, practical and interpersonal skills.

PhD Eligibility criteria

The eligibility criteria for the PhD program at ACU can be found in the Higher Degree Research Regulations.

Scholarship Eligibility criteria

In addition to the PhD program eligibility criteria, applicants should:

  • Australian and New Zealand Citizen's only.
  • Hold a First Class Honours’ degree/Master’s degree by research/coursework or have demonstrated research experience in any of the following fields: exercise/sport science, high performance sport, strength and conditioning, exercise physiology, or physiotherapy.
  • Have research experience, preferably with a track record of peer-review publications.
  • Have interest in injury prevention and athletic performance.
  • Have advanced excel skills, with experience coding on various platforms such as R, Python or MATLAB being advantageous

Study mode and location

  • Full-time for three (3) years based at the Melbourne Football Club, and ACU’s Melbourne Campus, Australia, commencing as soon as possible.

Value and duration

  • A stipend of A$28,854* per annum for three (3) years, indexed annually, subject to satisfactory progress and full-time study mode; and
  • A Research Training Program Fees Offset Scholarship; that is, a tuition fee waiver for three (3) years.

* the stipend value is comprised of contributions from Melbourne Football Club and the Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP)

Essential Requirements

Desirable Criteria

  • Interest in injury prevention and athletic performance
  • Excel skills, with experience coding on various platforms such as R, Python or MATLAB being advantageous
  • Commence ASAP


Application Instruction

Please visit the advertisement on the ACU website below. The opportunity is titled: Specialist research area: 'sleep quality and performance in professional footballers'. A scholarship in collaboration with Melbourne Football club 

Interested candidates should contact Dr Ryan Timmins before submitting an application for the PhD program and this scholarship: E: Ryan.Timmins@acu.edu.au

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must submit all documentation required for an application to the PhD program at ACU, as detailed in the ‘How to Apply’ instructions on the ACU Research Web Page, plus:

  • A CV detailing relevant academic and practical experience.
  • A brief cover letter detailing their experience and intended programme of research.

For general candidature enquiries, email Candidature Services on res.cand@acu.edu.au, with the subject line ‘Stipend scholarship in sleep quality and performance in professional footballers in collaboration with Melbourne Football Club’.

Applications close 11:59pm Sunday 20th August 2022 (AEST)

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