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REF 2014 Sports and Exercise Science, Leisure and Tourism

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The research group, Sport and Exercise Science, Leisure and Tourism focus their research on non-formal education, providing critical, supportive and directional input to local, national and international agendas.
Research activity now focuses on two broad themes:

  • sport, health, exercise and wellbeing
  • sport, society and social policy.


The future research strategy focuses on the development of collaborative projects with other universities to enhance visibility, develop professional networks and expand funding opportunities, enabling the development and future expansion of the Group’s synergies within the specific areas of sport, health, exercise, and wellbeing.

The strategy is focused on the following key areas:

Growing external academic strategic collaborations: strategic collaborations will be sought to strengthen international reputation and visibility, specifically in the areas of sport and exercise science. Moreover, collaborative bids for research funding will be pursued.

Growing externally-funded applied research with external professional and industry partners: in line with the University’s mission to drive professional and creative influence, the Group is pursuing opportunities to extend innovative research activity with a range of partners.

Extending social policy research and community projects with a clear applied focus to health and wellbeing: the Group is planning to extend knowledge that provides benefits for public sector and community organisations. For example, research within the area of ‘third age leisure’ has potential to add value to social and leisure policy within the south-east region.

Investment in physical infrastructure: the University has allocated £80,000 for the enhancement of facilities in the Human Performance Laboratory (sport sciences). In addition, £250,000 has been secured through University capital and investment funding for the development of motion capture facilities which will enhance the Group’s ability to conduct research and develop a national and international reputation in this field. Improved facilities will also enhance the Group’s ability to undertake quality, sustainable research, particularly when working collaboratively with partners. 


The Group achieves impact through partnerships with external organisations. The main partners and beneficiaries include community organisation for older people, primary care trusts, and outdoor education companies and their service users, football associations, football and rugby clubs and individuals with disabilities.

The main types of impact include greater physical activity of older people, greater engagement with outdoor education, enhancement of employment practice, and establishment of programmes for people with disabilities.