The PIRL is accepting applicants for graduate student positions


Western University Canada (The University of Western Ontario) is one of Canada's leading research-intensive universities, consistently ranked amongst the top Canadian universities in the category of student experience.  The Pain and Quality of Life Integrative Research Lab generally accepts between 1 and 3 new graduate-level thesis-based research students per year at either the Master's or PhD level.  Dr. Dave Walton is eligible to supervise students across many fields of the Health and Rehabilitation Science graduate program, including:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Health Professional Education
  • Rehabilitation Science
  • Measurement and Methods
  • Others can be sough as needed

The PIRL offers dedicated research space for graduate students and access to most software that would be required for graduate-level work, including SPSS, MatLab, Comprehensive Meta-Analysis, MPlus, the full Microsoft Office suite and others.  The lab currently houses 3 dedicated desktop computers for students and additional desk space for those wishing to use their own laptops.  The lab also includes an OptoTrak 3D motion capture system, a full suite of wearable motion and biophysical sensors from Shimmer Sensors Inc., a rear-end collision simulation apparatus and high-speed digital camera.  We also have close working relationships with other faculties and departments, including the Lawson Health Research Institute (for access to hospital-based research), the world-class Robarts Research Institute housing several institutions, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Faculties of Social Science, Computer Science, and Engineering.  The Faculty of Health Sciences offers a guaranteed level of base funding to MSc and PhD students, the amount of which varies slightly year to year but is generally enough to cover tuition fees with a little left over for living.  Enquire for more details on guaranteed funding.

Dr. Walton is a respected supervisor and mentor, having received the National Mentorship Award from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association in 2014.  His supervisory style can best be described as supportive while not micro-managing.  He expects graduate students, especially those at the PhD level, to demonstrate independence in their learning, but is always available to offer assistance if needed.  While still considered a new investigator, having started his current position in July 2010, he does everything he can to bring students in on research projects as time and funds allow.  His primary research foci are:

  • Clinical measurement and psychometrics
  • Musculoskeletal pain assessment, prognosis and treatment
  • Knowledge translation and exchange including systematic review, meta-analysis, and integration of consumer technologies
  • Integrative psychobiological research

Western University is located in beautiful London, Ontario, known as 'The Forest City' for its thousands of trees.  A city of over 350,000 people and growing, London is perfectly located almost precisely midway between the Windsor/Detroit corridor and the 'Golden Horseshoe' of Toronto/Hamilton, offering easy travel for both domestic and international students.  Nestled snugly within the Great Lakes region, London boasts hot summers (averaging over 30 degrees C in July/August) and cold winters (averaging around -5 to -10 deg. C in December/January), meaning you can swim at one of the local beaches in the summer and ski or snowboard in the winter.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact Dr. Walton to express their interest near the end of the year prior to that in which they would like to start.  In most cases, you will be requested to provide a copy of your transcript and CV or resume, evidence of fluency in English where applicable, and a 1-page written proposal of a research project you would like to carry out (note that the latter is to provide an example of your ability to write, form and idea, and express it in a cohesive and efficient manner.  The project you describe may or may not be one you actually end up doing).  Decisions on who to invite to the lab are made by the end of February for a September start, offering ample time to prepare.

If you have any further questions, or to contact Dr. Walton, you may do so by sending an email to dwalton5@uwo.ca.