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Scotland's Researchers Join Forces

Leading academics in sport and activity research will come together this week at the annual OSS University Conference, jointly hosted by partners the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.

Among the speakers are Nick Rowe, the former Head of Research Strategy at Sport England, and Stirling University’s new Head of Sport Professor Tess Kay, who will be presenting research around sport participation trends in Scotland and social inequalities in sport respectively.

This event will feature representatives from ten of Scotland’s universities as well as sportscotland’s Head of Research Patricia Horton, Research Scotland Director Katy MacMillan, Remco Hoekman fro the Mulier Institute in the Netherlands, leading Danish researcher Henrik Brandt and other partners.

OSS Director David Ferguson said: “My predecessor Marie McQuade established the universities forum in 2018 and it is a great route to bringing together people from across Scotland’s universities and research network, and across the world. The key for us is to look at where the gaps exist in Scotland’s knowledge base around sport, recreation and activity in the community, where people are doing a lot of good work and perhaps not having it recognised, and where we can collaborate to plug those knowledge gaps.

“I am looking forward to my first university conference which is a key part of OSS’ aim to help stakeholders to improve participation in sport in all its guises and at all ages for the benefit of the health and wellbeing of our nation.”

The event is now full but anyone interested in joining the OSS University Forum should contact David –

Sport Participation Trends: The Data

The OSS will publish its first nationwide research this week into the levels of sport participation in Scotland over the past ten years and future trends. Produced over the past year by Nick Rowe, the former Head of Research Strategy at Sport England, with support from Sheffield Hallam University and OSS research partners, the independent report delves into the data provided by the recent Scottish Household Survey and Scottish Health Survey, and other data, and looks at where the improvements are occurring and where the biggest concerns lie in Scotland’s sport participation and physical activity.

We will publish the report in full on the website on Friday morning, at the same time as sharing with stakeholders across Scotland and the media.

OSS Expands Team

The Observatory has appointed Jason Dyer as its new fundraising director. An experienced fundraiser with a proven background of securing the support necessary for major projects with clients including Edinburgh Zoo, Abbotsford and various arts and cultural properties across the UK, Jason turns his hand to helping the Scottish public get behind the first think tank for sport.

The OSS is an independent charitable organisation, with no political ties or links to any particular sport, which is a key pillar of its existence and strategic aim of filling the void that exists in Scotland for independent academic research that helps to shape policy and strategic direction of government, local authorities, sport bodies and communities in reversing the trend of declining sport participation and physical activity.

Jason commented: “I have worked with a aide variety of wonderful clients across the UK and this role really appealed to me because it is unique, it taps into the mood for helping the health of our nation and tI am very aware of a real swell of support across the Scottish landscape from individuals, business, trusts and foundations wishing to help play a part in turning around a worrying culture of health problems.

“OSS is an extremely committed organisation with enthusiastic leadership with their director and across the board, and I have no doubts that we will become a very important and sustainable organisation able to help government and others to improve sport participation and the country’s health and wellbeing statistics.”


More to come…!