Team GB Olympic torch

Life Beyond Sport


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

31 May 2021

About our partnership with Team GB

The University’s partnership with Team GB was announced in January 2019 and includes the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The partnership is borne out of a synergy between the University’s ambitions and values, and those of Team GB, and is built on the belief that there is the extraordinary in everyone. The partnership has gone from strength to strength, and we have recently announced double Olympic Champion, Max Whitlock, as our new ambassador as part of our two-year anniversary celebrations.

Find out more about our partnership with Team GB.

About this project

Retirement from sport is an extremely significant ‘hot topic’ in contemporary sports research and is an area of huge importance to Team GB. Very little is understood about the lives of retired athletes, including how their experiences of elite sport will govern their lives after being a competitive athlete. This research aims to fill the gaps in this area and to provide critical knowledge that can be used to support athletes’ careers and well-being in their life beyond sport.

Using a socio-cultural poststructuralist lens, the successful candidate will use an in-depth qualitative approach in the form of semi-structured interviews with retired athletes and, significantly, will consider the role of current and/or retired coaches. Whilst based primarily in the department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science at the University of Hull, you will work with a variety of stakeholders and partners to conduct your research and analyse your findings.

This unique project will place you at the forefront of contemporary research into an extremely timely and current topic. You will help Team GB better understand how elite sport can positively influence competitors’ lives after retirement and also the challenges they face. Crucially, the aim is for your research is to inform and shape support provision for athletes both in the years preceding and post retirement.

Find out more at our webinar

To find out more about the Team GB PhD projects and to hear direct from Team GB and the personal supervisors you can register to attend a webinar on Wednesday 12 May at 6 pm. This is your opportunity to ask questions and also to find out more from your potential future supervisors. Register to attend here.

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme.

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help. 

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The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the college is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain the slavery.

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The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant/stipend for three years, which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 21/22 is £4500 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £15609. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.

Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship.

If you need to move into a fourth year to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period.

Entry requirements

Candidates will need to have a strong interest in the socio-cultural analysis of sports contexts, sports retirement studies and sports coaching practices. Candidates will require an undergraduate degree in Sports Science, Sports Coaching, Sociology, or Education with at least a 2.1.

A Masters degree or relevant experience outside academia would be advantageous.

We would very much welcome applications from retired high-performance athletes from any sport, as we appreciate the unique insights that your previous experience as an athlete will bring to the project. Your experience in the field of elite sport will be taken into account when assessing your academic qualifications.

For more details on our entry requirements please visit the postgraduate admissions webpage.

This scholarship is available for full-time study only and not open to candidates who have already obtained a PhD.

International applicants

This opportunity is open to Home candidates only.

How to apply

Apply here, providing a personal statement, of no more than 800 words outlining:

  • What motivates you to pursue PhD study
  • Why you are interested in this project
  • How your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need
  • The wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.