Funded PhD opportunities

The biomechanics and motor control of human gait

  • Application end date: 15th December, 2017
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK students only)
  • Department: Department of Sport and Exercise Science
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Matt Dicks, Dr Chris Mills

Applications are invited for a fully-funded, three-year PhD studentship at the University of Portsmouth, to commence at the beginning of February, 2018. This PhD is in conjunction with the Health and Safety Laboratory and the successful applicant will get the opportunity to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that brings together expertise in the study of gait and balance, eye movements, motor control and human factors. A second PhD student, who has already been appointed, has commenced work on the project and therefore the successful applicant will be joining an expanding research group. 


The purpose of this PhD project is to develop understanding of how gait and eye movements are coordinated together during the planning and control of locomotion. Integrated eye movement and gait measures will be developed during the project to examine the control of movement during everyday activities, such as collision avoidance when navigating through busy crowds or negotiating changing terrain, including escalators and moving walkways. Findings from the experimental work will be used to help inform interventions with a view to reducing the frequency of incidents, such as falls, that occur in public spaces. For instance, evidence from the research could be used to help inform the design and operation of escalators or moving walkways to help make them safer for vulnerable users such as those at risk of a fall. 

Entry Requirements

Applications from candidates with a background in biomechanics, human factors, motor control, experimental psychology or a related subject area are welcomed. The successful applicant will receive training and support to develop the skills that will enable the novel integration of eye movement (eye-tracking) and gait (motion capture) measures. We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic and committed candidate with excellent interpersonal and organisational skills as well as an understanding of quantitative research methods.


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Matt Dicks on 02392 845170 ( or Dr Chris Mills on 02392 845294 (

The start date for this fully-funded PhD will be at the beginning of February 2018. Closing date for the application is the 15th December 2017 and interviews will take place week commencing 8th of January 2018.

Supervisor profiles

Dr Matt Dicks

Dr Chris Mills

How to Apply

The start date for this fully-funded PhD will be February 2018. The closing date for the application is the 15th December 2017 and interviews will take place at an arranged time in the week commencing the 8th January 2018

You can apply online by submitting your CV, two references and copies of any relevant qualifications. Please quote the project code - SPES3631018 when prompted. In your application, please indicate your motivation for applying for the post and also outline how your experience and skill-set will contribute to the project. If English is not your first language, please provide evidence of IELTS (score of 6.5, with no component falling below 6.0).

More information on research in the Deprtment of Sport and Exercise sciences can be found here:

All applications should use our standard online application form and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpages:

When applying please note the project code - SPES3631018

Funding notes

The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum as well as a waiver of tuition fees. The successful candidate will also receive full access to the University’s Graduate School Development Programme, research training, and internal qualifications that enable applications for Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.