Understanding factors contributing to and mitigating for thermal strain experienced when working in an explosives ordnance disposal suit

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

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees and general consumable allowance

Duration: Full-Time (42 months)

Application deadline: 1 March 2021

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: May 2021

For queries contact Drs Doug Thake, Ben Lee or Sarah Davey 

About the Project

In collaboration with an industrial partner, work will be conducted to examine the effect of thermal stress experienced when wearing an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) suit. Specific studies will be informed by ongoing work and brokered with the industry partner. These are likely to include i) addressing the ecological validity of our previously established EOD suit testing protocol(s); ii) the effect of varied suit configuration (e.g. wearing EOD feet and hand protection); iii) quantifying the effect of cooling systems worn beneath the body armour (potentially conductive vs. convective); the contribution of cooling different body areas (e.g. effect of additional head cooling coverage). Trials will be conducted at ambient temperatures both above and below resting core body temperature; varied solar loads (radiant heat) may be applied. Key outcome measures will be the magnitude of both physiological and perceptual strain as well as aspects of cognition and manual dexterity measured during physical activity / job related tasks. Metabolic rate and heat flux measures at the skin surface will also provide novel data to help inform operator thermal status.

Current EOD systems and their adjuncts will be tested. Data collected may inform product development alongside user strategies focused on understanding and managing operator thermal load.


This is a fully-funded PhD - tution fee plus bursary and general consumable allowance.


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

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

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