Physical and Cognitive Function in Multi-Stressor Environments

Loughborough University

Starting: 1st April 2017

Interview date: February 2017

Primary supervisor: Dr Alex Lloyd

Secondary supervisors: Prof George Havenith, Dr Simon Hodder.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014).  In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Graduate School, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Project Detail:
Humans are rarely exposed to a single environmental stressor in isolation. Rather, it is often a combination of stressors (e.g. heat, hypoxia, noise, motion) that place the greatest demands on human functionality. Despite this, the impact of combined stressors on human performance is poorly understood. This doctoral project will aim to investigate the impact of multifactorial environments upon people’s capacity to perform physical and cognitive tasks. Such research may span an array of working, sporting, recreation and clinical environments. As well as developing an integrative understanding of the human response to environmental challenges, this project will aim to advance our understanding of the key factors that limit human performance.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to investigate both the basic scientific principles that underpin human functionality as well as developing novel applications for their findings. Candidates will draw upon current research in cognitive psychology, neurophysiology and thermoregulation to direct their research. Areas of application potentially include exercising in extreme environments e.g. high-altitude, clinical dexterity in helicopters and ambulances, cognitive performance under complex emotional strains, or the use of military technologies in hostile environments.

Applications from a wide range of disciplines are welcomed, including sports and exercise science, ergonomics, physiology, neuroscience, engineering, psychology, user centre design or other life sciences. A background in environmental ergonomics is not essential; but an enthusiasm to pursue a novel approach to research is desired. Candidates will have access to a wide range of ‘cutting edge’ facilities at the Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre, including two environmental chambers, a driving/flying simulator with motion platform and a vision and lighting laboratory. Candidates will have the opportunity to develop a range of research skills and techniques for the assessment of human physical and cognitive performance.

General information about the Design School and Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre can be found at

Entry requirements:
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline (see example list above). A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in environmental physiology/ ergonomics will be advantageous. 

Funding information:
The studentship is for three years and is intended to start in April 2017. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £14,296 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply, however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance. The studentship will be funded by Loughborough Design School with research costs supported by the Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre.  

Contact details:
Dr Alex Lloyd,, +44 (0) 1509 228314

How to apply:
All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Loughborough Design School.  

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Midlands of England