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Durham University

Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences


Our research adopts multiple disciplinary perspectives encompassing: sociology, psychology, physiology, political science, and nutrition. Together, we explore and critique pathways from theory, to policy, and practice, challenging conventional understanding of how sport and physical activity relate to wellbeing, health, and a just and fair society.

The department has two leading research themes:

Sporting Lives, Subcultures and Performance

Work within this theme focuses on minority groups and unheard stories within sport, with previous projects examining female fans, antisemitism, and work, rest and wellbeing in modern professional athletes

Sport and Physical Activity for Societal Change

Work within this theme examines approaches to the design and implementation of sport and/or physical activity policies and interventions, including the role of sport for development, paediatric obesity prevention, and reducing inequalities in health.

We engage in meaningful and impactful research with external funders and partners including: Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Leverhulme Trust, Kick it Out, The Football Association, and The Commonwealth Secretariat.

All of our researchers supervise postgraduate students and teach on our undergraduate programme, ensuring we are developing the next generation of world-leading researchers in sport and exercise sciences.