Sports students conducting research with regional sports teams

Three PhD students working with teams in football, cricket and rugby

PhD students from the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences are providing key insight and performing innovative research with three prominent sports teams within the West Midlands.

Innovative research, professional clubs

Daniel Jackson is working with professional football club Kidderminster Harriers to ensure their small squad’s workloads are managed efficiently in order to minimise injuries and achieve the ultimate goal of promotion back to the Football League. Meanwhile, Tom Brown’s research into the lack of professional cricketers with a South Asian heritage has secured him on-the-ground research with Warwickshire Cricket Club. Finally, Francesco Dimundo is working with an established rugby team to assess the pathway and trajectory of their academy players. All three of the researchers are based within the Department of Sport and Exercise.

‘Amazing’ PhD support

All three students believe the University has provided them with the resources they need to thrive, as well as the guidance of their supervisors. “When you start the PhD process, you’re not sure of what the journey is going to be like as it’s not a set structure,” Tom says. “To have people supporting you is instrumental. Myself and my supervisors have regular meetings and as a PhD community we all help each other out. I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

Francesco was enticed by the state-of-the-art facilities. “The new Sport and Exercise Department excited me, as it’s a new group formed by specialists with lots of experience,” he says. “I really wanted to be a part of this venture and collaborate as much as possible.”

Collaboration is key

Dr Adam Kelly, Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science, believes collaborative research projects such as these are key. “We want to push a practice-led, knowledge-applied approach where students aren’t just in classrooms; they’re actually going out and applying knowledge that they are taught,” he says. “Generating a relationship with external clubs and organisations brings a host of benefits. It allows our researchers to gain additional skills, while their research will provide considerable impact to the three clubs and beyond. It’s important to also share the knowledge through publications and conference proceedings, to support our efforts to be a leading sport and exercise research hub.”

What our partners say...

"We endeavour to be a world leading player pathway, and we anticipate this investigation will support these efforts. Francesco is using a multidimensional approach to study our players, while also complementing our staffing structure from a strength and conditioning perspective.”

Chim Gale, Academy Manager for Rugby team

"We have been working with Birmingham City University for 18 months and have set up a testing and educational days for our first team, Under 23 and Under 18 squads, which has been a huge success. This has now been taken to the next level with Dan’s PhD. His expertise and knowledge will allow injury prevention methods to be implemented across the entire club.”

Adam Crowle, Chief Operating Officer, Kidderminster Harriers 

"We are delighted that the PhD studentship is underway and the progress it has made to date. We thank Tom, as well as the excellent staff at Birmingham City University, for their hard work and fruitful partnership."

Paul Greetham, Elite Cricket Development Manager, Warwickshire Cricket Club