Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

This fully funded PhD project provides an exciting opportunity to pursue postgraduate research in the areas of appetite, energy balance and obesity. This PhD will explore the changes in laboratory and free-living measures of appetite, energy intake and energy expenditure during energy restriction to better understand the mechanisms that oppose weight loss in humans. Particular focus will be given to the role of changes in lean mass and how these changes impact appetite control. The successful PhD candidate will join a multi-disciplinary team interested in the control of appetite and energy balance, and conduct their PhD as part of a larger dietary weight loss study funded by a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (PI; Dr Mark Hopkins). This wider project integrates measures of whole-body and tissue-organ composition and energy expenditure with physiological and psychological measures of appetite, and free-living energy balance tracking technology is used to measure energy intake and expenditure outside of the laboratory.

Full description

While a lack of adherence to dietary weight loss interventions is often assumed to undermine weight loss attempts and promote weight regain, changes in biological and behavioural components of energy balance can occur following weight loss that promote increased appetite and energy intake alongside reductions in energy expenditure. The interaction between biology and behaviour during periods of energy deficit is therefore central to our understanding of why people often fail in their attempts to lose and maintain weight loss over time. However, the underlying physiological, behavioural or psychological mechanisms that promote changes in energy intake and energy expenditure, and how these interact during periods of energy deficit, remain poorly defined.


The successful candidate will ideally be familiar with the measurement of body composition, energy expenditure, physical activity, or food intake in humans, and have an interest in appetite and energy balance, weight management or human health. The PhD will be based in the School of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Leeds under the supervision of Dr Mark Hopkins, and will be co-supervised by Prof. James Stubbs and Dr Kristine Beaulieu (Appetite Control & Energy Balance research group, University of Leeds).

Applicants should have a first or upper second-class degree (or equivalent) in human physiology or nutrition, sport and exercise science, psychology, or another health-related discipline. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one of the following areas will be advantageous; human physiology or nutrition, sport and exercise science, psychology or another health-related discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Environment minimum requirements for this PhD are: British Council IELTS – score of 6.5 overall, with no element less than 6.0. The test must be dated within 2 years of the start of the course in order to be valid.

Entry requirements

Applicants to this scholarship in the Food Science and Nutrition should normally have a First class Undergraduate degree (or international equivalent) AND/ OR a Distinction (or predicted Distinction) in their Masters degree (both in an appropriate discipline). Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

Other conditions

  • Applicants must not have already been awarded or be currently studying for a doctoral degree.
  • Awards must be taken up by 1st October 2024.
  • Applicants must live within a reasonable distance of the University of Leeds whilst in receipt of this scholarship.

For more information on entry requirements and how to apply, please see the project page on the University of Leeds website.

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