The impact of personal protective equipment (PPE) worn during the COVID-19 pandemic on health care workers performance and risk of heat stress

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

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees

Duration: Full-Time (42 months)

Application deadline: 30th October 2020

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2021

For further details contact Dr Sarah Davey

Project details

Personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by health care workers (HCWs) in response to the COVID-2019 pandemic increases insulation and impedes evaporation, limiting the ability to dissipate heat.  Therefore, even in cool environments HCWs can often experience heat stress (i.e. increased skin and core temperatures). Heat stress increases the risk of thermal injury and is often, but not always associated with impaired cognitive functioning, particularly in complex cognitive tasks. Combining these factors with the reduction of dexterity found to occur when wearing PPE jeopardises the well-being, safety and performance of HCWs.

This studentship offers an exciting opportunity to evaluate the level of heat stress experienced by HCWs when wearing PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic and how any level of heat stress may affect the physical, cognitive and task-specific performance of HCWs. The project will also involve assessing the efficacy of certain interventions (such as cooling interventions) or operational procedures designed to alleviate selected negative effects of wearing PPE in health care settings. The project will involve a series of laboratory and field based studies working in collaboration with local NHS trusts.


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)

Additional requirements

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

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

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Sarah Davey

Apply to Coventry University
Coventry University ranked 15 in the UK
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year for student experience
QS Five Star Rating 2019
Coventry City of Culture 2021