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The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences has a strong and energetic research culture driven by committed staff and students divided into two distinct groups – Sociology of Sport and Exercise and Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences. Both groups maintain a purposeful and progressive research programme that makes positive contributions to applied practice, sports policy and teaching. The two research groups continue to be representations of staff research and practitioner expertise, engagement with practice and continue to inform the strong taught and research postgraduate programmes housed within the department. The research from both groups has continued to employ theoretically- and practically-informed, empirical and applied research illustrated by a breadth of intellectual and methodological approaches. At the same time, the groups have also sought to adopt more extensive methodologies, including the use of inter-disciplinary approaches to offer more robust and comprehensive answers to key applied questions. The continued engagement and close collaboration of both groups with those in sport, exercise and teaching environments has ensured practitioner-driven questions remain at the heart of the department’s research objective. The Department’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 results showed that a significant amount of our research activity is internationally excellent or world-leading. 

Staff and postgraduate research is positively developed in an energetic environment that provides the opportunity to disseminate and discuss research through Department research seminars. This facilitates an interdisciplinary approach to a number of research questions, which have evolved from identified real life problems. Recent successful research projects in the Department have included: the influence of carbohydrate and protein ingestion on recovery of performance after intermittent high intensity running; the development of a novel rugby league match simulation protocol; the effects of exercise-induced muscle damage on exercise performance; a longitudinal analysis of performance, growth and maturation in youth rugby league players: implications for talent identification and development; young people, sport and leisure: a sociological study of youth lifestyles, education and welfare provisions in professional football academies in England; The 2012 London Olympics Sporting Legacy: A case study of Birmingham; and a sociological analysis of the impact of money on the development of relationships in the working lives of professional football players.

The applied nature of the Department’s research and its impact on informing sporting practice has been recognized as internationally excellent (REF2014). This is directly underpinned by the Department’s strong collaborative links with several external partners, including: The Rugby Football League, the England Touch Association, St Helens Rugby League Club, Warrington Wolves Rugby League Club, England Handball Association, The English Institute of Sport, Premier League Football clubs, British Cycling, British Athletics, GB Swimming, GB Taekwondo, and Birkebeiner (Norway). The department also has collaborative associations with many UK and European Universities.

Please contact the Department’s Research Officer, Professor Jamie Highton for an informal discussion about postgraduate opportunities in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences.