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GRTA Studentship Opportunity: Menstrual Cycle Monitoring and Performance in Sport

Birmingham City University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: please see advert text.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th September 2021
Closes: 26th September 2021
Reference: GRTA-HS2

Contact for informal enquiries: Dr Irmgard Haussmann (Irmgard.Haussmann@bcu.ac.uk)

There is fast growing interest and appetite for female sport, as evidenced by an increase in investment, media coverage, and elite participation. Yet there is a dearth of female athlete-specific research; likely due, in part, to limited research that has sought to consider and investigate the menstrual cycle, and how it affects performance.

Indeed, a large body of evidence reports that hormonal fluctuations experienced during the menstrual cycle are associated with a huge number of health and performance outcomes. These hormonal fluctuations extend from menarche to the menopause in a circamensual rhythm that broadly ranges from 21 days to 35 days. There is high inter and intra individual variability in the menstrual cycle (even among regularly menstruating individuals), and this is complicated still by hormonal contraceptive use. Moreover, the prevalence of menstrual ill health in sportswomen has been reported to vary between 6-79% (Warren and Perlroth 2001). It is plausible that changes to the menstrual cycle could be higher still, given evidence that elite Australian athletes have experienced menstrual cycle changes in light of the pandemic (McNamara et al., 2020). The evidence to date demonstrating the individuality of the menstrual cycle highlights the importance of monitoring the cycle and investigating the associated symptoms (for example tiredness, cramps, sore back, loss of appetite etc.) and impact (both positive and negative). Therefore, this interdisciplinary project aims to investigate 1) the current menstrual cycle monitoring/tracking practices of athletes, 2) the efficacy of different methods including activity monitoring using wearable devices to predict ovulation and menstrual cycle phase in athletes and 3) the effect of menstrual cycle phase on athletic performance, training routines and/or recovery.

It is expected that the impact of this research would be wide reaching. Certainly, the outcomes of this research will enable athletes, coaches, and future practitioners to better understand menstrual cycle monitoring and the associated performance impacts in athletes.

Funding Information

This 48 month (4 year) full-time fully-funded GRTA Studentship comprises of two elements:

  • 1) 75 tax-free stipend of £11,707 per annum (paid monthly). The bursary is renewable annually for up to 48 months in total, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD research. 
  • 2) 25 fixed term contract of employment (Assistant Lecturer) - renewable for up to 48 months in total, subject to satisfactory performance and progression within your PhD research. The pro rata salary for 2021-22 is £7,708 (paid monthly). 

This funding model also includes a FT Home fees studentship (£4,500 for 2021-22) for up to 4 years, subject to you making satisfactory progression within your PhD research.

This opportunity is open to UK, EU and Overseas applicants. International fee status applicants will be required to meet the difference in fee costs from their own funds

How to Apply

To apply, please complete an online application. In place of a personal statement applicants are required to upload a research proposal explaining their ideas about the selected project topic and how it might be studied. Please ensure you state the project reference GRTA-HS2 on your proposal form.

Deadline for Applications

The closing date for applications is 23.59 on Sunday 26th September 2021 for a February 2022 start.

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