PhD Studentship: Investigating the Effects of Fatigue on Sensorimotor Control across the Lifespan. Sport & Health Sciences

University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Join a world-leading, cross-continental research team

The University of Exeter and the University of Queensland are seeking exceptional students to join a world-leading, cross-continental research team tackling major challenges facing the world’s population in global sustainability and wellbeing as part of the QUEX Institute. The joint PhD programme provides a fantastic opportunity for the most talented doctoral students to work closely with world-class research groups and benefit from the combined expertise and facilities offered at the two institutions, with a lead supervisor within each university. This prestigious programme provides full tuition fees, stipend, travel funds and research training support grants to the successful applicants. 

Ten generous, fully-funded studentships are available for the best applicants, 5 offered by the University of Exeter and 5 by the University of Queensland. This select group will spend at least one year at each University and will graduate with a joint degree from the University of Exeter and the University of Queensland.

Find out more about the PhD studentships

Successful applicants will have a strong academic background and track record to undertake research projects based in one of the three themes of:  Physical Activity and Nutrition; Healthy Ageing; and Environmental Sustainability.


Exeter Academic Lead: Dr Gavin Buckingham

Queensland Academic Lead: Prof Tim Carroll

Project Description
We interact with a range of objects every day, gripping and lifting them with forces which ensure they are rarely damaged or dropped. This skilled behaviour is not a consequence of effective online feedback and control mechanisms - we interact with objects in a predictive fashion, applying grip and load forces which reflect our prior expectations of object weight. This means that when an object has an unexpected weight, we will lift with incorrect forces, which are detected and subsequently corrected to ensure that our next interaction is smooth and efficient. This iteratively-adapting predictive behaviour is automatic and requires no conscious effort. Little is known, however, about what factors can disrupt this key dextrous skill.

Fatigue is a condition which can be induced through a range manipulations, which operate through distinct physiological mechanisms involving the central and peripheral nervous systems. Despite a range of studies investigating the physiological, neuromuscular, and cognitive consequences of fatigue, almost no work has examined the behavioural consequences of fatigue in terms of fingertip force control. This project will be undertaken in the context of healthy ageing, where extreme fatigue is an everyday occurrence induced by a range of commonplace activities, with potentially disastrous consequences to an individual’s health and wellbeing.

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South West England