Project code



School of Health and Care Professions

Start dates

October 2023

Closing date

6 April 2023

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD to commence in October 2023. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Science and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Amy Drahota and Professor Mark Pugh

Candidates applying for this project may be eligible to compete for one of a small number of bursaries available. Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees for three years and a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£17,668 for 2022/23). Bursary recipients will also receive a contribution of £1,500 per year towards consumables, conference, project or training costs.


The work on this project could involve:

  • Undertaking a systematic review of the biomechanical literature to establish the best available specifications for flooring interventions for older people in care settings with regards to shock-absorbency (compliance) and rolling resistance (push-pull forces).
  • Developing a core outcome set for shock-absorbing flooring intervention studies utilising a Delphi survey and consensus meetings.
  • Working internationally with experts in flooring intervention studies, falls and injuries prevention research, clinical practice, statistics, industry representatives, members of the public, and guideline developers.

Falls and related injuries are a prevailing safety concern in geriatric care settings, with lasting repercussions for health and wellbeing. Injurious falls have multiple risk factors and causes, and shock-absorbing flooring is just one of numerous potential preventative approaches. We have recently completed a Health Technology Assessment systematic review of flooring interventions for fall-related injury prevention in care settings (the SAFEST Review). This PhD proposal is born out of the SAFEST Review’s recommendations for future research. The current evidence-base for shock-absorbing flooring is diverse concerning how outcomes are defined, prioritised, measured, analysed and reported; A core outcome set is needed for this field. In addition, with the uncertainty surrounding current flooring solutions, the specifications for improved products to support fall-related injury prevention in care settings need to be established. The SAFEST Review focussed on clinical effectiveness studies, however laboratory and biomechanical studies exist which have not yet been systematically reviewed and can add value to intervention design recommendations. Phase 1 of this PhD will involve a systematic review designed to complement The SAFEST Review. The review will build on a scoping review of flooring research, and previous consensus work for hip protectors. It will seek to summarise what is known about how compliant surfaces need to be to protect against injuries, and the implications of floors for the wider care setting with regards to the influence of compliance on patient mobility/stability, staffing effort and comfort. Phase 2 will involve an online Delphi survey and consensus meetings with an international interdisciplinary panel of experts, following the COMET Initiative (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) handbook, to identify the essential outcomes that flooring intervention studies should measure. The PhD will establish, via international consensus, the minimum requirements that future flooring research for injurious falls prevention needs to address to benefit the field.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

  • Experience in reviewing research evidence is necessary, and topic-specific knowledge in falls and fall-related injuries or a closely related field is desirable.
  • Candidates should be comfortable working with statistical information and be prepared to learn how to analyse and synthesise the review data.
  • Strong communication skills are desired as the candidate will be engaging with stakeholders from different disciplines and backgrounds, including members of the public.


How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Amy Drahota ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SHCP7880423 when applying.