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Research themes

Our research draws on a wide range of academic disciplines related to sport and physical activity, and we often work with other faculties at BU as well as local, national and international institutions, and professional partners. Our staff are actively involved in wide-ranging, internationally recognised research, creating a great breadth of experience and knowledge.

We employ innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to examine the promotion of health and wellbeing; the enhancement of functional performance at all levels; policy, development and sport management; and the relationships between sport, physical activity, health, and wellbeing with culture, technology, the environment, urban space, the body, pedagogies, poverty, inequalities, power relations and identities across the lifespan.

Underpinning all our activity is our aim to develop new knowledge that can:

  • Contribute towards policy in sport, physical activity, health and wellbeing
  • Enhance sporting performance and the role of participation in sport and physical activity in healthy lifestyles across the lifespan
  • Impact practice in public/private organisations
  • Engage the public through a variety of activities
  • Contribute towards progressive societal change. 

Through asking important questions and setting important agendas for policy, practice, performance and society, our research offers a truly holistic understanding of the derivation, constitution, and experience of sport, physical activity, the body, wellbeing and (ill)health. 

Our research informs the degrees we offer and the way we work with our professional partners, and through it we aim to:

  • Develop a research portfolio that is of the highest academic standard and has application in the real world
  • Build on external links with private and public partners and other bodies concerned with sport, physical activity and society
  • Identify and facilitate opportunities for academic collaboration and new developments
  • Foster an interdisciplinary agenda and innovative and creative methodologies that address both sporting and wider social concerns.

There are three overlapping strands to our research:

Sport, health and wellbeing

  • Sport, health and social inequalities
  • (In)active spaces, practices and inclusive communities
  • Sport, social exclusion and empowerment
  • Digital cultures, (social) media representation, physical activity and wellbeing
  • Embodiment, physical activity and emotional wellbeing across the lifespan
  • Sport, physical activity, clinical populations/chronic diseases and social care.

Behavioural, applied and coaching sciences

  • Behavioural change, exercise and sport participation across the lifespan
  • Social support, social identity, and stereotype threat in (elite) sports performance
  • Talent identification and development
  • Disability, sport and physical activity
  • (Elite) sports performance, technology and human enhancement/modification
  • Lifestyle management and athlete wellbeing
  • Injuries and illness.

Policy, management and development

  • Sport policy, (international) development, health and wellbeing
  • Leisure, tourism and (global) sports mega-events
  • Urban space, surveillance, securitisation and social control
  • Consumerism, fandom and identities
  • Organisations, corporate social responsibility and marketing.