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Research think-tank the Observatory for Sport in Scotland is building capacity to produce important sport research by appointing a first Research Officer.

An Honours graduate in Sport and Exercise Science from University of the West of Scotland, Ryan Brown takes on the role after impressing during a voluntary period as an OSS Research Assistant.

David Ferguson, Chief Executive of the OSS, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ryan into the new role of Research Officer. Working closely with our Head of Research Nick Rowe, Ryan will also receive support and guidance from our 20-strong team of research advisers and associates as he develops.

“When the OSS was founded in 2016, a key focus was to improve the quality of research, analysis and evidence to underpin the knowledge and understanding of how community sport activity in all its forms can help improve health and wellbeing, education, social cohesion and the economy in Scotland. Important to that is developing a new generation of researchers. We have developed strong relationships with universities across Scotland, and further afield, and are delighted to have been able to take on graduates and help them to develop their research skills and experience.

“We created the Research Assistant roles a year ago and Ryan was our part of our first intake. Most of their work is voluntary but Ryan really impressed us with his work ethic, attitude and knowledge of community sport and the challenges it faces. We are continually building our staff resource and when the opportunity for a Research Officer came up Ryan was in pole position, so we’re delighted to see how he grasps the opportunity, and helps us to strengthen the data and evidence available to policy-makers and those delivering sport in communities.”

Ryan stated that he is looking forward to working in a collaborative team-focused culture, having opportunities to learn and grow his skills, and a chance to learn more leadership skills.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to help promote sport, health and wellbeing in one of the most important sectors,” he said, “and try to make important changes to ensure everyone has access to sport.”

A Scotland international swimmer throughout his teens, Ryan added: “From a young age, sport has always been a passion of mine. I was one of those kids that got involved in every sport that I could find, and I have many memories travelling around the country to get to matches, competitions or training sessions.

“However, throughout my time involved in sport at all levels, I have seen first-hand many of the barriers that people face in terms of access and availability to sport. I believe that this is something that needs a significant amount of work and change, change that can enable the entire population to be involved in sport activity that they want.”

Ryan will primarily be focused on conducting sports research but will also be working with fundraisers and policy makers to increase support for the OSS, and therefore the work that can be conducted by the OSS. Ryan is the lead researcher on our current ‘Women in Leadership Roles in Sport’ project, in partnership with Scottish Women in Sport, and will be working across many of the OSS projects.

If you would like to learn any more about the work conducted by the OSS, have ideas for areas of research linked to community sport activity in any shape or form, or would like to find out more on how you can help support the OSS, don’t hesitate to get in contact with Ryan by email –, or call 07936996256.