Images: a. hockey play on a sand-based surface; b. a brushed 3G rubber crumb surface; c. rain guns watering a ‘wet’ artificial surface before play. d. evidence of uneven drainage on a ‘wet’ surface; e. ball rebound on a ‘wet’ surface; f. players sliding on a ‘wet’ surface
This three-year PhD studentship will address the limitations in current guidance, supported by the FIH agenda to enhance the game, providing enhanced methods to evaluate the playability of different surfaces for the future.
There exists a current gap between the FIH accreditation of pitches using a range of simple mechanical test devices and player anecdotal feedback of variation in the play performance quality of dry and wet fields. This knowledge gap is a significant hindrance to the future introduction of alternative surfaces (and new equipment such as balls/sticks) into the game.
A further significant concern to the FIH is the current high volumes of clean water required to be applied to what are termed ‘wet’ play surfaces, before a game, to make them suitable for competitive play and the effective regulation of the irrigation technologies.
The FIH are keen to help drive the industry toward more sustainable sports facilities for the long-term good of the game, including using dry fields for elite level competitions, ideally with no compromise in performance. The research will address understanding aspects of the changes in performance from wet to dry, and associated player perceptions and performance. The research will also inform the development and testing of future technologies (such as dry fields and balls and sticks designed for use on dry fields).
The industry partner, FIH, will co-manage the project, with regular monthly meetings at LU. The FIH also bring to the project a wealth of experience on product technologies, testing methods, player feedback and access to playing facilities and players for the proposed research testing.
The proposed project aims to investigate many aspects of the player feedback on playing quality and test data of surfaces used in high level competition and training. The research will include both qualitative and quantitative approaches to measuring playability, using the players and associated mechanical testing techniques. The feasibility of using video match game analysis of play performance will also be explored.
The key outcomes anticipated are:
- Player (and mechanical) testing protocols to measure playability (and state) of a surface
- Comparison and contrast between play performance of a range of playing surfaces and their conditioning (i.e. watering).
- informing the sustainable development of future surface technologies (such as dry fields) and for balls and sticks.
- underpinning research to inform FIH decision making and is expected to attract wide interest from the industry.
The successful candidate will work alongside a parallel project on ball development and join the internationally recognised Sport Surfaces Research Group working across projects in sport surface safety and performance.
The research is supported by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) through its innovation partnership with Loughborough University, collaborating with several parties regarding programme management and access to players and facilities.
Academic: Dr Paul Fleming & Dr Jon Roberts
Industry: Alastair Cox, Facilities & Quality Programme Manager FIH
Find out more:
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 Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.
Find out more about study at Loughborough: www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/supporting-you/research/
The School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering was ranked first for research environment in Architecture, Built Environment and Planning, with 95% of research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for its influence on society, the economy and policy.
The Sports Technology Institute (STI) is home to the Sports Technology Research Group, one of the world’s leading research groups of its kind and the largest in the UK.
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific or engineering discipline. A relevant master’s degree and/or relevant employment experience will be an advantage. A strong interest or/and experience in measuring player perception and/or experimental testing (field and laboratory) is desirable.
The studentship is for three years and is intended to start by July 2019. The studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,777 for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to UK/EU applicants. The project funding includes a budget for training, travel and IT support.
For further information about the project, please contact:
Name: Dr Paul Fleming
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 222 616
For information about the application process, please contact:
Name: Mr Berkeley Young
Email address: email@example.com
Telephone number: +44 (0)1509 222 611
How to apply:
All applications should be made online at www.lboro.ac.uk/study/apply/research/. Under programme name, please select Civil and Building Engineering.
Start date of studentship: by 1 July 2019
Closing date of advert: 3 March 2019
Interview date: w/c 11 March 2019
Please quote reference number: ABCE18/PF5Läs mer