Professor Steph Forrester

BEng, MSc, PhD

  • Professor of Sports Engineering and Biomechanics


Steph graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1991 with BEng in Chemical Engineering and from the University of Cambridge in 1995 with a PhD in Chemical Engineering. She then moved to Australia to undertake postdoctoral research and returned to the UK to spend a year working as a process engineering for AstraZeneca. From 1999 to 2005 her career path changed, and she competed as a professional triathlete representing Great Britain at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Steph returned to academia in 2005, graduating with an MSc in Sports Biomechanics from Loughborough University and remained as a researcher in the same group for two years. In 2008 she joined the Wolfson School as a Lecturer in Sports Technology, progressed to Senior Lecturer (2012), Reader (2018) and Professor of Sports Engineering and Biomechanics (2023).

Steph has led and collaborated on many industry-funded research projects across a range of sports engineering topics. She has held several leadership roles in the Wolfson School, including Programme Director for the Sports Technology undergraduate programme, and she is currently the Programme Director for the Sports Engineering postgraduate programme and Director of the Sports Engineering and Human Factors Research Priority Area.


  • BEng in Chemical Engineering (University of Edinburgh) 1991 

  • PhD in Chemical Engineering (University of Cambridge) 1995 
  • MSc in Sports Biomechanics (Loughborough University) 2006 

Steph has a background in Engineering and Sports Biomechanics with over 20 years experience in research and industry. She has published over 50 journal papers and supervised 12 PhD students to completion in topics related to sports engineering.

Main research interests

Sports Surface and Footwear Engineering: Her primary research focus is on synthetic turf surfaces, developed as an alternative to natural grass, and widely used across many sports including football, rugby and hockey. These surfaces provide many interesting and diverse research challenges related to topics such as climate change, sustainability, play performance and user safety. Her overall research focus is on building knowledge and understanding on the mechanics of how these surfaces behave under different use conditions; with application to areas such as surface design, maintenance, testing standards and footwear design.

Biomechanics: Steph has a broad interest in biomechanics including: running, related to footwear design and coaching technologies; golf, related to player-club interaction and technique analysis; and surgeons in the development of biomechanical feedback tools to reduce injury risk.

Grants and contracts

Steph has led and collaborated on many successful research projects funded by industry, governing bodies as well as UKRIKey funders of her research have included FIFA, FIH, Labosport, Technical Surfaces, Ping, MAS Holdings, Nike, Mizuno, EPSRC and Innovate UK. 

Current teaching responsibilities:

  • WSB302, Engineering Computation for Sports Technology 
  • WSB502, Applied Sports Technology 2 
  • WSB503, Application of Product Design in Sport 
  • WSB701, Measurement and Experimental Design 
  • WSC701, Sports Surfaces, Footwear and Garments 
  • Part C Individual Project 

Current administrative responsibilities:

  • Director of the Sports Engineering and Human Factors Research Priority Area 
  • Programme Leader for the MSc in Sports Engineering 



External activities

  • Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Biomechanics
  • Editorial Board Member for Scientific Reports and Sports Engineering
  • Programme Chair, ISEA Engineering of Sport 15 Conference, Loughborough, 2024
  • Invited presentations at the Brock Educational Seminar, the AMI Grass, Yarn & Tufters Forum, the ISEA UK Sports Engineering Seminar, the World Congress of Biomechanics and the SAPCA Technical Meeting
  • SAGE Best Paper Award 2015: Fleming, P.R., Forrester, S.E. and McLaren, N.J. 2015. Understanding the effects of decompaction maintenance on the infill state and play performance of third generation artificial grass pitches. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part P: Journal of Sports Engineering and Technology. 229(3), 169–182