Our research

Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter has a long-standing and international reputation for leading research in the field. Our world-renowned academics are recognised for their groundbreaking and innovative work within the academic community, and are also highly sought after by leading sports professionals and teams.

Our friendly, intimate academic community provides a truly supportive environment for our staff and students that fosters a vibrant research culture. We are continually evolving to ensure we remain at the forefront of pioneering research areas, but without losing the inclusive atmosphere that allows our academics to truly flourish. We have also enhanced our academic team with additional research staff who are distinguished worldwide for their studies.

We attract significant funding from UK Research Councils (including MRC, EPSRC, ESRC, and Royal Society), The National Institute of Health Research (Health Technology Assessment) the commercial sector (including Glaxo Smith-Kline, Unilever and Kellogg’s); and from sporting bodies (including UK Sport, UK Athletics, Manchester United Football Club and the Rugby Football Union).

Research groups

Our research is organised into two interdisciplinary research groups: Bioenergetics and Human Performance, and Physical Activity and Health Across the Lifespan. These groups focus on enhancing human health and performance and conduct research in the laboratory and through field studies. This world-class research impacts positively on the health and well-being among a range of populations, as well as enhancing sport performance at all levels.

  • Bioenergetics and human performance
    The Bioenergetics and human performance research group adopts integrated physiological, psychological and biomechanical lines of enquiry to enhance human performance. Research specialisms include muscle metabolism and oxygen uptake, lower limb injury mechanisms, and cognitive and psychosocial determinants of human performance.
  • Physical activity and health across the lifespan
    The Physical activity and health across the lifespan research group links pre-clinical laboratory and fundamental research with epidemiological and intervention studies to enhance our understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health across the lifespan. One focus is on the acute and chronic effects of physical activity on psychological and mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, nicotine addiction, and food related cravings), as well as processes involved in addiction such as attentional bias and cue reactivity.

Research centre and facilities

Our internationally eminent Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC) is devoted to the study of the exercising child and adolescent and to the promotion of young people’s health and well-being.

We have consistently invested in developing our state-of-the-art facilities to enhance our reputation as one of the UK's leading hubs for the study of sport, exercise, and health sciences. Find out more about our extensive facilities which include purpose-built laboratories with the very latest ergometers, metabolic carts, a micro-vascular function laboratory, a body composition suite, environmental chamber, DEXA scanner, various experimental psychology resources such as eye-tracking technology, and MRI/MRS centre.

PhD study in Sport and Health Sciences

We welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students. A PhD offers an exciting opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of research; we will provide you with a very supportive environment in which to pursue your studies.

Find out more about PhD studies within Sport and Health Studies. Please initially contact the staff member closest to your interests, or our admissions team.

Research seminars

There is a strong research culture in the department, which is reflected in our regular research seminars and visits from internationally renowned experts. We encourage everyone to attend these seminars, which run throughout the academic year.