Middlesbrough Football Club


Hurworth-on-Tees, DL2 2DU

Salary Range


Contract Type

Full Time

Closing Date

30 April 2023

Job Description

TEESSIDE UNIVERSITY and MIDDLESBROUGH FOOTBALL CLUB are pleased to offer a Fully Funded PhD Studentship to an exceptional doctoral candidate to commence in October 2023.

Middlesbrough Football Club, based in Middlesbrough in North-East England, are currently competing in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. The Club’s Training Ground, a £7m complex with a state-of-the-art Sports Science department is based in Hurworth, nr Darlington, Co Durham. The Academy is a Category One Academy in the structure introduced in Summer 2012 as part of the Elite Player Performance Plan and ensure that the Club’s production line of young players continues to be one of the most successful in the game.
About PhD Projects
Teesside University School of Health and Life Sciences and Middlesbrough Football Club are pleased to invite applications for a fully funded PhD studentship in the topic of:
Using physical profiling to enhance individualization of training in soccer

The supervisory team will be led Dr Jonathan Taylor (Teesside University) and Frances Hunter (Middlesbrough Football Club).

Project Description
Soccer match-play is characterized by high-intensity activity bouts interspersed with periods of low intensity activity and requires players to have a well-rounded physical profile (Stolen et al. 2005). Consequently, a variety of training modalities are used to develop or maintain relevant fitness components throughout the season (Buchheit et al. 2021). Elite players can display a wide range of physical profiles which, may respond differently to a given training modality. Individualization of training in elite soccer can be challenging to implement, but the use of appropriate player profiling tools can facilitate appropriate prescription of exercise intensity and potentially, training modality for the individual (Taylor et al. 2022). This could be of value when the aim of training is to develop the aerobic/anaerobic fitness of players.
Soccer players with superior aerobic fitness exhibit a reduction in fatigue related decrements in technical performance during match-play and have greater robustness (Malone et al. 2018; Russell and Kingsley, 2011). One key variable used as an indicator of aerobic fitness is maximal aerobic speed (MAS). The use of MAS to prescribe interval training is an established practice (Dupont et al. 2004; Wong et al. 2010), while using MAS and associate physiological correlates to monitor training loads through individualized locomotor thresholds has also gained popularity (Fitzpatrick et al. 2018). However, MAS alone is limited with respect to the prescription of supramaximal training intensities, which are a necessity in team sports due to the wider range of athletic ‘phenotypes’.
A viable solution, which could provide a more informative profile is to combine MAS with maximal sprinting speed and determining the anaerobic speed reserve (ASR) of an athlete (Buchheit 2011). It was recently proposed that considering MAS and ASR might allow for individualized prescription of player programs, potentially facilitating enhanced fitness outcomes (Sandford et 2021). However, further research is needed to provide empirical evidence for this concept and others that have potential in enhancing the individualization of training

This project aims to establish:
1. The utility of player profiling in the prescription of interval training for elite soccer players.
2. The effectiveness of individualized prescription on soccer-specific training adaptations.
3. The variability of profiling within and between players.
The project will involve a range of physiological testing and monitoring techniques, such as gas analysis, blood lactate analysis, use of GPS (and accelerometery) data, in addition to a variety of other field-based testing equipment as determined by Middlesbrough football Club.
This studentship will be full-time and mainly based at Middlesbrough Football Club, embedded within the Science and Medicine department.
Funding Eligibility
This Fully Funded PhD Studentship covers tuition fees for the period of a full-time PhD Registration of up to four years and provides an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 for three years, subject to satisfactory progress.

Entry Requirements
A masters level qualification in Sport and Exercise Science (or a relevant discipline) is highly desirable, however candidates with a first-class undergraduate degree could be considered. Experience of working with highly trained athletes and an interest in soccer and an understanding of the Premier League Academy Elite Player Performance Plan would be beneficial. Vocational qualifications related to athletic development or a desire to work towards would also be highly beneficial. Good communication and inter-personal skills that allow the development of effective working relationships within a multi-disciplinary team are essential. Experience in intervention development, evaluation, and qualitative and quantitative research methods would also be highly desirable. A full driving license is essential given the multi-centred nature of the studentship.

How to Apply

Applicants should apply online for this opportunity at:
Please use the Online Application (Funded PHD) application form. When asked to specify funding select “other” and enter ‘RDS’ and the title of the PhD project that you are applying for. You should ensure that you clearly indicate that you are applying for a Funded Studentship and the title of the topic or project on the proposal that you will need to upload when applying.

Applications for studentships that do not clearly indicate that the application is for a Funded Studentship and state the title of the project applied for on the proposal may mean that your application may not be considered for the appropriate funding.

For academic enquiries, please contact please contact Dr Jonathan Taylor,

For administrative enquiries before or when making your application, contact

After an application has been made, please contact

The online application portal and all document templates required for an application can be accessed at:

Selection process

All applications received by the closing date will be considered. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted to arrange an interview and all interviews will be held online. Unsuccessful applicants will be contacted to confirm that the application will not be progressed. After interview, all interviewed applicants will be contacted to inform them of the outcome. The successful candidate will progress to an offer of a place, to commence in October 2023.

Research at Teesside

As a Teesside University research student, you will join a growing and dynamic research community, allowing you to share your experiences, insight, and inspiration with fellow researchers. You will benefit from our academic expertise and be supported through a strong programme of research training. You will be offered opportunities and support at each stage of your research degree. Our research is designed to have impact, and to influence policy and practice within our region, the UK and beyond. PhD students are encouraged to work with their supervisors to explore the potential impact of their work.

The successful candidate will be expected to participate fully in research group and centre activities at the university, including training sessions and workshops, and will become a member of the University’s wider postgraduate research community. Mentoring and support will be provided for the development of a strong academic and professional CV during the PhD.

Key Dates
Closing date for applications is 5pm on Sunday 30th April 2023.

We envisage that shortlisting and interviews will take place in May 2023.

The successful candidate will be expected to start October 2023 (exact date to be confirmed).

To Apply

Applicants should apply online for this opportunity at: Please use the Online Application (Funded PHD) application form. When asked to specify funding select “other” and enter ‘RDS’ and the title of the PhD project that you are applying for. You should ensure that you clearly indicate that you are applying for a Funded Studentship and the title of the topic or project on the proposal that you will need to upload when applying.