OBSERVATORY FOR SPORT IN SCOTLAND

We support Scotland's community sports sector with independent research, knowledge exchanges, publications, policy/practice recommendations and international benchmarking.

Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS)

We are focused on research and analysis, some commissioned directly by OSS and some catalysed through our links with academia via our University Forum.

OSS is built on our links with business and the community sports sector who, using the information and evidence generated by our thinking end, seek to engage and influence funders and policy makers.

Observatory for Sport in Scotland

Research Strategy & Programme

Recently we have commissioned several pieces of research to bring evidence-based clarity on the levels and trends in Scottish sports participation. This research is underpinned by international insight, as well as being combined with new perspectives such as the theory of ‘sporting capital’ (the sporting equivalent of ‘human capital’).

Observatory for Sport in Scotland

Cross Sector Collaborations

Through its engagement with business, the sport in the community sector and academia, and the creation of Forums where they can come together, OSS has brought together stakeholders who combined bring a better informed, louder and stronger voice for the cause of sport in the community. Backed by relevant and independent research these stakeholders are in a strong position to seek to influence policy recommendations for the funding, infrastructure and growth of sport in Scotland.

Our People

Jon Best

Research Advisory Group

“I am particularly interested in research that helps remove the barriers to sport access for more people and am helping OSS through advice, research and editorial work”

Jon’s credentials:
Jon Best is a former researcher at the Tourism and Recreation Research Unit at the University of Edinburgh and was then in charge of research at SportScotland for 20 years with a year out as head of research at the Hong Kong Sports Development Board.

He commissioned and managed over 100 substantive projects and edited their reports. These included major evaluations of the Active Schools initiative for some five years, and responsibility for an extensive range of research projects relating to the use of sports facilities; the role of sports clubs; and participation by different social groups that included the management of joint projects with Sport England and UK Sport. He implemented, designed, managed and reported on 20 years of national surveys of sports participation.

An independent consultant with Best and Randak since 2009, he engages in qualitative and quantitative research in the fields of sport and other physical activity including disability. He is on the Advisory Editorial Board of Managing sport and leisure: an international journal.

Martin Gilbert

Board Trustee

Graduating from Aberdeen University in 1978 with a MA in Accountancy and LLB in Law, Martin Gilbert became co-founder and Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, the holding company of the fund management group that was established in 1983. Under Martin’s leadership, Aberdeen has become one of the world’s leading independent asset managers through a combination of organic growth and acquisition. Aberdeen Asset Management has become known for its involvement in Scottish sport and Martin was a keen sportsman himself, playing hockey to a high-level whilst also sailing the Atlantic in a Beneteau 45F5 in 1990. The company participates in sponsorships where it can get actively involved and make a difference to an event, individual or team across key sports such as golf, sailing and rugby. Martin is also Deputy Chairman of British Sky Broadcasting Group.

Claire Philips

Trustee Board Secretary

Claire walks for miles everyday on and off the golf course!
“Sport has always been an important part of my life and I helped establish OSS because of my belief in sport as a force for good for all. I also wanted to bring partnership expertise to the charity knowing that if we can work with others we will achieve much more; more sport for more people throughout their lives”.
Claire’s credentials:
Claire has spent the bulk of her career working in the public/ private delivery of built infrastructure. She has worked across the UK and internationally.
As a Director and Executive Board Member of Local Partnerships LLP from 2009-2013, a joint venture between HM Treasury and the Local Government Association, she led teams working across programmes of energy efficiency, built and digital infrastructure, and social fund management. Prior to Local Partnerships Claire worked for Partnerships UK, heading up their Scottish business. A Chartered Architect by profession Claire received her Honours Degree and Diploma from the Mackintosh School of Architecture and Glasgow University.
Claire has been involved in various sports all her life, athletics and hockey being her early interests, now she focuses on trying to reduce her golf handicap.

Barry Rose

Trustee Board

``Sport has, and does, play an important part of my life. I've spent my time being a keen rackets player, badminton and squash, and a very active hill walker and climber. My local climbing wall is now my second home. Sport has always been very beneficial for my business career, and I've felt that there is a strong correlation between successful business people and sports participation. I'm very keen that people should be encouraged to participate in physical activity.``

Barry spent much of his career in investment management, and was the head of investment of two insurance companies, and from 1993 to 2001 was the Chief Executive of Scottish Provident UK. Since then he has served on the Boards of a variety of companies as a non executive member, such as Liverpool Victoria, Wolfson Microelectronics and Optos. He presently also serves on the Boards of Aberdeen Smaller Companies Investment Trust, Dimensional Imaging Ltd and is a trustee of Medical Research Scotland.

Henrik H Brandt

Trustee Board & Research Advisory Group

Director of the Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan), since 2011 including Play the Game and since 2013 the Danish Institute for non-Formal Education (Videncenter for Folkeoplysning). In his capacity as a director since 2005 Henrik H. Brandt has been responsible for establishing and building an institute which is today an important knowledge and research centre in the field of Danish and international sports politics and non-formal education with a large network among media, researchers and stakeholders in the Danish and international sports sector.

Fanchea Kelly

Board Trustee

Fanchea Kelly - CEO, Blackwood Housing

“I have personally gained enormous value and enjoyment by being active through amateur sport and encourage my family to take part too. Professionally, through Blackwood, we are always looking at innovative ways to help our customers live their life to the full. Many of them have disabilities, and sport has been a great catalyst for engendering social relationships, creating exhilarating experiences, and promoting fun, which inevitably leads to wellbeing. I am very interested in helping raise the value of sport in an inclusive way for everyone”.

Fanchea’s Credentials:

Fanchea is CEO of Blackwood Homes and Care and has held senior roles across Scotland in her 20plus years as a housing professional. Fanchea currently leads a team dedicated to innovation, inspired by customers and their families and friends to find new independent living solutions through combining design, technology, and excellent services. This stretches well beyond the traditional boundaries of providing good landlord and care services and includes the beautiful new Blackwood House – a new standard of highly accessible design – and CleverCogs – co-designed software which keeps customers in control of managing their life. Blackwood’s latest exciting customer event in the National Sports Training Centre in Largs showcased how everyone can try new sports regardless of age, ability, or confidence.

Charlie Raeburn

Founder & Trustee Board Chair

My personal concerns are that Scotland should try harder to increase participation in the full spectrum of sports and activities, should strengthen the often fragile Scottish sports infrastructure, and encourage more playfulness in school and community sport. To support these aspirations OSS can help to develop more informed discussions, involving the many stakeholders in sport – about how we can nurture sport for people.

Member of the Executive of the International School Sports Federation
Now retired, Charlie, during his working career was a PE teacher,PE adviser (Lothian Regional Council), Sport and Recreation Manager (West Lothian Council)and held various postions including ; Chair of Local Authorities PE Network, Chair Scottish Schoolsport Federation; and Member of the Scottish Executive PE Review. He is currently is a member of the International Schoolsport Federation Executive (ISF) and the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Sport. He has been a volunteer throughout his adult life in various positions including Swimming Coach ( age group/national performance/masters); Swimming Manager (Convenor) at Warrender BC and Chair of Scottish Schools Swimming Association.

Nick Rowe

Research Lead & Research Advisory Group Member

Biography

Nick Rowe MPhil (Edin) BA (Hons)

Nick is currently 'Research Lead' and a member of the Research Advisory Group for the Observatory for Sport in Scotland. He provides consultancy services on sport and public policy and is a Visiting Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University. His book setting out a new paradigm for sports development, 'Sporting capital: Transforming sports development policy and practice' was published by Routledge in November 2017. His is currently directing research for OSS on, 'Sports participation in Scotland: trends and future prospects'.

Nick was educated at Oxford Polytechnic, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Texas and joined the then Great Britain Sports Council (to become Sport England) research team in 1983 where he remained until June 2012. Whilst at Sport England Nick held the post of Head of Strategy, Research and Planning and Strategic Lead for Research where he was influential in shaping and delivering a world leading national research programme. Nick led the design and delivery of the Active People Survey - the largest sport survey in Europe and was lead author on the Sport England Strategy document ‘The Framework for Sport in England’. He has been influential in international research initiating and for 5 years co-directing the European wide COMPASS project on comparative sport participation statistics. Nick has been the invited speaker at international conferences in China, Australia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel and Spain.

Nick has completed 5 London Marathons and recently completed a 3, 600 bike ride around the cost of Britain. He is the current President of Woodford Golf Club near his home in Essex.

Professor Koen Breedveld

Trustee Board & Research Advisory Group

“In the Netherlands we bring together the academics and the practitioners and volunteers so that we can learn from each other and combat the challenges together. I am keen to support Scotland’s sports sector to flourish and to help where I can to share the breakthroughs and barriers we have encountered and continue to encounter in the Netherlands”.

Former Managing Director of the Mulier Institute – the leading social science sport research institute in the Netherlands. In addition, he is Professor in Sport Sociology and Sport Policy in the Department of Sociology, Radboud University Nijmegen, as well as the current coordinator of the Research Network on Sport of the European Sociological Association. His research interests include sport participation and sport policies, and trends and developments in sports. He has published numerous reports and articles on sports, in academic journals as well as in policy-reports and in the media.

Marie McQuade

Executive Director

Bob Reid

Trustee Board Member

Bob Reid - Development Director, Wildland

“I am passionate about Scotland and outdoor sports especially mountaineering. I am delighted to bringing my enthusiasm for inclusivity across sport and experience as a planner and developer to OSS work”.

Bob’s credentials:
Bob has a Master of Civic Design Liverpool University and is Royal Town Planning Institute Full Member. He has served on the Countryside Commission Scotland's Advisory Panel on Access. He's Founder member Scottish Wildlife & Countryside. 1990 to 1994 he was President Mountaineering Council of Scotland. 1991 - WINSTON CHURCHILL FELLOW, planning & access arrangements in USA. Member National Trust for Scotland's mgmt committee Mar Lodge Estate Cairngorms to 2006. To 2004 SCOTTISH SOCIETY OF DIRECTORS OF PLANNING. To 2002 Founder member of Scottish National Access Forum `{`for MCofS & then COSLA/SSDP`}`. To 2004 Depute Head then Head of Physical Development `{`Planning`}` Aberdeen City Council. 2013 - WInner RTPI Award for Planning Excellence - HFM Best Small Consultancy of the year. AUTHOR of numerous articles and papers on a wide variety of subjects including Mountaineering; Access in Scotland; National Parks; and (of course) Town Planning.

John Taylor

Research Advisory Group

John Taylor is a graduate of Heriot-Watt University (BA Hons Recreation) (1994) and the University of Edinburgh (MSc Social and Educational Research) (2001). He has over 20 years experience as a researcher and research manager having previously worked as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Leisure Research (CLR) and as a Research and Evaluation Manager at sportscotland. John has been in monitoring and evaluating a range of sports initiatives completing evaluations of the 'Girls on the Move' Programme, the SFA's Football Academy and Community Club Officers Project and has recently undertaken research for Scottish Golf exploring the career pathways of Scottish Professional golfers. John has also supported evaluations of International Development through Sport (IDS) and International Inspirations sport-for-development projects in India and Africa. John has been a Director (Strategy and Governance) on the Board at triathlon scotland and is currently working on his PhD exploring the evaluation of sport for development programmes in Scotland and assessing the efficacy of logic models as an evaluation tool.

Professor Richard Davison

Chair - Research Advisory Group

Prof. Davison is an internationally-recognised exercise physiologist with over 25 years experience. Specifically he has an international reputation in investigating the factors that influence cycling performance and the physiological responses to cycle ergometry. Other areas of research interest include the use of exercise and physical activity to improve health and quality of life in the general population and clinical groups. He is also an editor of the Journal of Sport Medicine and the Journal of Science and Cycling, former editor of the Journal of Sports Sciences and has published in excess of 50 scientific papers and book chapters and is currently an expert reviewer for the Journal of Sports Sciences, the International Journal of Sports Medicine, European Journal of Sport Sciences, International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise the Welcome Trust and the Medical Research Council. He is a Fellow and former Chair and Honorary Treasurer of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences and currently a professor of Exercise Physiology and President of ECSS 2021 Glasgow in the School of Science and Sport at the University of the West of Scotland.
Richard was also a successful competitive cyclists winning 11 medals (6 gold, 2 sliver, 3 bronze) at Scottish Championships. He is a Level 3 Coach and Coach Educator for British Cycling (18 years) and has coached at Commonwealth and Olympic Games level.

Specialities: Exercise physiology teaching and research, Higher Education management, change management, coach education, elite cycling coaching, Chromosome 18

Iain More

Advisor

Founder, Iain More Associates, now More Partnership; Governor, George Watson’s College; former Director of Development, University of Edinburgh and INSEAD. Higher Education: University of St Andrews – History and English; Loughborough College – Diploma in Physical Education; University of Oregon – MSc in Physical Education. Iain was an international swimmer for Scotland and Great Britain. His commitment to OSS is inspired by the creativity and persistence of his friend Charlie Raeburn in setting up OSS and his close to lifelong interest in participating in sport.

David Rider

Trustee Board

Personally and professionally I believe in the value sport can play in life. At Merchiston Castle School, I am working with the City of Edinburgh Council and local sports clubs to create a community partnership allowing the neighborhood to enjoy competitive and recreational sport, giving young and old the opportunity to train, coach and play together. A mantra I am privileged to be working on developing in China on behalf of the School.

David has a broad remit as Strategic Development Director at Merchiston Castle School. His work covers widening participation and income diversification. He serves as Scotland Regional Vice President of the Institute for Development Professionals in Education. David has been in fundraising and income generation throughout his career in financial services and education.’

Richard Yule

Board Trustee

Richard Yule - COO, Table Tennis Scotland

“As a young boy, table tennis, was my gateway to the wider world. I learnt much more than how to hit the ball. I was able to mix with people of all ages and backgrounds and learn valuable life lessons that have stayed with me. My interest in OSS is to support the charity to form and grow so that we bring a healthy debate to the sports sector in Scotland about how we can better bring sport to the people and volunteers at the coalface who could really benefit – now more than ever”.

Richard’s credentials:
Graduated B Ed Hons in Physical Education from Strathclyde University and a Diploma in French Language, Sorbonne. Richard has taught and lectured in PE and worked in sports development roles in Glasgow and the Scottish Sports Council. In 2006, received the Emlyn Jones Award for “ exceptional service in the administration of sport”.
Eight times Scottish Table Tennis Men’s Singles Champion and National Club Champion in Scotland, England and France. Richard has travelled the world representing Scotland at World, European and Commonwealth Championships a record 285 times.
Former National Coach in Scotland, Belgium and Ireland, Richard is a passionate advocate of the important contribution made by National Governing Bodies, clubs and the voluntary sector to sport in society. Current board member and former Chairman, 2005-11, of the Games and Sport Division of Sport and Recreation Alliance. Richard had been CEO of the English Table Tennis Association since 1995 and last year Richard moved to Scotland and became COO of Table Tennis Scotland.