Professor Neil Armstrong
Professor of Paediatric Physiology / Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Neil graduated from Loughborough University with BEd and MSc degrees and received his PhD and higher doctorate (DSc) from the University of Exeter. He received his Doctor Honoris Causa (DHC) from the University of Coimbra. Following periods of teaching and researching in Loughborough and Liverpool Neil was appointed to a lectureship at Exeter University in 1984 and awarded a Personal Chair in 1992. He initiated the study of sport and health sciences in Exeter and set-up the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences in 1998. He served as Head of the School of Postgraduate Medicine before establishing the School of Sport and Health Sciences in 2002 and acting as the Inaugural Head of School. He is now Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University with responsibility for planning and resource allocation, internationalization and sport.
Neil has authored/edited 15 books, contributed 75 book chapters and, in total, co-authored over 640 publications on paediatric physiology. He has been invited to make keynote presentations in 43 countries and has co-authored 575 papers to international and national conferences. Neil established the Children’s Health and Exercise Research Centre in 1987 and his research has been featured internationally in over 300 television and radio programmes. It has generated questions in both Houses of Parliament and significantly influenced policy on the promotion of children’s health and well-being. Neil has been invited to address Members of Parliament at the House of Commons on three occasions, and Ministers of Education and of Sport have invited him to private audiences in the Palace of Westminster and visited the Research Centre to discuss the implications of his findings for children’s health and well-being. He was invited to a private audience with Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace and HM the Queen has visited the Research Centre to see his research team in action. Professor Armstrong’s research on children’s health and exercise won the only Queen‘s Anniversary Prize (QAP) for Higher Education to be awarded for research in sports medicine or science and the QAP was presented by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The QAP is awarded for ‘world class work which is of outstanding quality and importance to the nation.’
Neil has advised universities all over the world on over 50 professorial appointments. He has supervised 34 students to successful completion of research degrees and externally examined over 30 PhDs from 12 countries. His research has been supported by over £4million of grant income. He chaired the Sport Science Panel in the first two UK Research Assessment Exercises and he is a former Chair (twice) of the British Association of Sport Sciences (BASES) and a former President of the Physical Education Association (PEAUK). As the Minister of Sport’s nominee he served two terms (6 years) as Chair of South West Sport. Neil was the first non-retired person to receive the Ling Prize for a ‘sustained and distinguished contribution to the physical education profession’. He is one of 7 Honorary Fellows of the BASES and was the first scientist to be awarded Fellowship of the British (FBASES), European (FECSS) and American (FACSM) Colleges of Sport Sciences/Medicine. He is also an invited Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology, the PEAUK, the Society of Biology, the Royal Society of Arts, and the Higher Education Academy. Neil led the physiology team in the development of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s guidelines for training elite young athletes and he was a core member of the IOC expert group on developing guidelines for the fitness and health of children through sport. He is now a ‘scientific expert’ member of the IOC Youth Strategy Working Group. He has chaired European Pediatric Work Physiology (PWP) for the last 8 years and is currently chairing the South West Region Olympics 2012 Legacy Project.
An active sportsman in his youth, Neil represented England at U15, U18 and University level and played professional football for 10 years. He remains a dedicated and optimistic supporter of Newcastle United despite the fact that they have not won a domestic trophy since 1955.
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