Robert Needham

Senior Lecturer

Health, Education, Policing and Sciences

After completing my undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science, I went on to complete an MSc in Exercise and Sport with a focus on Exercise Physiology and Nutrition. In 2018, I completed a PhD in Biomechanics under the supervision of Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam and Professor Roozbeh Naemi. The PhD examined the coordination and movement variability between the spine and lower limb motion, leading to novel developments in Vector Coding and kinematic modelling of the multi-segment spine.
I have several years of applied experience as a Biomechanist and responsible for conducting biomechanical analyses for the Centre for Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Technologies at Staffordshire University. I am proficient with motion capture, electromyography and force plate technology for gait analysis, and athletic and clinical assessments. My experience includes work with several Premier League Football Clubs.

I have been involved in strength and conditioning for over 15 years and coached male and female athletes in a variety of individual and team-based sports, and from grassroots to an elite performance level. I am a qualified weight lifting coach with British Weight Lifting. My experience includes work for England women’s youth football players (U15’s-U21’s) along with the First Team and Academy at Stoke City Football Club. I have also provided sports science support for GB swimming and athletics.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (FHEA)

  • Staff and Education Development Association (SEDA)

  • International Society of Biomechanics (ISB)

  • International Society of Biomechanics in Sport (ISBS)

  • Footwear Biomechanics Group (FBG)

  • United Kingdom Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA)

  • British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES)

Reviewer: Journal of Sports Sciences, Sports Biomechanics, Journal of Biomechanics, Clinical Biomechanics, Journal of Applied Biomechanics, Gait & Posture, Physical Therapy in Sport, Journal of Sport and Health Science, Journal of Sports Rehabilitation, Science & Sports, Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, The Foot, Footwear Science

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Biomechanics, Staffordshire University, UK, 2018

  • PG Certificate in Research Methods, Staffordshire University, UK, 2013

  • PG Certificate Higher & Professional Education: Staffordshire University, UK, 2012

  • MSc Exercise and Sport: Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, 2007

  • British Weight Lifting Coaching Award, 2005

  • BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science: Staffordshire University, UK, 2002


  • Sport Biomechanics

  • Kinesiology

  • Gait analysis

  • Clinical Biomechanics

  • Strength and Conditioning

Research interests

My research background is in the areas of sport and clinical biomechanics. The focus of my research is on the application of non-linear data analysis techniques to quantify movement coordination and coordination variability. My research interests include clinical gait analysis, understanding the biomechanical demands of exercise and athletic movements, weightlifting, football, and data visualisation and reporting.

Enterprise and commercial interests

  • As part of the London 2012 Olympic events the biomechanical team at Staffordshire University were invited to the prestigious live event at the Science Museum in London.
    Naemi, R. Needham R. and Greenhalgh, A. The role of Biomechanics in sport and activities of daily living. “Engineering London 2012”: London Science Museum, Funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Ingenious grant scheme.

  • In partnership with Stoke City Football Club Staffordshire University was involved in conducting the physical and physiological assessment of the senior players during the pre-season.


Current module leadership:
Fundamentals of Exercise Physiology & Biomechanics (L4)
Biomechanics & Kinesiology (L5)
Applied Biomechanics & Kinesiology (L6)

Level 4, 5 and 6 Biomechanics and Kinesiology for Sport and Exercise Science.

MSc Clinical Biomechanics.


Eddison, N., Chockalingam, N., Healy, A., Needham, R.A., and Unnithan, V. (2018). Exploratory investigation into energy expenditure using tuned versus non-tuned ankle foot orthoses- footwear combinations in children with cerebral palsy. Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics (in press).

Witchel, H.J., Oberndorfer, C., Needham, R.A., Healy, H., Westling, C.E., Guppy, J.H., Bush, J., Barth, J., Herberz, C., Roggen, D., Eskofier, B.M., Rashid, W., Chockalingam, N., and Klucken., J (2018). Thigh-Derived Inertial Sensor Metrics to Assess the Sit-to-Stand and Stand-to-Sit Transitions in the Timed Up and Go (TUG) Task for Quantifying Mobility Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in Neurology, 14;9:684.

Eddison, N., Healy, A., Needham, R.A., and Chockalingam, N. (2017). Shank-to-Vertical Angle in Ankle-Foot Orthoses: A Comparison of Static and Dynamic Assessment in a Series of Cases. Journal of Prosthetics & Orthotics 29(4):161-167.

Needham R.A., Stebbins J, Chockalingam N (2016). Three-Dimensional Kinematics of the Lumbar Spine during Gait using Marker Based Systems: A Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology. 40 (4):172-185.

Needham, R.A., Naemi, R., and Chockalingam, N. (2015). A new coordination pattern classification to assess gait kinematics when utilizing a modified vector coding technique. Journal of Biomechanics. 48(12):3506-11.

Needham, R.A., Naemi, R., Healy, A., and Chockalingam, N. (2016). Multi-segment kinematic model to assess three-dimensional movement of the spine and back during gait. Prosthetics & Orthotics International. 40(5):624-35.

Bodden, J.G., Needham, R.A., and Chockalingam, N. (2015). The effect of an intervention program on functional movement screen test scores in mixed martial art athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 29(1):2219-25.

Needham, R.A., Naemi, R., and Chockalingam, N. (2014) Quantifying lumbar-pelvis coordination during gait using a modified vector coding technique. Journal of Biomechanics. 47(5):1020-6.

Needham, R.A., Morse, C., and Degens, H. The Acute Effect of Different Warm-up Protocols on Anaerobic Performance in Elite Youth Soccer Players (2009). Journal Strength & Conditioning Research 23(9):2614-2620.

Book Chapters:
Richards, J., Thewlis, D., Needham, R.A., Chockalingam, N (2018). Motion and Joint Motion. In The Comprehensive Textbook of Clinical Biomechanics (2nd Ed). Elsevier.

Richards, J., Thewlis, D., Needham, R.A., Chockalingam, N (2018). Anatomical Models and Marker Sets. In The Comprehensive Textbook of Clinical Biomechanics (2nd Ed). Elsevier.

Needham, R.A, Healy, A, Chockalingam, N. (2016). Trunk and Spine Models for Instrumented Gait Analysis. In Handbook of Human Motion. Springer.

Chockalingam, N., Healy, A., Needham, R.A. (2016). Interpreting Ground Reaction Forces in Gait. In Handbook of Human Motion. Springer.

A complete list of publications and conference proceedings (PDF, file size: 126.35KB)

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021