The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has developed a reputation for excellence in sport and is one of the largest providers in Scotland. Its growing portfolio of programmes integrate biological and behavioural approaches to enhance human health and performance. Programmes are developed with the professions, and include extensive links with and accreditation from professional bodies, excellent facilities, and teaching from staff who have experience of working with major sporting organisations.
Newly developed facilities at the new £110 million Lanarkshire Campus, which opened in 2018, are equipped to carry out cutting-edge research and deliver state-of-the-art instruction. Labs and learning areas include an exercise physiology laboratory, environmental laboratory, exercise biochemistry laboratory, cardiology laboratory, biomechanics laboratory and physiotherapy suite.
The Sport and Physical Activity Research Institute (SPARI) is the primary research vehicle for sport, physical activity and health-related research at UWS. SPARI encompasses around 40 staff, including full-time and part-time staff and several Post-Doctoral Research Fellows. SPARI has a thriving post-graduate research programme with 21 post-graduate research students. In terms of research, the Institute manages an income of around £1.8m, including awards from charity, government, research councils and the NIHR.
In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, SPARI contributed to UoA24, which was ranked 3rd in Scotland and 21st in the UK for research power. This commitment to research excellence has continued, and SPARI staff have contributed to over 150 outputs since the last REF.
UWS’ best research is considered world-leading, and SPARI’s current projects include collaborations in cutting-edge football research with Celtic FC, some of the first work investigating how coaches and athletes understand the impacts of menstrual health on training and performance, a thriving m-Health programme improving how we can track symptoms and activity in long-term conditions, improving the training and development of sport psychologists, cardiac evaluations of athletes, physical activity for health in primary school, ageing and sport participation/performance, disability and sport participation, and the role of nitrate supplementation in sport, health, and the human microbiome.