Home based high-intensity interval training for persons with Parkinson’s Disease

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship in the School of Health Professions. The studentship will start on 1 October 2021.

To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Health Studies, then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Health Professions and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Take a look at the Doctoral College's general information on applying for a research degree.

Project description 

Exercise in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an integral part of PD management. However, persons with PD (PwPD) struggle to sustain engagement with exercise, facing logistical and disease-specific barriers including fluctuating symptoms, lack of time and need for support and guidance. Therefore, identifying methods to make exercise accessible, achievable and sustainable is a priority. Whilst studies confirm that PwPD are able to safely and effectively perform aerobic, resistance and balance exercise training at home, it is not known whether home-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT), using minimal or no equipment, can be performed safely and effectively by PwPD. 

Therefore, this project aims to build on previous work, evaluating the practicality and utility of using home-based HIIT for PwPD through:

  • Reviewing the evidence base to establish the effectiveness of HIIT on cardiorespiratory fitness and clinical outcomes in PwPD.
  • Developing a safe and feasible bodyweight HIIT programme for PwPD.
  • Piloting home-based HIIT protocol.
  • Evaluating the practicality and utility of the home-based HIIT programme for PwPD. 

The successful applicant will have an understanding of potential needs of PwPD, an interest in exercise prescription for people with complex health issues and some awareness and experience of research methods and techniques.


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. 

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,609 per annum (2021/22 rate). The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover international fees will have to cover the difference between the home and the international tuition fee rates (approximately £12,697 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Luke Connolly (luke.connolly@plymouth.ac.uk). However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at the University of Plymouth and to apply for this position please visit: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/research-degrees

This vacancy will involve working with children and/or vulnerable adults and any appointment will be subject a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

Please mark it FAO Doctoral College and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Health Professions.

For more information on the admissions process contact the Doctoral College (doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk).

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 7 May 2021. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview on 24 May 2021. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by 18 May 2021 should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.