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 Director David Ferguson at: david@oss.scot.

OSS Research Advisory Group

Nick Rowe

Chair, OSS Research Advisory Group

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.

John Taylor

Lecturer, Sport, at University of Stirling

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.

Professor Richard Davison

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

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.

Dr Fiona Reid

Lecturer, Events and Sports Management, Glasgow Caledonian University

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".

Dr Remco Hoekman

Co-Director, Mulier Institute, Netherlands

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.

Professor Gayle McPherson

Chair, Events and Cultural Policy, School of Business and Creative Industries at UWS

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

Henrik H Brandt

Danish Research Consultant & Founding Director of IDAN

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.

Dr Christine Nash

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

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.

OSS Research Associates

Professor Simon Shibli

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

Simon is a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualified management accountant whose specialist areas of interest are the finance and economics of the sport and leisure industries. Recent research includes: measuring performance in elite sport; assessing the economic impact of major sport and cultural events; assisting National Governing Bodies with their strategic planning; and monitoring and evaluating the impact of sport initiatives and interventions. Simon and the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) team are committed to conducting high-quality research that makes a positive difference for clients.
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. SIRC is a business unit within the University that has a turnover of £1m per annum and which employs 18 staff. In 2003, Simon was admitted to the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is one of very few qualified accountants working in sport management in the UK. His main research interests are in the applied use of techniques from the fields of finance and economics to research questions in sport and leisure.
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.

Dr Heather May Morgan

Lecturer Exercise and Health Sciences, and Biomedical and Sports Sciences, University of Aberdeen

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.

Dr Andrew Wodehouse

Senior Lecturer in Design, Manufacture & Engineering, University of Strathclyde

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.

Dr Larissa Davies

Reader in Sport Management, Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC)

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.

Dr Andrew Brinkley

Research Associate, Loughborough University

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.

Professor Geraint Florida-James

Professor of Applied Sports Science, Edinburgh Napier University

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".

Professor David Kirk

Professor of Education, University of Strathclyde

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.

Paula Murray

Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching, Loughborough College

The Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching at Loughborough College, Paula completed a PhD exploring the gendered perspectives of female sports coaches. The thesis reports 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 at a club in the North East of Scotland, successfully increasing participation in swimming, and contributing to improving coaching quality and the club structure.
Paula is a Level 2 swimming coach and recognised as a CIMSPA Coach Practitioner, and is currrently 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.

Dr Gemma Ryde

Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health, University of Stirling

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.

Dr Shirley Gray

Senior Lecturer in PE, University of Edinburgh

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.

Jon Best

OSS Advisory Editor

OSS Research Assistants

Tom Rowe

OSS Research Assistant

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.

Jamie Mack

OSS Research Assistant

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.

Ryan Brown

Research Assistant

Ryan is a 22-year-old Scottish and GB swimmer in his final year studying BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science.
Currently based in Stirling, swimming with one of the High Performance squads, Ryan started swimming competitively aged 10. He has swum for Scottish and British teams, regularly featuring in the top 10 in Britain in a number of different events. Ryan won the British Championship title for the 200 butterfly in 2016 and competed at the European Junior Championships in Hungary that year. He has always had a keen interest in sport and how to most effectively develop athletes while paying attention to both physical and mental health. Ryan has developed research into the mindset of athletes at all levels, what drives them and how they can make improvements and changes to ensure they enjoy their sport.

Oliver Thomson

Research Assistant

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.

Rachel Kidd

Research Assistant

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.