Mission statement: RISES will deliver cutting edge research and high quality research training, delivered by world class staff in state-of-the-art facilities
The Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) was established in 1997 and continues to be the cutting-edge and vibrant home of research activity within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences. The success of RISES staff since its inception in 1997 is obvious and a high profile international reputation has been gained for its research outputs and training. Across broad and multi-disciplinary research areas RISES achieved a 5** at the 2011 RAE. In the 2008 RAE RISES submitted 22 staff and maintained its position as a leading research centre in the UK with recognition of its world leading and world-class activities. Some highlights include:
- We are joint 1st nationally for world leading (4*) research (25%)
- 85% of our research is of an international standard
- 50% of our research environment was scored at 4* or world leading
We have carried this level of research activity into the recent REF2014 submission with some notable developments: -
A £35 M investment in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in the brand new Tom Reilly Building and the refurbishment and development of the Max Perutz Life Sciences Building.
A significant investment in the recruitment of world leading academics and early career researchers with tremendous promise and potential through the LJMU “Inspire Initiative”. This has led to an increase in staff submitted to the REF from 22 in 2008 to 35 in 2014.
To capitalise on key alliances in health and performance, RISES took the strategic decision to supplement its research group-focused structure with two themed “Exchanges”. These themes are oriented toward areas of staff expertise, funding success, external impact and end-user translation. The Football Exchange (FEx) is a multidisciplinary group whose mission is to deliver high quality, research-informed solutions to real-world problems in the Football industry. The Physical Activity Exhange (PAEx) promotes innovation, research capacity and output in the field of exercise and health.
The set-up of a Public Engagement and Impact Group whose remit is to provide guidance and support for a range of public engagement activity across RISES so that research translation is improved and recorded. This has a direct input to the development and recording of “Impact” to support our Impact Case Studies submitted in REF2014.
Currently, RISES employs 53 academic staff, 6 post-doctoral fellows, 4 technical staff, 4 research officers/assistants, 3 teaching support officers, 3 administrative staff and 22 Honorary and Visiting Professors and Researchers working together in a research-led environment. This dynamic academic culture empowers staff and enables the training of postgraduate research students in world-class facilities. Excellent multi- and inter-disciplinary research networks exist within RISES and extend to world-leading national and international collaborations. The RISES Office has 2 staff to support all aspects of research and scholarly activity. The RISES Advisory Board oversees the operation of RISES providing lines of communication to the research groups and themes as well as to the School Management Group. The RISES Board will meet on a quarterly basis to review progress against strategic aims and KPIs. This group will manage the overall direction and research resource (people, infrastructure) and allocate pump-prime funding that is generated from research and enterprise overheads. The RISES Professors and Readers Group will continue to report into the RISES Board and lead strategic research agendas and activities across all discipline areas. They will support the genesis and review of future REF milestones related to quality of outputs, postgraduate recruitment and completion, income generation and impact. From a governance perspective the RISES board will report directly into the Faculty Research Strategy Committee and the University Scholarship, Research and Knowledge Transfer Committee. The FEx and PAEx will benefit from the strategic direction of respective steering groups with representation from key community and industrial stakeholders.
Research growth since 2008 includes a substantial increase in total peer-reviewed publications, from 221 per year in 2007 to 342 per year in 2012. The average impact factor of research outputs has been maintained as the number of outputs per staff member has increased considerably. Total research expenditure over the RAE cycle to 2008 was £2.9M and has increased over the current cycle to £6.9M in 2013, with a peak yearly income of £1.6M in 2012. This represents an increase of 138% compared with the previous RAE cycle.
A thriving post-graduate research community provides a cosmopolitan culture and an environment in which international students may flourish. The recent REF cycle has seen 60 PhD students graduate. Increased external and internal (matched) funding has been partially targeted at a year on year increase in PhD student recruitment and completion. Currently the postgraduate research community has 93 MPhil/PhD students with a PG representative who sits on the RISES Board and the Faculty Research Degree’s Committee. In an effort to further increase overseas recruitment, Dual PhD agreements with the University of Malaya and Mahidol University, Thailand, have been developed.
Over the current REF cycle, RISES has significantly extended its external engagement and international conference support. In 2008 RISES organised and hosted the First World Congress of Science and Soccer, and in 2011 organised and hosted the 16th Annual European College of Sport Science Congress. In 2012 RISES was a co-host and organiser of the International Conference of Science, Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS). RISES continues to provide bespoke training internally and internationally. A Research Methods and Statistics Support Group is headed by Dr. Mark Scott. Summer School programmes include the “ultrasound applications in sport and exercise sciences” and other training programmes are linked to industrial partners such as Prozone and Qualsys.
RISES has made significant strides in the current REF period with respect to overseas research collaborations. New initiatives include research-based Memorandums of Understanding with elite football clubs (Real Madrid) and governing bodies (Mexican FA). RISES staff have been seconded to the Qatar FA to provide elite player support and lead the development of sport science services at the ASPIRE Academy in Qatar. In collaboration with the ASPETAR Sports Medicine Hospital in Qatar, we have launched a large athlete-screening programme (6000+ athletes to date) to detect cardio-respiratory pathologies.
Finally, the overall role of RISES is to provide structures, support, critical mass and a focus for all of the research work being undertaken and to provide a clear link to teaching and enterprise. In this way world leading research clearly informs and infuses the curriculum and underpins applied work.