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Research themes

In the most recent nationwide evaluation of our research (REF2014), 97% of our research activity was considered to be internationally recognised with a large element of that being deemed to be world-leading.

An important element of our research practices is including students, particularly Masters students, in our research programmes.

All MSc students undertake an independent research project at the culmination of their studies. Whilst students are free to choose to study what interests them the most, the research interests of the team do fall in to one of four broad themes. 

Occupational Performance

Researchers in this theme delivers research and consultancy to enhance the selection, performance, protection and health of personnel working within physically demanding occupations, such as the military, emergency services and industry.

In the past 5 years, Professor Steve Myers and Dr Sam Blacker (Exercise Physiology) have won over £2M for research contracts working with a range of clients.

This research includes researchers from a range of disciplines:

  • Performance Analysis - Matt Robbins and Naomi Datson 
  • Sports Biomechanics - Jason Lake and Neal Smith
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology - Jenny Smith, Ruth Lowry and Iain Greenlees 
  • Attentional training for lifeguards -  Jenny Smith

Health and Well-Being

Researchers in this theme deliver research and consultancy to explore the benefits of sport, exercise and physical activity and the ways in which people can be supported to engage in more physical activity.

Researchers in this theme research how to increase physical activity in workplace settings (Dr Sarah Edmunds & Dr Ruth Lowry, sport and exercise psychology), amongst individuals with heart problems (Dr Mandy Gault, exercise physiology), and amongst recent amputees (Dr Melissa Day, sport and exercise psychology).

In addition, research has also explored the physical and psychological benefits of non-sporting physical activity such as drumming (Dr Marcus Smith and Ruth Lowry, exercise physiology/exercise psychology). 

Nutritional Supplementation in Sport

Research activity in this theme revolves around examining the physical and cognitive benefits of nutritional strategies and supplements.

A specific focus of recent research in this area, led by Professor Mark Willems (exercise physiology), has been examining the effects of taking New Zealand Blackcurrant supplements on physical performance and health. 

Developing Coaches and Athletes

Researchers in this theme deliver research and consultancy to coaches and sporting organisations aimed at enhancing the performance, development and well-being of coaches and athletes.

They explore the physiological, technical and psychological demands of sport with example research projects including understanding the physical demands of women’s football (Naomi Datson, performance analysis) and understanding sources of confidence in academy level high performance football (Iain Greenlees, sport and exercise psychology).

Our researchers are also contributing to the development of strength and conditioning coaching through the work of Jason Lake (strength and conditioning, sports biomechanics) and Matt Smith (sport and exercise psychology).