Enhancing engagement with sport and exercise

Drawing upon sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics, public health and physical education, we conduct large-scale practice-changing research that focuses on how sport, exercise and physical activity can enrich the quality of daily lives, across the lifespan.

Our collective research seeks to understand the barriers to participation, the best ways to engage and strategies involving different sectors, to get the nation more active.

Through leadership, knowledge translation, partnerships, training, education and advocacy we work closely with multiple stakeholders to ensure the direct impact of our research on national and international policy and practice.

Physical activity promotion in a secure mental health setting

Individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) have a reduced life expectancy of up to 20 years, largely due to physical health inequalities.

People with SMI are far less physically active than a healthy population and a secure mental health setting can exacerbate barriers to exercise and aid sedentary behaviour.

building with grounds

Educating healthcare assistants to support adults and adolescents

We are undertaking an original body of work, in collaboration with St Andrew’s Healthcare, that promotes physical activity in a secure mental health setting to improve mental and physical health. Research students are using psychological interventions to encourage long-term physical activity behaviour change to support adults and adolescents undertaking clinical treatment.

Published research Read John's story

Meet the experts

Dr Flo Kinnafick

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Photograph of Anthony Papathomas

Dr Anthony Papathomas

Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology

Enhancing the implementation of school running programmes

School-based running programmes are a practical and cost-effective way to increase opportunities for additional physical activity time outside of physical education.

Consequently, initiatives such as the Daily Mile, are currently being implemented in a grass-roots style movement across the UK.

children running at school

Resources to encourage active schools

Research on the implementation of physical activity programmes in schools is notably underdeveloped. Our research to address this has been supported by The London Marathon and Kids Run Free Charities, and Research England, in collaboration with Public Health England, has resulted in invaluable resources that are widely adopted by public health teams, commissioners, schools, headteachers and teachers.

Active mile briefings Active schools

Meet the experts

Photograph of Lorraine Cale

Professor Lorraine Cale

Professor in Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy

Photograph of Lauren Sherar

Professor Lauren Sherar

Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health

Sport for positive change

Academics from sport management and criminology are examining the contribution of sport to reducing offending.

Twinning project

Enhancing positive outcomes for young people

Longstanding collaboration with StreetGames, a national charity harnessing the power of sport in disadvantaged communities, has resulted in a series of outputs (including a recently published Theory of Change) which are all helping to address serious youth violence. Research is also examining the Twinning Project, a national initiative enabling professional football clubs - supported by the Prison Service - to deliver football-based programmes to enhance health and wellbeing and improve life chances on release. Knowledge exchange festivals are facilitating the sharing of effective practice.

Published research

Meet the experts

Dr Carolynne Mason

Senior Lecturer in Sport Management

Professor Stephen Case - Head of Social and Policy Studies

Professor Stephen Case

Head of Social and Policy Studies

Dr Caron Walpole

Research Assistant