Postgraduate & Internship Opportunities


Postgraduate Opportunity

Funded PhD Postgraduate Research Student

Project details

Applications are invited to undertake a full-time three-year PhD by research in the Department of Health, South East Technological University, Carlow on the following project:

An assessment of the current state of knowledge in relation to the role modern footwear / barefoot activities play in relation to musculoskeletal development, human health and disease.

This project contributes to a global scientific strategy that investigates illness associated with urban living. The mismatch hypothesis describes how our modern environment, not suited to our evolutionary biology which was adapted to live in nature, contributes to making us ill. High sugar diets, modern footwear, concrete, excessive screen time and a lack of exercise combine to make us ill. Our contribution to this scientific strategy is to understand the role that modern footwear plays in the development of the musculoskeletal system, health and disease.

Humans have been walking and running barefoot for millions of years. It is only in the last few centuries that people have started wearing shoes. Differences in foot structure between those who have never worn shoes and those who are usually in shoes have been described for over a century. The main developmental result of growing up in shoes appears to be a narrower foot and a lower arch. The result of this is more concentrated pressure at the heel and the ball of the foot during movement. Emerging research has begun to demonstrate differences in movement strategies, impact forces experienced and the nature of injury between shod and barefoot populations.

Research in this field has grown exponentially during the last two decades. Therefore, the aim of this review based (non-experimental) PhD is to consolidate existing knowledge on the topic. The aim of the reviews will be to understand the role that modern footwear / barefoot activities play in relation to musculoskeletal development, human health and disease.

Please note that a 2.1 or above BSc and or an MSc in a related (sport/health/exercise/therapy) field is the minimum requirement.


To be considered for interview, please download the Postgraduate Application Form and return the completed form together with an expression of interest to Sarah O’Brien: quoting CW_2022_01_PF and the project title in the Subject Line.

For any informal queries about the research project, please contact Dr Peter Francis on

Application Deadline

5th December 2022 at 4.00pm

Download Application here »