Funded studentships available

We have up to 3 funded PhD studentships available in the field of personalised rehabilitation for musculoskeletal and spinal pain. These PhDs are available full time and are campus based.

  • Deadline: 2 November 2016
  • Interview date: Monday 7 November pm
  • Start date: January 2017

Research excellence

We are one of the leading research departments in the country, as reflected by our outstanding performance in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework exercise. With 90 percent of its research classified as world leading or internationally excellent our School is ranked in the top three for research in the sector.

The School in based in the largest custom-built Sport and Exercise facility in the UK, with state of the art research labs dedicated to exercise testing and sample analysis across the spectrum of sport, exercise and rehabilitation sciences including: physiology, biochemistry, psychophysiology, biomechanics, sport psychology, motor skills, immunology, muscle mechanics and the neurophysiology of movement.

The PhD Programme

Research is an essential component of the School's activity. Because of this, we believe that it is very important to invest in excellence in postgraduate training and research infrastructure, and to maintain an intellectually stimulating environment that supports high quality research. We have a vibrant postgraduate community, with over 50 doctoral researchers currently registered. We provide a supportive environment, with plenty of opportunities for you to meet fellow researchers, both socially and to discuss and present your work.

The School accords a high priority to the development of a thriving postgraduate research culture. We are keen to attract the next generation of spinal pain scholars and to encourage innovative research.

Supervisors and research focus

These PhDs are supervised by an experienced team of researchers in spinal pain, musculoskeletal pain and musculoskeletal physiotherapy: Professor Deborah Falla, Dr Alison Rushton and Dr Nicola Heneghan.

It is widely acknowledged that assessment and management of musculoskeletal and spinal pain disorders is an international challenge and comes at great patient and societal cost, particularly as many problems become long term chronic conditions. In the UK, direct costs of low back pain alone are estimated to be £2.8 billion annually.

We are developing and validating new assessment protocols which offer new opportunities to objectively characterise the presentation of patients presenting with musculoskeletal and spinal pain. As a result this enables appropriate identification of patient-specific safe targeted interventions. Effective targeted rehabilitation can enable improved effectiveness (clinical and cost) as it identifies which patients to target with specific rehabilitation approaches, and therefore enables more effective use of rehabilitation resources. The process of developing effective targeted rehabilitation is lengthy and requires several stages to ensure rigour and applicability to practice.

PhD projects

  • Understanding the mechanisms underlying the transition from acute to chronic pain
  • Enhanced management of acute post-traumatic pain for the prevention of chronic pain and disability
  • Enhanced management of idiopathic spinal pain for the prevention of chronic pain and disability



Stipend of £14,296 per year for three years = £42,888.

Informal enquiries

Please contact Professor Deborah Falla to discuss your interest:

+44 (0)121 41 47253


Entry requirements

Information on Entry Requirements can be found at

Overseas / international applicants

Applicants would be responsible for the difference between Home/EU and International programme fees.


How to Apply
Prospective students are advised to contact the Postgraduate Office for guidance before making a formal application. Formal applications should be made using the University of Birmingham Online Application Service. For information on how to apply online, please see:

Further Information

School Postgraduate Office

Telephone:  0121 415 8285