Using physical exercise to improve the welfare of content

Supervised by Professor Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Dr Fazeelat Duran together with Moonshot CVE

To apply for this project, please include ‘Veldhuijzen van Zanten & Moonshot CVE’ as the project descriptor in the subject heading of your email. 

Physical activity has been suggested as a coping mechanism to deal with stress. Content moderators, analysts working with violent extremist content, are often exposed to the details of distressing experiences of other people as a part of their job. Our recent study with Moonshot CVE, a company dedicated to disrupting and reducing online harms, showed an impact of the exposure to distressing content on mental health, and physical activity was reported as a strategy used to cope with the demands of the job. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop personalised physical activity advice to support coping mechanisms and mental health and wellbeing in people working at Moonshot. We will identify factors that influence the associations between physical activity, coping and mental wellbeing in this population, co-develop a physical activity intervention, and assess its effectiveness. This project provides an exciting opportunity for the postgraduate researcher to work within Moonshot while conducting their research. We expect the positive impact stemming from this project to reach beyond Moonshot and the postgraduate researcher will work with the supervisory team to promote and disseminate details of the project and its findings. 

We are looking for a highly talented and dedicated PhD student with a 1st class or 2:1 degree in the field of (exercise) Psychology/Exercise Sciences/Health Sciences or similar subject. An MSc degree in a relevant area is desirable though not necessary. The candidate will need to work well both independently and as part of a team, have excellent communication skills, and possess an ability to learn research skills quickly and efficiently. Existing vetting is desirable but not essential. 

Informal enquiries about the project prior to application can be directed to Prof Jet Veldhuijzen van Zanten (, Dr Fazeelat Duran ( or Prof Jessica Woodhams (