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Marie Curie Project on Sports Head Injuries - Development of New Equestrian Helmet Standard Tests for Impact Protection

Development of New Equestrian Helmet Standard Tests for Impact Protection

Level: PhD, Funded €40-70k, 3 years

A full time research position (3 years) is available at Charles Owen to participate in a pan-European project with the overall goal of improving the safety of helmets for end users.

This project is part of a Marie-Curie Innovation Training Network, HEADS (Head protection: a European training network for Advanced Designs in Safety). There are six partners, three industry (Charles Owen, UK; Lazer Sport, Belgium; and AGV, Italy) and three academic (University College Dublin, Ireland; KU Leuven, Belgium; KTH Stockholm, Sweden), who together, will host 13 PhDs. The successful candidate will be based within the Research and Development unit at Charles Owen, Rhostyllen, UK.

As part of the Marie Curie training programme, the candidate will also be registered for a PhD at University College Dublin and will spend a secondment period of 6 months based on campus at UCD, Dublin, Ireland.

About the Project

The scientific goal of HEADS is to improve the understanding of head impact injury and to design new helmet standard test methods that recognise the influence of rotational kinematics. This will lead to improved helmets and a reduction in the severity of injuries and the numbers of fatalities. This objective will be achieved through a combination of computational simulations of real-life accidents, experimental and computational investigation of injury thresholds, and design of new helmet certification tests.

The specific goal of this project is to strengthen the scientific basis of equestrian helmet tests to evaluate helmet protection effectiveness under linear and/or rotational accelerations The candidate will be expected to develop a simple test method that allows a cost-effective, yet realistic evaluation, of equestrian helmets, including a scientifically based proposal for a pass-fail criteria that can be used to evaluate new and current helmets.


The successful candidate is offered a 3 year full time contract with Charles Owen. Additionally, they will receive highly specialised training, making them an expert in head impact biomechanics and helmet design technologies as well as being aware of commercialisable market opportunities. The candidate will benefit from a training scheme developed based on the expertise of academic and industrial partners. This project will reach a new level of understanding of head injury and how head injury should be prevented, with directly applicable results to European industry.


Candidate must hold a Bachelor’s or Master’s in Mechanical, Materials, Biomedical Engineering or equivalent. Exceptional experimental design knowledge is considered a plus. The candidate should be able to display a strong aptitude and enthusiasm for Engineering Research at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

The candidate cannot have resided in the UK for more than 12 months in the last 3 years prior to the start of the position.

Closing date - 1st April 2015. Please go to for details on the application process.

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