Heat illness and health of emergency first responders wearing personal protective clothing in hot weather during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees

Duration: Full-Time – 42 months

Application deadline: 30 October 2020

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2021

For further details contact Dr Ben Lee.

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship

Project details

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in healthcare workers and emergency first responders being required to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to interact with patients/the public worldwide. While essential for protecting workers from the virus, PPE makes it more difficult to lose body heat, and increases the risk of heat related health complications. Globally the associated increased risk of PPE related exertional heat illness is likely to hamper emergency services personnel during COVID-19 responses.

To further complicate matters, the working population are less fit, older, and with a higher prevalence of chronic disease; a combination of risk factors known to increase susceptibility to both heat illness and COVID-19. Additionally, prior viral infection with febrile or infectious diseases are also known predisposing factors for heat intolerance.

This multidisciplinary project will use physiological and biochemical techniques to better understand health risks posed to emergency first responders deployed during heatwaves. Climate chamber testing, simulated occupational tasks, and field based data collection will be used to quantify the risk to health, and determine whether prior SARS-CoV2 infection is an additional risk factor that must be considered in relation to heat intolerance.


This is a fully-funded PhD studentship, including:

  • Full tuition fees
  • Stipend/bursary
  • Additional allowances


Training and development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant area to the project. This includes human physiology, exercise physiology, human biology or sport science.

Applicants with laboratory experience and excellent interpersonal skills for working with human volunteers are preferred but not essential.

A Master’s degree or equivalent qualification or other evidence of research skills and experience is preferred but not essential.


How to apply

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Ben Lee

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus an up to 2000-word statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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