The study will assess the psychological benefits of taking on a unique physical challenge and examine how those benefits might contribute to a person's overall sense of wellbeing as they recover from physical trauma.
The research is being carried out by Dr Shaunna Burke, a lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Leeds. Dr Burke, an expert mountaineer who scaled Everest in 2005, will climb alongside the group and interview them at intervals during the hike and at the summit.
The research forms part of a larger expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro organised by the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation in Edmonton, Canada. Around 40 people, including doctors, professionals and business people will be attempting the climb alongside the soldiers to raise money for the hospital's new Orthopaedic Surgery Centre. Dr Burke, a Canadian national, was invited to join the expedition to carry out the study.
"We want to look at how the experience and achievement of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can shape the recovery and sense of wellbeing of individuals who have gone through serious injury, or who have undergone joint replacement surgery," explains Dr Burke.
"There has been a lot of emphasis on the positive effects of regular, structured types of exercise on everybody's day-to-day physical and psychological wellbeing, but there little research to explore the potential benefits of less structured, more demanding physical pursuits. We want to better understand how difficult goals - activities that take people outside their comfort zone - contribute to their psychological health."
Among the soldiers taking part in the climb are Corporals Mark Fuchko, a tank driver from Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) and Dallas White, of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, both of whom sustained serious injuries whilst on duty in Kandahar province.
In 2008 Corporal Fuchko's tank struck an improvised explosive device and was severely injured, eventually losing both legs below the knee. He is currently studying part-time at Mount Royal University. Just three years on from his terrible injuries, he says he is looking forward to the challenge.
Corporal White was critically injured in 2010 whilst on patrol, two days before he was due to return home. A friend stepped onto a hidden trigger, setting off an artillery shell that had been buried in the dirt. The blast killed his friend and Corporal White sustained muscle loss in his left leg and damage to his left arm.
He says: "I want to participate in the Kilimanjaro Climb to do more than just confirm that I'm mobile again. I want to reclaim a quality of life that I once thought was going to be lost because of my injuries, and a chance to give something to others who face the same challenges."
Previous research carried out by Dr Burke examined the experiences of a group of breast cancer survivors as they also climbed Mount. Kilimanjaro. The results of her study identified how some women gained a sense of personal strength from their experiences on the mountain and put the trauma of illness behind them.
"Some of my research focuses on the activity of high altitude mountaineering and identifies how scaling mountains affects people psychologically," explains Dr Burke. "The breast cancer survivors in my study felt that each step they took up the mountain was a step further away from cancer."
Dr Burke hopes her research will ultimately be useful in designing programmes for recovery and rehabilitation for patients recovering from serious physical injury or illness.
Graham Askew, Simon Walker, BBSRC (Jan 2018), £699,781
Jennifer Tomlinson, Royal Society (Jan 2018), £512,801
Alex O'Neill and colleagues in Chemistry, BBSRC (Nov 2017), £431,865
Tom Bennett, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £523,679
Neil Ranson, Darren Tomlinson, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £494,318
Nikita Gamper, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £490,426
Amanda Bretman and colleagues from UEA, NERC (Oct 2017), £430,886
Juan Fontana, Rosetrees Trust consumables grant (Oct 2017), £22,500
Helen Miller, DSM Nutritional Products AG (Sep 2017), £69,988
Neil Ranson, Juan Fontana, Mark Harris, Michelle Peckham, Ralf Richter, Peter Stockley, Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle and colleagues in Engineering, FMH and MAPS, Wellcome Trust Equipment Call (Sep 2017), £418,000
Jamie Johnston, Physiological Society (Sep 2017), £10,000
Frank Sobott, Adrian Goldman, Mark Harris, Andrew Macdonald, Stephen Muench, Sheena Radford and colleagues in FMH and MAPS, Wellcome Trust Equipment Call (Aug 2017), £415,000
Ralf Richter, David Brockwell, Eric Hewitt, Jessica Kwok, Emanuele Paci and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £600,000
Eric Blair, Adrian Whitehouse, Nicola Stonehouse, Alison Baker, Richard Bayliss, Joan Boyes, Ryan Seipke, Sally Boxall and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £376,000
Stefan Kepinski, Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, Tom Bennett, Michelle Peckham, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £331,000
Roman Tuma, Lars Jeuken, Paul Millner, Sheena Radford, Peter Stockley and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £222,000
Vas Ponnambalam, Darren Tomlinson, Stephen Wheatcroft, BHF (May 2017), £107,878
Graham Askew in collaboration with Bangor University, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £477,383
Stephen Muench, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £132,945
Nic Stonehouse, MRC (Mar 2017), £906,341
Bill Kunin, Steve Sait, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £602,831
Adrian Goldman, EU (Mar 2017), £546,576
Sheena Radford, Wellcome Trust (Mar 2017), £1,836,482
Tom Bennett, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Jamie Johnston, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Beatrice Filippi, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Ryan Seipke, BBSRC (Feb 2017), £52,116
Mary O'Connell, BBSRC (Feb 2017), £46,986
Hannah Dugdale, NERC (Feb 2017), £504,138
Anastasia Zhuravleva, EPSRC (Jan 2017), £100,792
Richard Bayliss, Cancer Research UK (Jan 2017), £1,600,000
John Barr, EU (Jan 2017), £339,000
Mark Harris, Royal Society (Jan 2017), £250,000
Alison Dunn, NERC (Jan 2017), £105,000
Alex Breeze, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (Jan 2017), £180,000
Alison Dunn, NERC (Dec 2016), £18,000
Lisa Collins, BBSRC (Dec 2016), £1,681,835
Brendan Davies, Leverhulme Trust (Dec 2016), £247,555
Alan Benson, Mark Drinkhill, Ed White, British Heart Foundaion (Dec 2016), £217,223
Adrian Goldman, Royal Society (Dec 2016), £82,999
Lisa Roberts, Alex Breeze, Brendan Davies, Timothy Devinney, Oliver Harlen, Joseph Holden, Anthea Hucklesby, Pamela Jones, Philip Mellor, RCUK (Nov 2016), £484,172
Lisa Roberts, Alex Breeze, Brendan Davies, Timothy Devinney, Oliver Harlen, Joseph Holden, Anthea Hucklesby, Pamela Jones, Philip Mellor, Wellcome Trust (Nov 2016), £119,343
Katie Field, Rank Prize Funds (Nov 2016), £20,000
Jessica Kwok, Royal Society (Nov 2016), £14,948
John Ladbury, Cancer Research UK (Oct 2016), £4,250