Multiphysical helmet liners to enhance equestrian head protection

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    Cardiff University
    United Kingdom
    Natural sciences
    Professions and applied sciences


Horse riders achieve a very high compliance of helmet wearing, yet equestrian activities still represent the highest rate of head-related accident and emergency admissions. One limitation is the protection that can be offered by traditional, foam-based materials. This PhD focuses on identifying emerging design approaches and technologies that provide new opportunities to leverage improved performance that can achieve better head protection products.

This PhD project has been designed to work between Cardiff University and Champion Hats, a successful collaboration established over the past 5 years. Dr Theobald’s research group are experienced researching new concepts within sports engineering, with a specific focus on head protection. Champion Hats have been supplying equestrian protection equipment for 40 years and have the second largest share of the UK riding hat market. The two are separated by only 3 miles, which affords great flexibility and opportunity when aspiring to pull new research ideas and concepts through into a commercial reality.

This PhD will focus on leveraging new research concepts to add value to existing and new products. It is expected that this ambition will be realised by identifying opportunities in research fields including structural optimisation, electronics and material science. The efficacy of these multiphysical approaches will then be investigated using established injury and economic measures, to determine those routes that will achieve superior head protection within a viable business model.

What is funded

Tuition fees at the home/EU rate (£4,407 in 2020/2021) and an annual stipend equivalent to current Research Council rates (approx. £15,285 stipend for academic year 2020/2021), plus support for travel/conferences/consumables.

Funds are also available to support research training, conference attendance and industrial engagement.

Overseas applicants must be able to self-fund the difference between the Home/EU and Overseas fees (currently£20,950 per annum) each year. Please indicate how you will cover this in your application.

Please contact Dr Pete Theobald, TheobaldPS@Cardiff.ac.uk to informally discuss this opportunity


3 years.


Candidates with experience and an understanding of biomechanical and/or mechanical engineering would be preferred, such that their knowledge and experience can add immediate value to this project. Experience working successfully within a team environment and an industrial setting will also be favourably considered, though are not essential.

Candidates should hold or expect to gain a first class degree or a good 2.1 (or their equivalent) in Engineering or a related subject. Candidates with experience and an understanding of biomechanical and/or mechanical engineering would be preferred, such that their knowledge and experience can add immediate value to this project.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)

Applicants should submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University webpages (http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/programmes/programme/engineering ) including;

an upload of your CV

a personal statement/covering letter

two references (applicants are recommended to have a third academic referee, if the two academic referees are within the same department/school)

Current academic transcripts

How to Apply

Applicants should select Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering), with a start date of July or October 2020.

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select "I will be applying for a scholarship / grant" and specify that you are applying for advertised funding, reference PT-SCH-2020


The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.