OSS Researchers

The OSS is supported by a wealth of experienced researchers from across Scotland and around the world, all of whom share their research, analysis and expertise to help deepen Scotland's understanding of all aspects of community sport, recreation and physical education, and its relation to physical and mental health and wellbeing. The OSS Research Advisory Group meets regularly to discuss knowledge gaps, advise on the shape and methodology of OSS research and apply academic rigour. In 2020 we created 'OSS Research Associates' in response to interest from a growing number of people in supporting OSS in their chosen fields, but without the time to commit to core work. We also support students and recent graduates - 'OSS Research Assistants' - by linking them to mentors, and developing their research skills and profile. If you are interested in working with the OSS, please contact David Ferguson at: david@oss.scot.

OSS Research Advisory Group

OSS Research Advisory Group

Nick Rowe

Nick Rowe MPhil (Edin) BA (Hons)

Nick took over in 2019 from Professor Davison as chair of the Research Advisory Group for the Observatory for Sport in Scotland, having supported the OSS with research and guidance since its inception. The former Head of Research Strategy at Sport England now provides consultancy services on sport and public policy across Europe, 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. He recently published his first major research for OSS, 'Sports participation in Scotland: trends and future prospects', and is leading on the development of new research projects.

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 'enjoyed' a 3,600 bike ride around the coast of Britain. A keen golfer, Nick is the current President of Woodford Golf Club near his home in Essex.

OSS Research Editor/Adviser

Jon Best

Co-Director, Mulier Institute, Netherlands

Dr Remco Hoekman

With my experiences as a senior sport researcher, policy advisor, lecturer in sport policy and sport sociology, and former local sport manager and sport club advisor, I am looking forward to contribute to the development of OSS. Working for the Mulier Institute almost since its inception, gives me an understanding of the challenges and barriers the OSS faces in the process of becoming the leading policy relevant social science sport research institute. Where needed I will share these experiences, other relevant knowledge and good practices from the Netherlands to contribute to a strong sporting future for Scotland.

Dr Remco Hoekman is co-director of the Mulier Institute and affiliated to the Radboud University. Furthermore, Remco is president of the European Association for Sociology of Sport (EASS) and co-editor of the European Journal for Sport and Society. His research interests include sport policies, sport facilities, sport participation and financial aspects of sport. He has an extensive national and international publication list, including both policy-oriented and fundamental research, and is a frequently asked expert, advisor and speaker on the abovementioned topics. Remco is like no other capable of connecting science and practice and is a recognized expert in both fields. Consequently, he holds several advisory positions and is, amongst others, columnist for SportAccom (a journal on sport facilities), and member of the evaluation committee for the election of 'Sport municipality of the year’ and 'Best sport policy initiative’ in the Netherlands. Internationally, he is known as the founder of the expert group on sport facility databases and related research, and as one of the initiators of the ‘Measure’ network, a network with the aim to enhance knowledge on sport participation. In addition, he is an expert member of networks on sport organisations (SORN) and sport policy and politics (POLIS).

Remco breaths sports and is in his leisure time an active sport participant and sport volunteer. He enjoys to play tennis, visit the gym and cycle with his friends. In addition, he contributes as a volunteer to the sport activities of his children and he is the chairman of a tennis club.

Research Consultant, Volunteering, Events and Sports Management

Dr Fiona Reid

Dr Reid is a lecturer in Events, Sport and Tourism Management and her current research focuses on volunteers, volunteering and the voluntary sector in sports, events and tourism. She is a member of the Sport and Identities Research Cluster. Externally, Fiona is the Secretary of the UK Sports Volunteering Research Network. Fiona has worked in the sports industry for over 20 years in a number of different roles. She lectured in sports coaching and development at University of Abertay before undertaking a PhD in Sports Studies at University of Stirling. She taught on the Sport and Physical Activity degree at Strathclyde University before taking up her post at GCU in 2012. In her first semester at GCU she received the Students' Association Student-led Teaching award for "Fantastic Feedback".
Chair, Events and Cultural Policy, School of Business and Creative Industries at UWS

Professor Gayle McPherson

Gayle McPherson

Professor Gayle McPherson holds a Chair in Events and Cultural Policy within the School of Business and Creative Industries at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS). She joined the University in 2010 from Glasgow Caledonian University where she was a Professor in Cultural Policy and Head of Department of Cultural Business. Her research interests revolve around the interventions of the local and national state and wider agencies in events and festivity of all types and the social and cultural impacts of large-scale events on communities. A key area of her work examines soft power, cultural diplomacy and the contribution of culture in fragile contexts.

She recently completed a research project for the British Council on the Contribution of Art and Culture in Global Security and Stability and is currently working on Inclusive Cultural Heritage for Skills Development in Kenya on behalf of the British Council. She is also working on a follow-up study on Major Sport Events and Parasport Participation: Investigating Post-Event Opportunities and Experiences on behalf of the SSHRC with colleagues in Canada and is part of an ESRC networking grant on sport and disability with Waseda University in Japan for the Toyko 2020 Olympics. She teaches in the broad area of cultural diplomacy and in particular the role of events and culture in cultural diplomacy as a soft power initiative between nations and states. She has a range of external roles and she acted as the Legacy and Evaluation advisor to Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture Bid team, is member of European Cultural Parliament and also teaches at the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin and is an expert advisor to the OECD on their Recommendation on Global Events and Local Development. She is a REF sub-panel member of Unit 24 Sport, Exercise Science, Leisure and Tourism 2021, and is Co-Chief Editor of Frontiers in Sport and Active Living: Sport, Leisure and Tourism section. She has published widely in the events, culture sport and festivals area and is a reviewer for many journals and acts as a college panel member for the AHRC.
Professor Gayle McPherson https://research-portal.uws.ac.uk/en/persons/gayle-mcpherson

Head of Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences (ISPEHS) at University of Edinburgh

Dr Christine Nash

Christine's first qualification was in Physical Education, however, she emigrated to the United States shortly after graduation. Her MSc., which she undertook on a scholarship in the USA, concentrated more on sport coaching, and gave her the opportunity to apply the theory with the university swim team. She found the opportunity to integrate her educational background with sport coaching to be invaluable.

Since then Christine has been heavily involved in sport coaching and as a result her career has not always followed a ‘traditional’ route in higher education. Much of her credibility and understanding of the coaching process has been developed during periods as a national coach and this immersion within the profession has informed her subsequent career and research interests.
Her research experience covers Sport Pedagogy, Coach Education, Development of Expertise and Player/Coach Development Pathways.

Professor of Exercise Physiology, School of Science and Sport at UWS

Professor Richard Davison

Professor Davison is the OSS Vice-Chair and honorary treasurer.
An internationally-recognised exercise physiologist with over 25 years experience, he has developed a global 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.

Danish Research Consultant & Founding Director of IDAN

Henrik H Brandt

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.
Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Sheffield

Geoff Nichols

An honorary member of Sheffield University, Geoff has researched a wide variety of aspects of community sport and volunteering, clubs, crime, leisure trusts and community asset transfers over the past 30 years.
Widely respected across Europe, Geoff has published over 40 refereed papers on the topic of volunteering in sport, as well as 16 book chapters and research reports from 13 projects. Most recently Geoff has been researching the response of community sports clubs to the Covid-19 restrictions, and the ‘community asset transfer’ of the management of leisure facilities to volunteers. Both of these are part of the broad question of how volunteers can best contribute to meeting society’s need for sport and recreation; and thus physical and mental health. Geoff has also researched the role of sport in programmes to reduce youth crime, which was the focus of his PhD and a subsequent book. Geoff has a sharp focus on making his research relevant to policy and practice, a key function of the OSS.
He was a founding member of the UK Sports Volunteering Research Network, which facilitates exchange between practitioners and academics, and is a member of the steering group of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network and the research advisory group of 'Power to Change'.
Also a keen mountaineer and climber, and committee member of his local mountaineering club, Geoff can often be found in the hills and mountains of Scotland. He was a professional outdoor instructor for eight years, working with the Outward Bound, and has led Scouts groups since the 1970s.
Geoff states: "While sport and physical exercise makes a vital contribution to individuals’ wellbeing participation is uneven and differences between the health of groups are growing. Thus, promoting sports participation is only part of improving the wellbeing of everybody in society."

OSS Research Associates

Director of the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC), Sheffield Hallam University

Simon Shibli

Simon is a graduate in Physical Education, Sport Science and Recreation Management from Loughborough University. Since 2004 he has been the Director of the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, where he is also Professor of Sport Management. In 2003 Simon was admitted to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is one of the few qualified accountants working in sport management in the UK. His specialist areas of interest are the finance and economics of the sport and leisure industries and main research interests are in the applied use of techniques from the fields of finance and economics to research questions in sport and leisure.
An author of and contributor to OSS reviews, Simon's recent research areas have included assessing the economic impact of major sport and cultural events, assisting National Governing Bodies with strategic planning, monitoring and evaluating the impact of sport initiatives and interventions, and measuring performance in elite sport. Simon and the SIRC team are committed to conducting high quality research that makes a positive difference for clients.
Simon prides himself with two key strengths. First, he uses technical management accounting rigour and common sense, in equal measure, to deliver credible and practical solutions for clients. Second, he is a clear communicator of complex information that is pitched appropriately for the intended audience. As a leader of his team and an academic, Simon's ethos is that managerial excellence and academic excellence are not mutually exclusive. He is in regular demand as a speaker at national and international conferences and is a widely published author of both textbooks and peer reviewed papers with a variety of collaborators from across the world of sport management.
Lecturer in Sports Coaching and Development, University of West of Scotland

Dr Liz Carlin

Liz is a lecturer in Sport Coaching and Development at the University of the West of Scotland where she teaches across the suite of BA and BSc (hons) programmes. Liz also currently works as a coach educator with Sport Northern Ireland and Sport Ireland and a National Trainer for the UK Anti-Doping Agency.
She studied her BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Sciences at Ulster University before studying her MSc Sport and Exercise Psychology at Leeds Beckett University. In 2018, Liz completed her PhD at Ulster University, conducting a cross-cultural analysis of the management and motives of Special Olympics volunteers. During this period, Liz also worked as a research assistant with Special Olympics Europe Eurasia on a project developing an assessment tool for coaches to evaluate promotion of social inclusion of their athletes with intellectual disabilities within teams and their wider community. Liz has previously worked at Loughborough University and the University of the West of Scotland on research projects working with people living with dementia and people with disabilities.
Senior Lecturer in Design, Manufacture & Engineering, University of Strathclyde

Dr Andrew Wodehouse

Andrew is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Design, Manufacture and Engineering Management at the University of Strathclyde. He is academic co-ordinator for the BEng/MEng undergraduate programme in Sports Design Engineering, and a Chartered Technological Product Designer. His research encompasses physical-digital interaction, manufacturing and creativity. He is currently Deputy Co-ordinator of a 14-partner European project, PRIME-VR2, on the use of virtual reality for rehabilitation, and has previously led a range of UK Research and Innovation (EPSRC, AHRC, InnovateUK) funded research projects. This has included collaboration with disciplines such as drama, bioengineering, history and business to deliver new methods and approaches for design. He has acted as Local and Programme Chair for the International Conference on Design Creativity, is a member of the editorial advisory board for the International Journal on Design Creativity and Innovation, and was guest editor for the Journal of Engineering Design special issue on Interaction and Experience Design.
PhD researcher at WISERD Research Centre, Cardiff University

Philippa Davies

Philippa is an ESRC-funded PhD researcher at Cardiff University based in the WISERD Research Centre. Her interest in sport started from an early age through competitive swimming as she went on to train as an athlete for 15 years, representing Great Britain in Open Water swimming. She is passionate about research which helps women and girls have positive experiences and benefits through sport.
Her research examines women sport leaders and policy makers, how they are represented, their experience in their roles and their effect on gender equality in sport policy in Wales. She recently presented her results at the UN Commission on the Status of Women NGO parallel panel as part of the Wales Assembly of Women presentation on women’s representation in Wales.
Esports and Pedagogy Research Adviser

Michael Dassa

The OSS was founded with support from the Danish Institute of Sport Studies (IDAN), and other European institutes, and we have retained strong ties with Denmark. The country is one of the most active nations in the world with a strong commitment to community sport for all. It is also among world leaders in the development of esport and its connection of players to physical exercise as part of their growth and development.
Michael Dassa has joined the OSS to help us develop our understanding of and research development in this area. Michael is an accomplished consultant and researcher with expertise in pedagogy, didactics, esports, mindset and motivation across the private and the public sector in education. Michael is passionate about questioning the status quo, leveraging new solutions to known problems and transforming the most up-to-date knowledge and research into strategies for esport development in education. Michael is currently developing educational initiatives within gaming and esports in partnership with schools, colleges, universities and esport Denmark.
Senior Research Fellow, School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University

Dr Coral Hanson

Coral is a senior research fellow in the School of Health and Social Care at Edinburgh Napier University. Prior to this, she worked for 20 years in the public leisure sector environment developing and implementing health-based physical activity interventions. Her research has mainly focused on factors influencing participation in physical activity referral schemes (PARS) for those with non-communicable diseases and resultant changes in physical activity behaviour. Current research includes the development and implementation of a taxonomy for the reporting and evaluation of PARS, and the development and evaluation of a physical activity mobile health app to support participants in a PARS. She is also involved in two atrial fibrillation studies: a feasibility randomized controlled trial aimed at increasing medication adherence among adults with atrial fibrillation using mobile health technology, and a realist evaluation of atrial fibrillation screening.
Reader in Sport Management, Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC)

Dr Larissa Davies

Dr Larissa Davies is a Reader in Sport Management at Sheffield Hallam University. She is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work draws upon knowledge and methods from sport management, economics and geography. Larissa’s research focuses on the economic and social impact of sport and physical activity. She specialises in measuring and valuing the ‘non-market’ impacts of sport and physical activity on society, such as health, subjective wellbeing, social capital, education and crime. Larissa’s research is positioned at the interface between academia and practice. Her work contributes to methodological debates around the measurement of sport, and her evidence-based research on Social Return on Investment (SROI) informs policy and practice in the sector. Larissa has worked extensively with a range of sport and leisure organisations in the UK, including central and local government, non-departmental public bodies, charities, National Governing Bodies and commercial sports organisations. She is also part of an international collaboration investigating the social benefits of outdoor sport to society.
Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde, and Educational Researcher

Professor David Kirk

Dr Kirk is currently Professor of Education and former Head of the School of Education (2014-17) at the University of Strathclyde. An educational researcher with teaching and research interests in educational innovation, curriculum history, and physical education and sport pedagogy, David is founding editor of the peer reviewed journal 'Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy' (Routledge) and editor of 'Routledge Studies in Physical Education and Youth Sport'. He has held academic appointments in universities in England, Australia, Ireland and Belgium and is currently Honorary Professor of Human Movement Studies at the University of Queensland. His most recent book 'Precarity, Critical Pedagogy and Physical Education' was published by Routledge in 2020, and his most recent co-authored book with Dr Kimberly Oliver, 'Girls, Gender and Physical Education: An Activist Perspective', was published by Routledge in August 2015. A book co-edited with Professor Patricia Vertinsky (University of British Columbia) 'Female Traditions in Physical Education: 'Women First' Revisited' was published by Routledge in 2016.
Lecturer in Sport Studies and Sport Management, University of Stirling

Dr Sarah Zipp

Sarah teaches on the undergraduate and graduate sport studies and management programmes at the University of Stirling, having taught at universities in the USA, Netherlands, Singapore and Japan, which bring a global perspective to her teaching and research. Her research on gender and sport has been published in academic journals, books and news articles in the UK and around the world.
As a researcher, Sarah examines gender in sport, focusing on the experience of adolescent girls. Her ground-breaking work on menstruation and sport helped her earn the Early Career Scholar Award from the Journal of Sport for Development and she hosted the UK’s first workshop on sport and menstrual health in 2020, through a Wellcome Trust Foundation grant.
She has conducted research in the UK, USA, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Working with global partners such as the International Working Group for Women in Sport (IWG), the Women Win Foundation, the UK Government, the Gender Equality for Generation Z (GETZ) EU project, the Sheerose Foundation (India) and the University of Tsukuba (Japan), her work has helped inform policy and practice in sport.
Sarah earned her PhD in Development Studies at Erasmus University (Netherlands) and a master’s degree in Sport Management from Virginia Commonwealth University (USA). An immigrant from the USA, Sarah is a mum of two adolescent girls and has lived in Scotland and the Netherlands - and has developed a great interest particularly in Scotland's Highland Games - as her action pic demonstrates!
Dr Zipp's research is available at: https://www.stir.ac.uk/people/256560#outputs.
Director of Education at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University

Dr Ian C. Elliott

Dr Ian C. Elliott is Director of Education (PGT) in the Department of Leadership and HRM. His research includes work on public leadership, organisational change in the public sector and community empowerment. He has extensive consultancy and research experience and has successfully supervised and examined up to doctoral level.
Ian holds a number of academic leadership positions nationally and internationally, is the current Honorary Chair and trustee of the Joint University Council (JUC) - the UK learned society for public administration, public policy and social work - and in this capacity represents UK universities who teach and research in these subjects. He is subject expert in Public Sector and Healthcare on the CABS Academic Journal Guide Committee, and a member of the International Commission on the Accreditation of Public Administration and Training Programs (ICAPA) Accreditation Committee. He co-convenes the International Institute of Administrative Sciences EGPA Permanent Study Group IX Teaching Public Administration, and is a member of the Editorial Board of Teaching Public Administration, Policy Policy and Administration and Public Administration: An International Quarterly.
Ian has over 15 years' experience of teaching and learning across five UK universities, leading the development of postgraduate and doctoral programmes in public administration and management, and has also held strategic leadership roles within and across faculties including at Graduate School and Senate.
Much of his prior academic experience has included engaging with employers such as City of Edinburgh Council, Dundee City Council, Orkney Islands Council and Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations. Dr Elliott has also been commissioned by organisations to run training courses and has been invited to speak at numerous academic and professional events including for the Higher Education Academy, MacKay Hannah and Holyrood Events.
Ian is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (FCMI) and a Chartered Management & Business Educator (CMBE).
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology/SPEAR Academic Lead, Canterbury Christ Church University

Professor Jan Burns MBE

Jan started her career by completing a psychology degree and then a PhD examining quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. She trained as a Clinical Psychologist and spent the early part of her career practicing in the NHS. She continued my research as a practitioner, but subsequently moved into a full-time academic role at Canterbury Christ Church University, where, in 2009, her research focus turned to sport in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and she joined the IPC/Virtus group working on developing the eligibility and classification system to re-include athletes into the Paralympic programme. Jan subsequently became Head of Eligibility for Virtus, and their programme of research led to the successful re-inclusion of athletes into the Paralympics in 2012. She has continued to focus her main research around sport and ID athletes, from grassroots to elite competition.
In 2015 she was awarded an MBE for her contribution to people with intellectual disabilities. Currently Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology, she is still engaged in a wide range of research projects around sport, physical activity and disability, sits on the Board of GB Special Olympics and provide swhatever expertise she can to promote this organisation and others with similar aims.
Lecturer in research methods and injury epidemiology, University of Edinburgh

Dr Debbie Palmer

Debbie is currently a lecturer in research methods and injury epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. She is an Olympian and dual international athlete, having competed as a short-track speed skater for Great Britain. Post her sporting career Debbie has worked in sports injury and illness epidemiology research for the last 15 years. Her research focuses on epidemiology, risk and prevention of sports injury and illness in elite, youth and recreational cohorts, longer-term consequences of sport-related injury, and retired athlete health. She has worked with Arthritis Research UK (Versus Arthritis), the English and Scottish Rugby Football Unions, Enduro World Series mountain biking and World Olympians Association. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee Medical and Scientific injury and illness surveillance Games Group.
Lecturer in Sport, Faculty of Health SCiences and Sport, University of Stirling

John Taylor

John Taylor is a graduate of Heriot-Watt University (BA Hons Recreation) and the University of Edinburgh (MSc Social and Educational Research). With over 20 years experience as a researcher and research manager from the Centre for Leisure Research (CLR) to Research and Evaluation Manager at sportscotland and the University of Stirling, John has experience of monitoring and evaluating a wide range of sports initiatives. These include evaluations of the 'Girls on the Move' Programme, the SFA's Football Academy and Community Club Officers Project and 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.
Lecturer in Sport Development and Coaching, Abertay University

Dr Paula Murray

Dr Murray recently returned to her native Scotland after a spell leading the Sports Coaching BSc course at Loughborough College, taking on a role in sports development and coaching at Abertay University.
Paula completed a PhD exploring the gendered perspectives of female sports coaches, reporting on athletes’ perceptions of gender in the coach-athlete relationship and coaches’ experiences, with findings applied to practical settings in sports development and coaching.
Prior to studying for her higher degree, she completed a BSc (Hons) in Physical Activity and Health and was previously a Club Development Co-ordinator for Scottish Swimming in the North East of Scotland, where she successfully increased participation in swimming, and contributed to improving coaching quality and the club structure.
Paula is a Level 2 swimming coach and a CIMSPA Coach Practitioner, and prior to her return north was involved in coaching the Loughborough University swim team. Previously, she was the Lead Coach for the Edge Hill University swimming team. Her experiences in swimming have allowed her to develop an understanding of the realities of coaching and sports development in recreational, club and performance environments.
Paula has a keen interest in sport having participated in athletics and swimming, representing Scotland in athletics at the Loughborough International and Celtic International tournaments.
She recently worked with OSS Research Officer Ryan Brown on the OSS Women in Leadership in Scottish Sport research conducted on behalf of Scottish Women in Sport.
Lecturer in Sport Coaching, Liverpool John Moores University

Mark Carroll

A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Mark is a lecturer in Sport Coaching at Liverpool John Moores University, having previously taught at the University of Stirling, where he is also in the final stages of completing his PhD in Sports Studies. Mark’s thesis looks, in part, at factors that influence the motivational behaviours of youth community football coaches in Scotland. Such work is a continuation of previous research he has carried out in this area. Mark has also written around emotional intelligence in coaching and player welfare issues in academy football, on account of the broad interest he has in coach development and sport psychology.
He holds both MSc and BSc (Hons) degrees in Sport Coaching from the University of Stirling and University of the West of Scotland, respectively. Mark currently coaches academy players at Ayr United football club, and previously held community coaching positions at Celtic FC – where he worked in Scotland and abroad – and United Sports. Mark also volunteered as a coach for East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure, helping to run football programmes in partnership with the Scottish Football Association.
Before coaching, Mark played both academy and boys club level football, and competed in Karate at regional and national levels. Outside of sport, Mark has worked as a fitness instructor for South Lanarkshire Culture and Leisure and Lifeguard for Nuffield Health and Camp Seneca Lake Pennsylvania. He is also a keen recreational runner and the large part that sport and physical activity has played in Mark’s life drives his desire to improve participation rates and experiences within these domains across Scotland.
Senior Lecturer in Physical Education, University of Edinburgh

Dr Shirley Gray

Before becoming a lecturer in physical education, Dr Gray was a secondary school teacher of physical education and then a teaching fellow at the University of Edinburgh. In general, Shirley's research attempts to explore how teachers understand and enact curriculum policy, and how they might be supported in their learning to provide their students with positive learning experiences in physical education. More specifically, she is currently involved in research projects that explore gender issues in physical education, social and emotional learning in physical education, teaching for personal and social responsibility, pupil motivation and the professional learning of teachers.
Research Adviser

James Bryce

Cricket and golf have been James' keen passions throughout his life, and his daughters have followed suit, going on to represent Scotland on the cricket field as he passed on to them his love of community sport in all shapes and forms. A keen cricketer at school and vice-captain of the Edinburgh Academy 1st XI, James played for St Andrews University and became a playing member of the MCC. More recently, he has completed coaching courses and helped with the coaching of girls cricket at George Watson's College.
James remains an enthusiastic golfer who has mostly played off a single figure handicap for the last 50 years, playing for St Andrews University in the Scottish University Golf Championships and remaining a member of the Scottish Universities Golfing Society. As a volunteer in sport, he has helped marshall at a number of British and Scottish Open Championships held at Muirfield and Gullane, and was also Chief Recorder looking after the teams that recorded the scores of the players at the Open at Muirfield in 2002.
This passion for sport combined with his academic background stoked his enthusiasm to help the OSS to shape its research and evidence base to help Scottish sport more widely. James graduated from St Andrews University with a Botany degree in 1978 and after a year at the University of California in Riverside, he did a PhD at Cambridge, where was was a golf Blue. His career took him to Heriot-Watt University where he developed an interest in the science and technology of malting, and into roles as Director of the Brewing and Distilling degrees at Heriot-Watt University and Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. He also held positions with the University of Edinburgh and University of Adelaide, in Australia.
James has conducted widespread research in recent years and been an external examiner across a range of British universities, and is looking forward to supporting the OSS to maintain high standards of academic rigour in its research programmes.
Professor of Sociology, Glasgow Caledonian University

Dr Emmanuelle Tulle

Dr Emmanuelle Tulle is Professor of Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University. She leads the Sport and Physical Activity Research Group in the Glasgow School for Business and Society and is Vice-President and a trustee of the International Sociology of Sport Association. She started her academic career as a sociologist of ageing and, after a few years, moved to sport and physical activity to develop greater insights into aged embodiment, as lived experience but also culturally.
Emmanuelle contributed to the emergence of the discipline of cultural gerontology, developing a new language to rescue aged experiences from the narrative of inevitable decline. This has positioned her well for examining critically the turn to physical activity as the new norm of ageing. She, therefore, chose to focus her attention on the structural conditions in which the aged body is able to be put into movement – what factors facilitate and hinder the development and maintenance of what she terms a physical activity career - whilst reframing physical movement as a practice of freedom, rather than as an exclusively health or anti-ageing practice.
In empirical terms she has conducted research with, inter alia, Master athletes, parkrunners, women mountaineers, perimenopausal women and older gym users.
Lecturer in Sports Coaching, City of Glasgow College

Ross Mathison

Ross currently works as Lecturer in Sports Coaching at City of Glasgow College. Aside from this role within education, he has a wide and varied set of experiences from industry. Previous work in sports development includes active schools coordinator responsibilities and community sport hub officer duties within South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture.
Ross is particularly passionate about basketball and has played both within the US collegiate system and in Italy. Beyond playing, he has worked in a number of coaching roles including Youth head coaching positions with Leicester Riders and Glasgow Rocks basketball teams and has also coached within the Scottish National Junior Team squads.
At present, along with developing the competitive basketball offering at City of Glasgow College, he sits on the colleges’ internal sports development group which focuses on improving opportunities for students to engage with sport. He is also a member of the Scottish Student Sport Basketball working group with a remit to develop engagement with colleges across Scotland.
Ross holds a BA (Hons) in Social Science from Glasgow Caledonian University with Psychology and Sociology being the key areas of interest during the course. Ross has completed his MSc in Sports Coaching at the University of Stirling, with the main focus of his research investigating the role of mentoring at different stages of the coaching journey. More recently, he has completed his TQFE in Further Education developing his knowledge of teaching in the FE sector, which has progressed into studying towards his Doctorate in Education at Strathclyde University.
Lecturer, Exercise and Health Sciences, Biomedical and Sports Sciences, University of Aberdeen

Dr Heather May Morgan

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Heather is a multidisciplinary social scientist whose formal training spans law, French language, forensic medicine, philosophy, gender studies, social research, sociology, criminology and health services research. She was appointed as a Lecturer within the University of Aberdeen’s Postgraduate Education Group, Institute of Applied Health Sciences in 2017, having previously worked at the Chief Scientist Office-funded Health Services Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen since 2012.
Heather has substantive research interests in digital health, methodological expertise in designing, leading and delivering qualitative and mixed methods studies in applied health sciences and a pedagogical research focus on postgraduate training and employment, within and beyond universities. She is a member of several national and international research groups and works closely with a range of community, government and industry partners to undertake and apply her research, and facilitate student work placements.
Heather currently lectures on Exercise and Health Sciences and Biomedical and Sports Sciences, is lead author or co-author of more than 20 peer-reviewed papers and two edited collections, reviews for a number of high impact journals/publishers and is co-creator of Aberdeen’s original, free-to-play, location-based, augmented reality game for iOS devices: [m]apping. She has also been nominated 'Funniest Lecturer' in the 2020 Aberdeen University Student's Association and University of Aberdeen Awards for Excellence in Teaching.
Lecturer in Exercise Psychology, School of Sport, University of Essex

Dr Andrew Brinkley

Dr Andrew Brinkley is a Research Associate in the National Centre of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Loughborough University, and Lecturer in Exercise Psychology at Loughborough College. Andrew holds a BSc in Sport Psychology and Physical Activity and Health from the University of Derby, a MRes in Sports Science-Psychology from Nottingham Trent University, and PhD in Psychology from Loughborough University. Andrew leads a variety of projects across sports-based health interventions, exercise and health psychology and mental health and wellbeing. His work with young people, employees and older adults is disseminated through international journals, through international conferences and through translation to the population he seeks to serve.
Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health, University of Stirling

Dr Gemma Ryde

Dr Ryde completed her undergraduate honours degree in Biology with Sport and Exercise Science from Heriot-Watt University in 2005. During this time she worked in the leisure industry as a fitness instructor and personal trainer and, after her degree, worked on community physical activity initiatives including positions for 'Paths For All' which involved delivering walking in low socio-economic status areas in Edinburgh.
In 2009 Gemma was awarded a prestigious international PhD scholarship at The University of Queensland, Australia, to explore workplace sedentary behaviour in office employees and completed her PhD in 2013. She then started at the University of Stirling where she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for several years on projects which included investigating physical activity in older women from low socio-economic status areas and workplaces perceptions of physical activity in paid work time. Dr Ryde won a highly competitive Impact Fellowship at the University of Stirling to progress her work in physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the workplace, and is now a Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport.
Her research interests are still focused on physical activity and sedentary behaviour with a specific interest in the workplace setting. Her current work includes the measurement, prevalence and influences (correlates) of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles, and the development and delivery of interventions to modify these behaviours.
Applied Sports Science, Edinburgh Napier University

Professor Geraint Florida-James

Professor of Applied Sports Science at Edinburgh Napier University, Geraint is a driving force behind the development of both Edinburgh Napier's and Scotland's mountain biking pedigree as Lead Academic at the Mountain Biking Centre of Scotland, blending a strong focus on research around cycling and the environment with the development of mountain bike venues in the Scottish Borders. He is a member of the Sports, Exercise and Health Science Research Group, The Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, and Biomedical Science Research Group.
He was a member of the Expert Panel at EuroBike and the World Commission of Sports - Cycling Science Steering Group.
An Associate editor for the Journal of Science and Cycling, he was an invited lead guest editor for Special Issue for Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, “Exercise, Free Radical Metabolism, and Ageing: Cellular and Molecular Processes".
PhD, University of London

Fotini Vasilopoulos

Fotini is currently carrying out an ESRC-funded doctoral research project at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development and Centre for Educational Neuroscience at Birkbeck, University of London. Her research focus is on qualitative aspects of physical activity and their impact on cognition and social and emotional learning in primary school children, with a view to improve how physical education is taught in schools. Her motivation for this topic began during her time teaching yoga and dance in inner city London primary schools as a way to improve outcomes for disadvantaged children. She aims to develop a sustainable way to apply her findings through primary school teacher CPD.
To complement her teaching experience with a more rigorous psychology foundation and practices in an education context, Fotini previously completed a master’s programme with The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. There her work highlighted how physical activity may help disadvantaged children's academic achievement by improving their self-regulation. Her findings suggest that early and sustained physical activity is an important element in children’s development and schooling. Her thesis on this topic was published in a peer review journal with significant news coverage. She has been exploring the body and mind connection in her personal and teaching practice for the past 20 years as a yoga teacher and dancer.
PhD, Falmouth University

Carina Assuncao

Carina is a PhD student at Falmouth University, Games Academy (Doctoral Studentship recipient). Her research focuses on gender diversity practices in esports communities in both the UK and in Portugal, with the aim to uncover how cultural differences impact these spaces and the goal to develop best practices for grassroots esports communities.
She studied Psychology and Games Design at Glasgow Caledonian University (First Class, and winner of Best Performing Student Award) and Science and Technology Studies at the University of Edinburgh (Distinction, and recipient of the Highly Skilled Workforce Scholarship).
Carina lectured and tutored Games User Research and User Psychology at GCU between 2018 and 2020; presented her work at multiple conferences, gave guest talks at Stirling University; and organised a workshop about Gamification at the EduDays conference by the European Trade Union Institute. She's published in peer-reviewed journals, and is frequently asked to review papers in games studies.

OSS Research Assistants

OSS Research Officer

Ryan Brown

Ryan joined the OSS in early 2020 as our first Research Assistant and after impresing across a series of research areas, he was appointed as the organisation's first Research and Support Operations Officer in Febriary, 2021.
A former Scottish and GB swimmer, Ryan graduated from University of West of Scotland with a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science. Born and raised in the Borders, and now living in Stirling, Ryan started swimming competitively at the age of 10 with his local club, Kelso, and went on to swim internationally, regularly featuring in the top 10 in Britain and in a number of different events. The Scot won the British Championship title for the 200m butterfly in 2016 and competed at the European Junior Championships in Hungary that year.
Ryan has always had a keen interest in a wide variety of sport and how to most effectively support athletes at all levels, both physically and mentally. He has developed research into the mindset of athletes at different levels, what drives people to participatre and compte, and how they can be best supported to ensure they enjoy sport at every level they take part.
Ryan is the lead coordinator of research programmes across the OSS. If you have ideas for research, or would like to share your research, you will always receive a warm welcome - email ryan@oss.scot.
Research Assistant

Fiona Beth Doran

Fiona Beth is a PhD student with the University of Aberdeen’s philosophy department. Her research focuses on the ethical basis of segregating sport by sex (i.e. the male and female categories) with the view to develop an alternative model which promotes inclusive opportunities for all. Her motivation for this topic began as a way to enhance female athlete progression and she is now particularly interested in finding a method of categorisation which caters to transgender and intersex athletes from amateur to elite levels of sport, aiming to find a structure of sport which allows all athletes to achieve and succeed in an environment that is welcoming, comfortable, and safe.
Fiona Beth started this doctoral project in 2018 after graduating with a first-class degree from the University of Aberdeen. It was during her undergraduate degree that she first became interested in the topic of sex-segregation and sport after this was covered for a week in a Gender Equality class. Her dissertation on this topic won the Hutton Prize in Mental Philosophy.
She has been interested and involved with sport for most of her life, as an athlete, a coach and official. She began with equestrian vaulting and gymnastics at school, competing at national events in vaulting, and training and coaching at her local gymnastics club. Once she finished school, Fiona Beth was employed by the Scottish Rugby Union as a modern apprentice rugby coach based at her local rugby club, Perthshire. She then began to play rugby, competing at club and university level, and went on to represent Scotland at a national 7s event in 2014.
Research Assistant

Jamie Mack

Jamie is 22 years old and has recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh where he studied a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Recreation Management, and during which time Jamie undertook a placement at Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
Born in Edinburgh, sport has been a major passion for Jamie from a young age and he represented his school at rugby, hockey, cricket, tennis and squash. He played tennis and hockey for over 10 years, representing East of Scotland and Scotland respectively at age grade level, and has coached at his local tennis club for four years - looking to help coach the younger generation and get more people playing and enjoying the sport. This developed an interest in the availability of accessible and affordable facilities/resources and the impact it has on participation.
Research Assistant

Ross Kilvington

Ross graduated from Abertay University with an Honours degree in Sport and Exercise Science and then obtained a Masters by Research degree in Exercise Physiology. Both dissertations focused on the impact a high intensity training program could have on improving team sport athletes’ physiological characteristics - one of many aspects of research that interests Ross.
Ross has gained experience in many different sports, providing Sport Science support to footballers and cricketers. He enjoys working in a research-based setting but has successfully turned his hand to writing about sport in a non-academic sense, featuring in a range of critically acclaimed publications and online blogs, including Nutmeg, the Gentleman Ultra and North Section.
Ross is currently writing a book about the inside story of the 1998 FIFA World Cup, the Scotland men's team's last appearance in a FIFA World Cup Finals, where he is interviewing key protagonists and exploring the many subplots and narratives that contributed to making the tournament one of finest in living memory.
An avid football supporter, poor golfer and former Fife athletic champion at the 200m and 400m, sport has held a lifelong interest for Ross.
Master of Research student, University of West of Scotland

Gemma Lumsdaine

After recently completing a BSc (Hons) degree in Sports Development and Coaching at Abertay University, with a first class award, Gemma was selected as the Observatory's first Master of Research (MRes) student, working with the University of West of Scotland to investigate barriers and motivations to sport participatioj for people with disabilities in Scotland.
The 23-year-old wheelchair athlete from Monifieth has already built up an impressive cv across sport, from competing and coaching to mentoring and advising through committees and boards. Gemma is a member of the GB Wheelchair Rugby Talent Squad, which helps to prepare athletes to make the step to the Paralympic Squad, and the Scottish Disability Sport Athlete Academy. Prior to competing in wheelchair rugby Gemma played wheelchair basketball at a national level. She also coaches wheelchair sports for Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Sports Club and won the COVA Young Coach of the Year in 2018. Gemma sits on the Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Advisory Board and has been a member of the Scottish Disability Sport Young People’s Panel, and supports and mentors the newly formed board.
During the pandemic, Gemma worked tirelessly to provide support to and engagement opportunities for people with a disability, which included weekly workout sessions and talks by Paralympians. She has developed workshops and training on areas related to disability sport, mental health and well-being, spoken at conferences and events about issues relating to disability and inclusion, and was recognised as one of the most inspirational young women in Scotland by the YWCA.
Research Assistant

Oliver Thomson

Born in Edinburgh but raised in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, Oliver returned to the capital to study an MA in International Business Management before his focus turned to sport, graduating from an MSc in Management and Leadership in Sports Business – both at Heriot-Watt University.
At the launch of Scottish Rugby's new 'FOSROC Super6', Oliver took over as Stirling County RFC’s Super6 Team and Media Manager, learning and developing his knowledge and experience in Scotland’s top tier of domestic rugby, and gaining experience in a similar role with Scotland U20s rugby squad during their 2020 Six Nations campaign.
Sport has always been a major part of Oliver's life, having played football with local club St Cuthbert Wanderers, and a variety of other sports, including rugby, tennis and downhill skiing. His passion for sport led him to strive for a career in the industry, and he is eager to use this passion to contribute to the development of sport in Scotland and help others get as much enjoyment out of sport as he does.
Research Assistant

Sam Winton

Sam is heading into his final year at the University of St Andrews reading Economics and International Relations, with a focus on the intersection of sports with domestic and foreign policy.
He began learning to row during his first year at the university and quickly took to the sport, joining the committee as the development officer and overseeing key initiatives such as large fundraising campaigns, improved development strategies and outreach, before going on to become the youngest director on the board of Scottish Rowing - whilst also sitting on the executive committee of the Athletic Union at Saints Sport. In his role as Volunteering and Engagement Officer, his work into LGBT inclusion was recognised as best in Scotland by Scottish Student Sport.
In his spare time, Sam founded and leads a social enterprise called Here For Sport which works to identify and reduce barriers to participation across sport. He has collaborated with Loughborough University on research into barriers to participation faced by the BAME community, as well as partnering with Stonewall to address barriers to participation faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and delivered a lecture in sports business and innovation focusing on his experience as a student entrepreneur and activist.
Research Assistant

Anna Goorevich

Anna is currently a US-UK Fulbright-University of Stirling Postgraduate Scholar, pursuing a MSc in Sport Management at the University of Stirling.
Originally from Gaithersburg, Maryland in the United States, Anna recently earned her B.A. in American Studies from Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where she also played four years of NCAA-level football. Anna is deeply passionate about rectifying global, systemic inequalities that keep sport inaccessible for minority groups. While at F&M, Anna’s Honours Thesis focused on how athletic coaches can avoid replicating gender essentialism, gender hierarchies and heteronormativity while coaching women and girls. This past summer, Anna served as a Gender Equity Intern at the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport where she contributed to studies on women’s professional sport business models as well as coach perceptions of coaching girls.
Broadly, Anna’s research interests revolve around gender identity, leadership and coaching, and sport participation and she is excited to develop a more globalised perspective around these topics during her time in Scotland and with the OSS.
In her free time, Anna enjoys playing, watching and coaching football.
Research Assistant

Tom Rowe

Tom graduated from the University of Nottingham with a first-class bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature and achieved an MA in Applied Linguistics. During this time, he briefly worked as a research assistant for Linguistic Profiling for Professionals (LIPP) based in the School of English at the University of Nottingham. Following his studies, Tom travelled up the east coast of Australia doing part-time work in bars and hostels, before returning home and joining OSS as a research assistant. He is a passionate supporter of Arsenal Football Club, a keen member of my local gym and a firm believer in the power of sport to empower and enrich the lives of everyone.
Research Assistant

Emily Divine

Emily has recently completed her bachelor’s degree at Edinburgh Napier University, having specialised in Sport Psychology and, in her final year, explored athletes’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily has taken part in various sports through her life, from achieving a black belt in Taekwondo to competing nationally in Dance. She has been a part of the Napier Dance Team for the last four years and helped with running the club for the past three. This year she enjoyed being club president and took great pride in managing to keep the club running and members dancing via online classes through a very challenging year.
Emily works as a Health Care Assistant, caring for the elderly, which she finds highly rewarding and this has increased her knowledge of and enthusiasm for caring.
She previously volunteered for Scottish Rugby, and has worked with athletes from Elite Taekwondo Scotland, Hamilton FC, Olympic athletes and Scottish athletics as part of her studies, which provided a great breadth of insight to the sporting industry.
Research Assistant

Evans Mukora

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Edinburgh, Evans grew up in a family passionate about sport and he enjoyed football and basketball at St Augustine's High School. He is currently studying Sport and Exercise Science at the University of the West of Scotland. Currently, is in his fourth and final year of a bachelor honours degree Evans is researching the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns on jogging in Scotland. Evans plays and coaches football and basketball, and is also an active jogger, which sparked his interest in the jogging study.
Research Assistant

Rachel Kidd

Rachel Kidd recently graduated with First Class Honours from the University of the West of Scotland, studying BSc Sport and Exercise Science, and will be starting the MSc Physiotherapy (pre-reg) course at Glasgow Caledonian University in January 2021. From Stirling, Rachel is a keen cyclist and has completed the ‘Pedal for Scotland’ cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh three times. She spent time in New York as a lifeguard and camp counsellor at the YMCA sports camp, working with young gymnasts and volleyball players in 2017. She has always had a passion for providing rehabilitation to people of all ages after an illness or injury and has worked for the NHS for five years as a nursing assistant and, more recently, a physiotherapy assistant. Rachel's research interest is in older adults and sport and how sport participation levels change throughout a person’s life, and her goal is to become a physiotherapist, using sport and exercise to give people back their quality of life.
Research Assistant

Jack Templeton

From Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, Jack studied pharmacology at the University of Edinburgh, including genetic, regenerative medicine and a systematic review of agonists in diabetes. He is passionate about community sport and earned his 'colours' as a leading figure in the Edinburgh University Karate Club, helping with the merger of two clubs and fulfilling the role of president.
Research Assistant

Mark McCready

Mark is a Fourth Year Human Biology student at Queen Margaret University. He is working part-time in the esports industry with British Esports Association, the national body for esports in the UK. As the Scotland Representative, Mark is engaged in developing the esports industry in Scotland and supporting companies and education enter into the esports space, during which time he has developed the annual Scottish College Cup and the Esports in Education Conference, and created the esports society, Monarchs Esports, at Queen Margaret University. Mark's research interests include esports development within an education setting and cognitive development and cognitive fragility prevention through esports.