Welcome to The Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC)

Students, graduates and Academy staff talk about how the partnership between the University and Wolverhampton Wanderers Academy brings benefits for both students and the football club.

Led by Professor Tracey Devonport, the Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC) is located within the Faculty of Education, Health, and Wellbeing (FEHW) and structured around three research themes: Performance Enhancement, Physical Activity and Health, and Sport Cultures; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. These dynamic and multidisciplinary themes drive our research and enterprise activity supporting a vibrant undergraduate and postgraduate community.

Over the last few years, SPARC staff have worked on projects that have had real world benefit to the public. Through work on bone mineral density, the role of Vitamin D, and the positive benefits of exercise to health, our research findings have both saved lives and reduced the likelihood of life-changing injuries. We continue to build upon this impact through our vibrant community, strong research partnerships and collaborations.

Research undertaken around the theme Performance Enhancement aims to understand the limits of performance in a range of contexts, and thereby improve performance. Research in this area has been funded by external research funding and PGR studentships from sources such as Elmhurst Ballet School and Wolverhampton Wanderers Football club. Staff contributing to this theme include: Dr Ross Cloak, Professor Tracey Devonport, Dr Shaun Galloway, Professor Andy Lane, Professor George Metsios, Professor Allan Nevill, Dr Tina Smith, and Professor Matt Wyon.

The research theme Physical Activity and Health aims to understand the role of physical activity in the prevention and treatment of disease and the promotion of health. Research in this area has been supported by external research funding and PGR studentships from sources such as Horizon 2020 Heat Shield Project and the European Comission (FUEGO Project and U-Gene Project). Staff contributing to this theme include: Dr Ross Cloak, Tracey Devonport, Professor Andy Lane, Dr Ian Lahart, Professor George Metsios, Professor Allan Nevill, Dr Tina Smith, and Professor Matt Wyon.

Sport Cultures; Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is a developing research theme within SPARC which aims to understand the socio-cultural dimensions of sports participation and learning in coaching and teaching contexts. Research in this area has been supported by external research funding and PGR studentships from sources such as Staff contributing to this theme include: Dr Gavin WardDr Kay Biscomb, Dr Nick O’Leary, and Professor Jean Williams.