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OSS thanks departing Chief Executive and Research Manager

By 30 June 2023No Comments

The Observatory for Sport in Scotland (OSS) has paid tribute to its CEO David Ferguson and Research Manager Ryan Brown, who stepped down this month.

The OSS was launched by Charlie Raeburn in 2016 and David took the reins as Chief Executive at the start of 2019, following Marie McQuade in building the charity’s research network and research output. The recently concluded research by the University of the West of Scotland into disability sport (to be published next week) and Nick Rowe and Brown’s investigation into sports policy in Scotland (here), took the tally of research, analysis and evidence reports commissioned and published by the OSS to 18 in the past four years. The OSS has used these to significantly develop current sport research and analysis in Scotland, that can help to inform MSPs, government, sport, education and health on the benefits of community activity for all ages and abilities.

David (right) is returning to his career in journalism, communications and event management while Ryan (left) is seeking new opportunities – after returning and recovering from Nice, where the former Scotland swimmer recently successfully completed his first Ironman event!

The OSS Board stated: “We would like to thank David and Ryan for the tremendous work they have done to put the OSS on the map, developing the think-tank into a well-respected research organisation known not just across Scotland but now across Europe and globally as a contributor to research, analysis and evidence around sport.

“Under David’s passionate leadership, the OSS has brought together over 2,000 people and organisations from across sport, physical activity, health, education and business – and other areas – to contribute to research, insight and thought leadership geared towards helping Scotland become a healthier nation. Ryan has impressed us hugely with his development of the OSS research content and network, and, as well as the research and analysis, David, Ryan and the OSS team has provided expert submissions to the Scottish Parliament, engaged widely across the political spectrum on the impact of Scotland’s declining sport participation to health and wellbeing, social cohesion and our economy, and raised awareness of the need for a better evidence base in Scotland to shape solutions.

“Feedback from across Scotland remains clear that the OSS’ core purpose to inform, connect and challenge is much needed. We can see that as more local community facilities close yet there is a growing recognition of the health and well-being benefits of community participation in sport for all ages. It is unfortunate that there is not a clear resourcing strategy in Scotland to join these dots, and use research as other European countries are doing to use community sport more strategically to tackle health and wellbeing challenges. But the evidence built by OSS in the last few years demonstrates the benefits and remains available for government and policy-makers to use to shape a new thinking about sustainable solutions.

“Over the coming months the Board will engage with supporters and stakeholders on its future and where it can best influence government thinking to recognise the sustainable alternatives that exist to closing community sport and leisure facilities, for example, and re-shape its approach to community sport activity, and use it as a strategic tool in improving Scotland’s health and wellbeing. Scotland’s health is Scotland’s wealth.”

To contact the OSS on any issue, please email