Rachel Young

Dr Rachel Young PhD MSc BSc (hons)

Senior Research Fellow


Rachel is a senior research fellow at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre in Sheffield Hallam University. She is a chartered physiotherapist with expertise in neurological rehabilitation and exercise prescription. Rachel's research interests include the development and evaluation of rehabilitation technologies and accessible exercise solutions. Rachel has experience of collaboration with the commercial and health care sectors to develop new innovations which enable people with complex health changes to engage in physical activity.


Rachel qualified as a physiotherapist in 1995 and gained experience as a clinician within the NHS, specialising in acute neurological rehabilitation and critical care. She completed an MSc in neurological physiotherapy in 2002 and was employed as a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University between 2003 and 2017. Rachel's experience in teaching included leadership in practice based learning, development of post-graduate programmes and team leadership.

Between 2017 and 2020, Rachel transitioned into an associate role with Sheffield Hallam in order to accelerate her programme of doctoral study focussed on power assisted exercise for people with stroke. The experience gained in manufacturing, the leisure sector and clinical practice during this time enabled the development of novel solutions to optimise the delivery of rehabilitation.

In 2020, Rachel was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow at the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre and completed her PhD in January 2023. Rachel has gained a successful track record in grant capture and project delivery including the Innovate UK funded 'AGE4A' project which has furthered the field of research addressed at doctoral level and the current SBRI funded 'Golf in Society' project.

Specialist areas of interest

Exercise prescription
Neurological rehabilitation


Department of Allied Health Professions

College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

Service evaluation of a physical activity programme for long term musculoskeletal conditions: ongoing
Feasibility study to explore the use of accessible isokinetic equipment for people with long term neurological conditions (2013)

Subject area


Modules taught 

Practice based learning


Current research projects

Assisted Gamified Exercise 4 All (AGE4A)
Active Wait
Exoskeleton Exercise for people with MS



Journal articles

Young, R., Sage, K., Broom, D., Hext, A., Snowdon, N., & Smith, C. (2023). Evaluating the usability of a co-designed power assisted exercise graphical user interface for people with stroke. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 20 (1). http://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-023-01207-7

Young, R., Sage, K., Broom, D., Hext, A., & Smith, C. (2022). Effective use of storyboarding as a co-design method to enhance power assisted exercise equipment for people with stroke. Design for Health. http://doi.org/10.1080/24735132.2022.2101257

Young, R., Smith, C., Sage, K., & Broom, D. (2021). Application of the nominal group technique to inform a co-design project on power assisted exercise equipment for people with stroke. Physiotherapy, 113 (Supp 1), e80-e81. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2021.10.049

Fowler-Davis, S., Young, R., Maden-Wilkinson, T., Hameed, W., Dracas, E., Hurrell, E., ... Copeland, R. (2021). Assessing the acceptability of a co-produced long COVID intervention in an underserved community in the UK. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (24). http://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413191

Young, R., Sage, K., Broom, D., Broomfield, K., Church, G., & Smith, C. (2021). Using nominal group technique to advance power assisted exercise equipment for people with stroke. Research Involvement and Engagement, 7. http://doi.org/10.1186/s40900-021-00311-z

Young, R., Broom, D., O’Brien, R., Sage, K., & Smith, C. (2021). Users’ experience of community-based power assisted exercise: a transition from NHS to third sector services. International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being, 16 (1). http://doi.org/10.1080/17482631.2021.1949899

Young, R., Broom, D., Sage, K., Crossland, K., & Smith, C. (2021). Experiences of venue based exercise interventions for people with stroke in the UK: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative research. Physiotherapy, 110, 5-14. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2019.06.001

Young, R., Richards, E., Darji, N., Velpula, S., Smith, C., Broom, D., & Goddard, S. (2018). Power assisted exercise for people with complex neurological impairment : a feasibility study. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 25 (6), 262-271. http://doi.org/10.12968/ijtr.2018.25.6.262

Conference papers

Young, R., Thompson, A., McLean, S., & Grafton, K. (2016). Impact of a physical activity pathway for musculoskeletal conditions: a clinical–academic partnership service evaluation. Physiotherapy, 102 (Suppl1), e250. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physio.2016.10.313


Thompson, A., Mclean, S., Young, R., Khatab, K., Kilner, K., Stagg, R., ... Cooke, J. (2015). THE BACK ACTIVE/STAY ACTIVE PHYSIOTHERAPY MODEL OF CARE: A SERVICE EVALUATION.

Theses / Dissertations

Young, R. (2023). Advancing Power Assisted Exercise for People with Stroke. (Doctoral thesis). Supervised by Smith, C., Sage, K., & Broom, D. http://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00539


Young, R., & Lowe, A. (2015). Integration of vocational qualifications into the curriculum at Sheffield Hallam University to enhance exercise prescription within physiotherapy. Presented at: Physiotherapy UK 2015, Liverpool, UK, 2015

Other activities

Educational representative for the CSP


Presented at Physiotherapy 2015 as a speaker on the workforce development theme.

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