Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Sport and Exercise Sciences (SES) is one of four Divisions within the School of Social and Health Sciences, the others being: Mental Health Nursing and Counselling, Psychology, and Sociology. SES has a research profile that contributes to Abertay University’s research priority areas, particularly the Society research theme. 

Main Areas of Research 

There are currently two main research areas in SES: 

  1. Biomechanics and Physiology
  2. Social Science of Sport 

SES has staff active in a number of research areas, including: 

  • Women’s sport equity
  • Sedentary lifestyle risk factors,
  • Exercise and health training interventions
  • High intensity exercise
  • Elite sports performance
  • Healthy ageing 

Much of the research in SES is focused on work involving populations with protected characteristics (e.g. age, gender, disability). This research aims to contribute to the duty of care agenda, which has growing salience as an issue in contemporary sport and complements work that the Division engages in with Police Scotland, Active Schools, national governing bodies (for example, Scottish Karate, Mountaineering Council for Scotland), charities (e.g., DRWF, Age Concern) and SMEs (e.g., Edinburgh Biotech). 

SES staff members are: Dr. John Babraj, Dr. Luis Calmeiro, Andrea Cameron, Dr. Marie Clare Grant, Dr. Scott Hardie, David Holland-Smith, Professor David Lavallee, Dr. Rhiannon Lord, Dr. Ross Lorimer, Dr. John Malone, Chloe MacLean, Helen McHardy, Dr. Ashley Richardson, Dr. Joel Borges Pinto Ferreira da Rocha, Dr. Graeme Sorbie, Adam Talbot and Yvette Wharton

The post graduate culture in SES is largely centred on students completing Masters by Research or a PhD in areas that lie within the academic staff research expertise. All of these activities are in association with the Abertay University Graduate School. The Dundee Academy of Sport, the first venture of its kind in Scotland, is aligned to the Division and has enabled students to enrol and study on courses up to the PhD level.

Recent PhD Research Topics

Recent graduates from SES have undertaken research in the following areas:

  • A Mixed Methods Exploration of the Gendered Perspectives of Female Sports Coaches
  • An Exploration of the US College Golf System: A Developmental Pathway for International Student-Athletes
  • A Review of the Scottish Women’s Premier League Season 2016 Following League Restructure
  • A Qualitative Investigation of Performance Analysis in Elite Football
  • The Effect of High Intensity Interval Training on Physical Health and Mood in Inactive Female Participants
  • An Exploration of the Formative Experiences of Grassroots Rugby Coaches and their Impact on Coaching Practice
  • What Effect Does a Greater than 5% Rapid Weight Loss Have on Physical Performance Measures Related to Success in Weight Category Combat Sports?

SES has established partnerships with the Scottish Rugby Union and Dundee United Football Club.  The Scottish Rugby Union is supporting a student internship coupled with a postgraduate research project in the area of concussion in rugby. Abertay students have the chance to work with Dundee United Football Club by analysing players’ body fat, sprint speeds, flexibility and endurance capacity. SES academics also have the opportunity to tie the sessions into ongoing research projects. 

A currently topical SES project focuses on researching alternative activities that help to improve health and physical function and promote engagement in physical activity among older adults. The study involves the development of a high intensity training exercise protocol that is time efficient and challenges assumptions about what the right type of exercise is. The training involves pedalling on a cycle ergometer as hard as possible for six seconds and then having a period of recovery where the heart rate returns to below 120 beats per minute. This is then repeated for a maximum of 10 times in a session, with training sessions taking place twice weekly. The findings from the research show that two minutes of intermittent exercise per week that is performed at maximum effort has the ability to dramatically improve the health and well-being of older adults. The research was recently featured on the BBC Stay Young series