School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


a Team GB athlete in a race with spectators

Organisation and facility

This addresses how opportunities for engaging in sport and exercise in daily life are organised, resourced and facilitated. The role that social, policy, management, pedagogical and coaching interventions play to facilitate both elite and non-elite forms of participation are covered as well as their impact. The role of social, policy, commercial and government agencies in harnessing resources, providing governance and strategic direction for sports and exercise participation and engagement is also addressed.

The role of social, policy and government agencies in harnessing resources, providing governance and strategic direction for sports and exercise participation is also covered.

Recent projects:

FREE (Football Research in and Enlarged Europe)

Dr Borja Garcia

Project Description

The FREE (Football Research in and Enlarged Europe) Project (, was an EU FP7 funded project researching the motivations behind recent football supporters’ activism. This project researched why and how football supporters get together to get involved in the management and organisation of professional football clubs, hence exercising their active citizenship and developing social capital.


The project was developed in cooperation with 8 European universities, and especially the Universities of Vienna, Valencia, METU (Ankara) and ESSCA School of Management.


Welford, J, García, B, Smith, B (2015) A ‘healthy’ future? Supporters’ perceptions of the current state of English football, Soccer and Society, 16, pp.322-343, ISSN: 1466-0970. DOI: 10.1080/14660970.2014.961380.

Garcia Garcia, B and Welford, J (Accepted for publication) Supporters and football governance, from customers to stakeholders: A literature review and agenda for research, Sport Management Review, ISSN: 1441-3523.

Garcia Garcia, B, Welford, J, Smith, B (Accepted for publication) Using a smartphone ‘app’ in qualitative research: The good, the bad and the ugly, Qualitative Research, ISSN: 1468-7941.

Meta-Evaluation of the Impacts and Legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

Professor Ian Henry, Professor Paul Downward

Project Description

Funded by the DCMS this project evaluated the role of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in creating a lasting legacy, being driven by a wide range of organisations, communities and individuals in: sport; the economy; community engagement; and the regeneration of East London. The focus was on undertaking a comprehensive and robust 'meta-evaluation' of the additionality, outputs, results, impacts and associated benefits of the investment in the 2012 Games.  

Collaborators: Grant Thornton UK LLP, Ecorys, Oxford Economics, Future Inclusion


Henry, I (2016 forthcoming) The Meta-evaluation of the Sports Participation Impact and Legacy of the London 2012 Games : Methodological Implications, Journal of Global Sport Management

Chen, S., & Henry, I. (2015). Evaluating the London 2012 Games’ impact on sport participation in a non-hosting region: a practical application of realist evaluation. Leisure Studies.  doi:10.1080/02614367.2015.1040827

Dawson, P., Downward, P. and Mills, T. (2014) Olympic news and attitudes towards the Olympics: A compositional time-series analysis of how sentiment is affected by events, Journal of Applied Statistics, 41(6): 1307–1314,

Dawson, P., Downward, P. and Mills, T. (forthcoming, 2015) Sports Participation as an Investment in (Subjective) Health: A Time Series Analysis of the Life Course, Journal of Public health.

Chen, S., Henry, I., & Ko, L.-M. (2013). Meta-evaluation, analytic logic models and the assessment of impacts of sports policies. In I. Henry & L.-M. Ko (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Policy. London: Routledge.

Physical activity promotion through mass participation community events

Dr Clare Stevinson, Dr Mary Hickson, Dr Gareth Wiltshire

Project Description:

This project investigates the public health value of parkrun, a nation-wide network of weekly, free, volunteer-led, timed 5km runs in park settings. A cross-sectional analysis of 7308 participants across 130 events indicated high engagement from some population sectors with traditionally low activity levels. Interviews with 48 participants revealed specific features of the parkrun experience that encouraged sustained involvement. A prospective follow up of 354 new registrants showed improvements in several health and well-being outcomes over 12 months.

Collaborators: parkrun


Stevinson C, Hickson M. Exploring the public health potential of a mass community participation event. J Pub Health 2014;36:268-74

Stevinson C, Wiltshire G, Hickson M. Facilitating participation in health-enhancing physical activity: a qualitative study of parkrun. Int J Behav Med 2015; 22:170-7

Biopsychosocial Risks for Occupational Health and Well-Being Among White-Water Raft Guides

Dr Hilary McDermott, Dr Fehmidah Munir, Mr Iain Wilson

Project Description

This project is concerned with the occupational health of white-water raft guides working in the UK and details how working conditions and practices can lead to an increased risk of unintentional injury or ill-health. Biological and psychosocial factors have been associated with work-related health in a range of occupational settings; however, the majority of previous studies have used non-physical occupational samples, such as office workers. Very little is known about the occupational health risk factors of those working in the Outdoor Industry, such as white-water raft guides


McDermott, H. J., Munir, F., & Wilson, I. (2012). Injuries, Ill-Health and Fatalities in White Water Rafting and White Water Paddling. Sports Medicine, 43, 65-75.

Coach Analysis Intervention System (CAIS)

Dr Chris Cushion

Project Description 

Dr Cushion’s wide ranging research in coaching and coach behaviour has led to the  development of coach behaviour analysis software for use with tablet devices.  The software is being used within professional football Academies at Leicester City FC, Southamption FC, Plymouth Argyle and Wigan Athletic as part of coach Continuing Professional Development, coach behaviour evaluation and informing the practice environments created by coaches. CAIS is also being used within sport coach UK and UK Sport’s Inspire/Aspire coach development programme, coaches are supported with mentors in this programme and the mentors are embedding CAIS within their support programme.


Axis Coaching Technology;