Ph.D. Studentship | An investigation of athlete awareness of and attitudes towards anti-doping policies and practices in new youth/action sports | Northumbria University. Position closes January 27, 2023


The Olympic programme is rapidly evolving by introducing more youth/action sports and disciplines, such as skateboarding, surfing, BMX freestyle and breakdancing. The attraction of new/action sports is that they are culturally different to mainstream sports. Individuality, freedom, and non-conformity are key motives for participation. The governance of these activities as sports has only recently been formalised, whilst traditionally many participants have seen them as counter-cultures, which manifested freedom and creativity (Batuev and Robinson, 2017) and could be also linked with use of recreational drugs (Borden, 2019). Indeed, many participants resist the associating with accepted definitions and structures of sport. These participants are not necessarily resistant to authority, but they demand authenticity and cultural sensitivity. In contrast to traditional sport structures, actions sports athletes can emerge having had little interaction with governance structures. Consequently, new sport participants can be hard to reach and difficult to inform. As organisational frameworks are being formed around new sports, the anti-doping policies and practices are thought to be a “novelty” for athletes, so awareness of and attitudes towards them are unclear. There is a paucity of information about when, where, and how new sport participants acquire anti-doping knowledge and whether the network of support personnel around competitors may differ to more established sports / disciplines.

We envisage this project to focus on the following objectives:

      • What knowledge of anti-doping code & doping control policies do new youth/action sport participants have;
      • What are their attitudes towards doping and anti-doping practices, for example, effectiveness and fairness of doping testing and sanctions; out-of-competition recreational drugs use; and TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) system;
      • What are key issues and challenges for anti-doping organisations in educating and communicating effectively with participant groups in new youth/action sports;
      • How to improve the effectiveness of anti-doping education programmes in youth / action sports.

The study will build upon the existing literature, in particular the work of Henning and Dimeo (2018) and provide an original and innovative contribution to knowledge in several overlapping fields: international sport governance, anti-doping, athlete education and safeguarding. Conceptually our project will be designed as cross-national cross-sport study, as internationalisation of research is emphasised by our departmental strategy.

Specific sampling characteristics will be developed to target several countries where youth/action sports are reasonably developed, and some professional scene already exists. Interviews and/or focus groups will involve sport participants, coaches, and support team members. The study will embrace the diversity in both elite and non-elite youth/action sports to provide a comprehensive platform for a range of viewpoints.

This project might involve collaborations with national and international partners inside and outside of academies. Partnership with international sport governing body(-ies) will support access to participants and, most importantly, allow the findings to be translated to support these organisations in developing their policies and practices.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Dr Mikhail Batuev and Dr Paul Cook. For informal queries, please contact Dr Mikhail Batuev For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form at the bottom of this page.

Funding Information

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities).

Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements

      • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
      • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
      • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

      • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
      • have settled status, or
      • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
      • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student. Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

      • Immigration Health Surcharge
      • If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.
      • Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England
      • Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (RDF23/RDF/SER/BATUEV).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023


Batuev, M. & Robinson, L. (2017). How skateboarding made it to the Olympics: an institutional perspective. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 17(4-6), 381-402
Borden, I. (2019). Skateboarding and the city: A complete history. Bloomsbury Publishing
Henning, A., & Dimeo (2018) Perceptions of legitimacy, attitudes and buy-in among athlete groups: a cross-national qualitative investigation providing practical solutions. Research Report.

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