Sport science event


Face to Face

Information about upcoming and past events

20 Years of the Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences

RISES is hosting several public events including some on behalf of our partners and collaborators to celebrate 20 years since its beginnings in 1997. Keep in touch with the events and projects spanning 2017-2018.

Randox Public Health Week

Liverpool’s reputation as one of the world’s greatest sporting cities has being pushed to the fore by an exciting collaboration between the new Grand National sponsors Randox Health, Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, and the University of Liverpool’s Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital. The event, known as Randox Health Week, was free and open to the public between Monday 3 and Wednesday 5 April – the three days prior to the Randox Health Grand National. See the full story – post event reports to follow.

Natural Health Service is improving health and reducing demands on services

LJMU Physical Activity Exchange hosted a free conference in conjunction with the Mersey Forest to showcase the Natural Health Service. Pioneering delivery partners gathered at Liverpool John Moores University to showcase the achievements of the Natural Health Service (NaHS) Consortium and offer practical resources for commissioners, practitioners and the public to develop the service across the UK. The NaHS is working with Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool to create a long-term research programme, a Centre of Excellence for Natural Health Service Research, that is set to influence policy and support for health and wellbeing in green environments. See the full story.

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Light Night

This is the fourth year in a row that LJMU has been the principal sponsor of LightNight and this year’s event on Friday 19 May 2017 proved to be the best yet. Over 2,000 people visited activities on the University campus – up some 400 visitors on last year’s event. Sports Science staff showcased the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the Time to HIIT the Gym exhibit, with visitors working up a sweat on exercise bikes and many signing up to take part in future research. PhD researcher Katie Hesketh explained:

“Aligning with the LightNight theme, HIIT is becoming increasingly important as ‘lack of time’ prevents many from exercising. Children and adults got involved in the different stations, from Wingate sprints to trying out LJMU’s own Home-HIIT programme. There was considerable interest in our pioneering research, with visitors wanting to know more about how they could incorporate HIIT into their daily lives.”

Full Light Night story.

2016 events

Anti-doping in sport

Greg Whyte at Face to Face anti-doping event 2016

A 2016 public engagement grant from the Society for Endocrinology was awarded to Professor Claire Stewart, Dr Neil Chester and Dr Zoe Knowles. This has funded the development and hosting of a successful “Doping in Sport” event held within the department of Sport and Exercise Sciences. With presentations from UK Anti-Doping, Stephen Watkins (Rugby Football Union), Prof Graeme Close and Prof Greg Whyte OBE (both School of Sport and Exercise Sciences), the day had an exciting and varied programme. Endorsement from the British Pharmacological Society, British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences and The British Dietetic Association added weight to the day. Interviews with athletes: Katie Hesketh (water polo), Hannah Clowes (gymnastics), Chris McCready (football) and Henry Cookey (Taekwondo), put the event into real life perspective. Finally, afternoon interactive sessions around sport and outreach (led by RISES PhD students, post docs and staff as well as members of the Art and Design Academy and Humanities and Social Science) gave context and impact to the theme of the day. There were 72 GCSE/A level children and teachers, plus ten local coaches as the core of the audience. As we progress onwards from the event and in order to develop legacy, we are building a specific webpage linked to the F2FSS site – more details to follow.

Bones everywhere

Face to face bone research event Gabor Barton

Pupils take part in the bone workshop with Professor Gabor Barton from LJMU

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences hosted three events as part of the Annual International Meeting of the Bone Research Society (BRS) which took place 29 June - 1 July 2016 in Liverpool, for which Professor Jonathan Jarvis was on the local scientific committee.

The BRS has a commitment to public engagement and worked with the LJMU Widening Participation Office to invite an audience of year 8 pupils from local schools targeted to encourage participation in higher education. Thirty pupils arrived with their teachers on Wednesday 29 June for lunch and an introductory welcome to Sport and Exercise Science and a brief lecture on ‘Bones: the basics’. They then enjoyed an interactive workshop with four activities prepared by our own Professor Gabor Barton (video tracking of movement); Dr Alistair Bond (University of Liverpool) who explained some impressive bones including a hippopotamus skull and an elephant femur; Dr Alison Gartland (University of Sheffield) who led hands-on loading of chicken bones to illustrate their material properties, and Emma Morris (University of Oxford) the winner of a competition among the BRS young investigators to design an activity for the workshop. Emma demonstrated the internal structure of bones with balloons.

The workshop was a great success and great fun for staff and pupils alike. One of our visitors said:

“I recently participated in the visit to learn about bones in the University. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it has succeeded in making me have an interest for anatomy. The best thing about the trip was being able to hold all the bones and conducting an experiment to see the effect certain drinks had on bones. There aren’t many things you can do to improve the great afternoon, except from make it a WHOLE day! Thanks for the amazing opportunity that we were given, but you can have my bones over my dead body!”

At the same time, Dr Zoe Knowles (Face to Face with Sports Science Lead) presented on the principles and practice of public engagement to the BRS young investigators group. They were able to meet the School's presenters and observe the workshop to get ideas for their own future events.

CallNorthWest Forum

Move more and sit less to improve productivity

CallNorthWest forum

The Physical Activity Exchange was invited by CallNorthWest to host a forum focusing on supporting and promoting the health and performance of call centre employees

Encouraging desk-based staff to move more and sit less at work can not only improve their health, but also their work performance, was the advice from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES), at a forum for contact centre employees. The Physical Activity Exchange in RISES was invited by CallNorthWest to host a forum focusing on supporting and promoting the health and performance of call centre employees. CallNorthWest provides a support network for the 700+ call and contact centres in the North West, and their regular forums allow contact centre professionals to network, source information, highlight key industry issues and share best practice. The RISES team hopes the event will support research in more regional contact centres in order to develop, implement and evaluate interventions which promote health and performance in highly sedentary workers.

For further information, please contact Dr Lee Graves.

Mission X

Mission X

World Museum Liverpool was selected as the only venue in the UK to host a live educational in-flight call with Tim Peake during his mission on board the International Space Station. Tim video called the Museum on 2 February 2016 for a question and answer session with schoolchildren, hosted by TV presenter Kevin Fong. The event was organised by TES Global, the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency. Prior to the call, children from all over the UK took part in workshops and activities with our Face to Face with Sport Science staff delivering Mission X once again by invitation of the World Museum following the success of the workshop on the launch date in December 2015.

On both of these significant dates, LJMU’s sports scientists were on hand to deliver expert scientific knowledge and interactive workshops based on ‘Mission X’ so that children could learn how to ‘train like an astronaut’. This international learning challenge focused on fitness and nutrition in preparation for the demands of space travel. This included pre-flight medical checks like heart rate monitoring and hydration, gravity, balance and resistance games.

The story attracted media coverage from across the UK including Granada Reports, Liverpool Echo, Your Move Magazine, BBC Radio Merseyside (at approx. 13 minutes in) and across social media #BlastOff.

2014 events

Royal Society Partnership Grant inspires young sports scientists

Pupils from St Margaret's Church of England Academy, Years 8, 9, 12 and 13, had the chance to work in a hands-on environment at the state-of-the art facilities in the Tom Reilly Building in December 2014 and March 2015, thanks to a third Royal Society Partnership Grant. This included a session looking at how muscles function using specialist ultrasound equipment, a sports nutrition workshop to learn about the sports drinks that are used by elite athletes, and stroboscopic vision techniques. The pupils were also introduced to the specialist Match Analysis Suite with a talk and demonstration from Chris McCready, who is a former professional footballer and current MPhil student, and Jordan Whelen, PhD student and match analyst for Liverpool Football Club. Greg Whyte OBE, delivered a keynote lecture on the ‘Limits of Human Performance’ and discussed the principles of training behind his work with celebrities for Sport and Comic Relief challenges.

The mixture of lectures and interactive activities was designed to inspire the pupils and raise awareness of STEM subjects and how they are applied to elite sport. Nuala Dunne Head of PE from St Margaret’s CofE Academy said:

"Students were enthused and inspired by the different workshops provided by LJMU with regards to future careers and university course options. The talk from Professor Greg Whyte was exceptional, especially in his ability to engage and maintain the interest of the range of different aged students from Years 8 and 9 to Years 12 and 13. All of the STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) students from Years 8 and 9 that attended the day came away with a more positive attitude to Sports and Science and the potential benefits and enjoyment that they could gain from studying the STEM subjects further."

Professor Dame Julia Higgins FRS FREng, Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee, said:

"We’re pleased to hear that pupils at St Margaret’s Church of England Academy are benefiting from their Partnership Grant in such an exciting way. Science and engineering are exhilarating and dynamic subjects. We hope that by giving schools the opportunity to introduce innovative science we can help show young people how much fun in real-life these subjects can be, and inspire them to become the inventors, explorers and innovators of the future."

F2FSS at The Commonwealth Games 2014

Face2Face with Sports Science were at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games for a full week as part of the BBC Get Inspired Programme. The award-winning public engagement interface for LJMU's School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, offered a range of activities at the event to demonstrate just how easy it is to lead a healthy lifestyle. The team conducted a simulated bike race with BBC 5 live presenter Fred MacAulay vs Olympic Gold Medal track cyclist Victoria Pendleton on the main stage. Victoria Pendleton also highlighted the importance of sport science in her success while speaking to the team.

F2FSS travels North

The award winning F2FSS team travelled north in May/June 2014 to support CBBC Live, BBC learning and BBC north to help children learn about nutrition and take part in a variety of sports challenges in Gateshead. Up to 9,000 people came through the sports zone over the three days. Activities included cycling, rowing, reactions and agility testing, information about active lifestyles and healthy eating, education about sugar content in sports drinks was taken around the site, lung function, hand grip strength and a jump mat. Kevin Keegan’s daughter Sarah Keegan also brought the SOKKA initiative to the event. SOKKA provides an opportunity to play and enjoy football, irrespective of age, gender, background or football ability. It has a key focus on health and wellbeing, with a particular emphasis on preventing obesity in young people, and works with LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences for the science behind the sport.

Take a look at photos from this event

Face to Face with Sports Science at Universities UK

The F2FSS team took part in the most ambitious and successful Universities Week to date in June, as they exhibited their public engagement programme Champion Science, in partnership with the University of Kent, at the Natural History Museum. The event attracted more than 28,000 people across the week, involved 45 universities, gaining national and regional media coverage and extensive social networking.

Visitors were be able to experience what it’s like to be a World Cup goal keeper by anticipating where to direct a penalty save, look inside the ‘human engine room’ and watch as experts demonstrate live cardiac and carotid artery scans – the same tests which are carried out as part of a footballer’s medical and to help identify athletes at risk of sudden cardiac death. They could also measure their own lung function and see how it compares to the UK’s top athletes, see how their speed and agility compares with the best football players in the country over a five metre course, complete a cycling challenge and see if they can keep pace with that set by Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and look at the technology behind football match analysis and how this informs coaching, tactical and punditry.


Take a look at photos from this event

Check out LJMU's Online Marketing Officer undergoing some of these sporting challenges

STEM day with Bloodhound at Reaseheath College

On Monday 19 May Professor Claire Stewart from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences spend the day at Reaseheath College, Cheshire as a STEM ambassador, supporting activities involving the Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC). This vehicle will attempt the 1,000mph land speed record in South Africa in 2016. Up to 120 key stage 2 and 3 pupils visited the facility each day to learn about the development of Bloodhound as it progresses towards its supersonic challenge. The project is being supported by some of the world's leading engineering companies including Rolls Royce. The visiting children had an opportunity to watch a movie about previous land speed records and the demands of the current design and attempt. They were able to look at the replica car (pictures in the background of the photo) and had a chance to drive a simulator in an attempt to better the 100mph record. Other activities including building and testing air driven Kinex cars, 3D printing and designing a desert base for the car and its support teams, when in South Africa. Excellent insight regarding nutritional and exercise needs featured in the last session.

Let's Talk Research: Big Comedy Workshop

The Physical Activity Exchange (PAEx) at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences took part in a 'Big Comedy Workshop' on 15 April 2014. The PAEx were one of only four research groups to secure one of these projects supported by the NHS Research and Development North West. The aim of the workshop was to explore the use of comedy in communicating about research on physical activity and the reduction of sedentary behaviour. The Exchange team worked with experts on comedy, improvisation, brainstorming, forum theatre, creativity debating and film production. The output from the day was also filmed on site at the Tom Reilly Building and once edited the sketch and short 'video diary' of the day will be used to communicate research messages to the public.

View videos of the day's events and the final sketch...



BBC Sport Relief gets Face to Face with Sports Science

As Sport Relief motivated the entire nation to get active on the weekend of the 19 March 2014, the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences brought their public engagement programme to BBC staff at Media City, demonstrating just how easy it is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Some of the activities allowed participants to get advice on their own levels of physical activity and fitness and give them ideas as to how they can incorporate more physical activity into their day.

Participants also explored the science behind the development of the nation's elite performers with experts on hand to answer questions and share their own consultancy and research experiences. The BBC event also featured a Q&A with LJMU Professor of Applied Sport and Exercise, Greg Whyte OBE, hosted by the Director of BBC North, Peter Salmon. Greg is well known for his involvement in Sport Relief and Comic Relief. He had just returned from training and guiding Davina McCall through her triumphant week-long mission to run, swim, hike and cycle her way from Edinburgh to London and went from the event to work Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley through her Sport Relief 26 hour treadmill challenge.

Take a look at photos from the event 

Cardinal Heenan Industry Day

School of Sport and Exercise Sciences Research student Chris Dowling and BSc (Hons) Science and Football programme leader Dr Martin Littlewood attended Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School's Industry Day on 14 February 2014 to present to pupils the degrees available within the School of Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moores University. This was SES second annual event with the school. The aim of the workshop was to inspire young people, in the run up to their options at school, interested in sport and physical activity to pursue a career within the field. Dr Martin Littlewood spoke of his career within elite level football as a sports scientist and the different pathways of working within high performance environments. Chris Dowling, local to the area of the school, spoke of his experiences through school, college and university and the pathway he took and further spoke of his research with a number of Premier League clubs. The workshops sparked discussion from a number of pupils who took a great interest in the opportunities available working within Sports Science whilst the Head of PE at the school deemed the workshops a success in inspiring a number of young people within the schools.

PhD student Sam Impey talks to Knowsley Community College on nutrition to aid recovery from injury

Sam was invited to talk to the level 4 sports therapy students about current concepts of sports nutrition in January 2014. The aim of the session was to give a general overview of how different nutritional strategies can be used to aid different types of injuries commonly seen by sports therapists. Tammy Lennon, Lecturer in Sport and Public Services said:

"The L4 learners thought the information about nutrition for healing and repair was just what they needed to help them".

The talk formed the basis for further research by the group to complete modules on their Sports Therapy course.

2013 events

Type 1 diabetes and exercise day

The Exercise in Type 1 Diabetes Education Day was held in the LACE Conference Centre, Sefton Park, on 17 November to coincide with World Diabetes Day. The event was organised by Francesca Annan, Diabetes Dietician and Diabetes Service Lead for Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, sponsored by Novo Nordisk Ltd, and was supported by the Research Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Over 50 Type 1 diabetic children who participate in high level, competitive sports travelled from all over the UK to hear expert advice from invited speakers including members of Team Novo Nordisk. The aim of the day was to provide practical advice and support for managing diet, blood glucose levels and high volume exercise training and competition, as well as to inspire children and young people with T1D to continue participation in sport, and to strive for excellence. RISES staff (Nicola Hopkins and Ellen Dawson) and students (Norhafizah Hamzah, Raihana Sharir) were on hand to demonstrate the importance of sport science support for optimal performance and the benefits of a physically active lifestyle on cardiovascular health. Additionally, children and parents were given the opportunity to participate in a range of physiological and exercise tests, and compare their results to those of elite athletes.

Turbo Boost for RISES

LJMU's Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) featured on BBC TV Programme 'Turbo Boost' on the 31 October at 4.30pm on CBBC. The show featured an inspiring young BMX athlete who engages in various challenges and activities to improve his performance ahead of a final challenge, using the applied knowledge and practical skills of the RISES academics. Liam Phillips (GB BMX cyclist, 2013 UCI BMX World Champion) and Iwan Thomas MBE (former GB athlete) acted as mentors to the athlete.

The One Show

On 13 November LJMU School of Sport and Exercise Sciences hosted BBC's The One Show natural history presenter Mike Dilger and Dr Steve Portugal of Royal London Veterinary College for a piece to be aired in December 2013 which pitted the physiology of a Barnacle Goose against man. LJMU Sports Physiology PhD student Sam Impey put Mike through his paces. The filming took place at the Tom Reilly Building, which provides world-class sports and science facilities. Mike was required to cycle for one hour on a state of the art cycle ergometer to keep his power output to a steady 100 Watts, whilst continually having his respiration recorded by a gas analyser so energy expenditure and primary fuel source, fats or carbohydrates, could be calculated. His heart rate and tympanic (in ear) temperature were recorded and all the data was compared to the Goose.

Prof. Claire Stewart delivers a talk on the 'controversial world of stem cells' at Merchant Taylors' Girls' School

Professor Stewart was invited to deliver the Autumn Term 'Keynote Lecture' on 14 October 2013 to the Senior Harrison Group at Merchant Taylors' Girls' School by invitation of the Headmistress, Louise Robinson. Many of the sixth former girls study science subjects and aim to pursue a related career and it was thought that there would be great interest in the scientific and ethical issues involved in this field. The Senior Harrison Group provides academic enrichment opportunities for the Sixth Form students and any Year 11 students who were interested in the keynote presentation were also invited to attend. Professor Stewart designed the sessions in such a way as to not only develop a stem cell story from an educational perspective, but to also challenge the audience in terms of their perceptions regarding stem cells and their applications. Ethical, medical and religious issues were raised in an attempt to provoke thought and discussion. The notion of hope vs. hype generated by media portrayal of stem cells was also presented. The audience (both students and teachers) thoroughly enjoyed the presentations and feedback and questions were both very good, with pupils asking about the potential of biomedical careers and the best way to progress in the stem cell field.

Professor Stewart also delivered a 'Stem cells: Fact or Fiction' session as part of the Royal Society grant programme with Chesterfield School earlier in 2013.

Girls Go Gold Annual Conference (North) - September 2013

The school of Sport and Exercise Sciences teamed up with Merchant Taylors' Girls' School, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) and the Girls' Schools Association (GSA) to encourage young female athletes to reach their full potential and show just how many different career opportunities there are in elite sport. The 'Girls Go Gold' event, hosted by Merchant Taylors', was supported by LJMU graduate and fellow Beth Tweddle MBE, LJMU sports scholar Abi Fitzpatrick and Jamie Burdekin, who worked with LJMU's Sports Science team prior to London 2012 Paralympics. Over 200 students from 20 girls' schools throughout the UK in Years 10 to 13 and all elite athletes, representing their school, county, region, country in their chosen specialist sport, Radio Merseyside and Bay TV were in attendance at the event. The mixture of lectures and interactive activities were designed to inspire the girls and raise awareness of all aspects of sport from industry to competition as well as the academic angle. The final session of the day was a panel interview with the athletes, hosted by Professor Greg Whyte who has trained celebrities like Cheryl Cole and John Bishop for endurance events through Sport Relief and Comic Relief projects.


Radio 5 Live Big Sporting Day out - June 2013

BBC Radio 5 Live, in partnership with BBC Radio Merseyside, visited LJMU for Sporting Day Out exploring the world of sports broadcasting on BBC radio at the University's Redmonds Building. The event was designed to give young people (14-25) a hands-on experience of sport and sports broadcasting on BBC radio and was run in partnership with BBC Radio Merseyside, LJMU, Liverpool FC Foundation, Everton in the Community and the UK Dodgeball Association. An invited audience of young people from across Liverpool had the opportunity to try their hand at a range of interactive workshops including sports commentary, TV and radio presenting, handball, sports science in action including performance testing and cardiovascular science football skills and a penalty shootout before attending a special Radio 5 Live debate, asking the question: can sport empower young people?

Royal Society Grant with Chesterfield High School - January 2013

Students from Chesterfield High School visited the state-of-the-art facilities at the Tom Reilly Building in the city centre campus, for two afternoons of lectures and practical workshops on topics linked to training and developing elite athletes and world-leading research. Students attended lectures by Professor Greg Whyte and Professor Claire Stewart, on the limits of human performance and stem cells respectively before workshops on sports physiology, match analysis, nutrition/supplementation and cardiovascular science. Students then completed tasks set by LJMU staff who are to visit Chesterfield to view the products and projects the students have completed.

2011-2012 events

British Cardiovascular Society - May 2012

The three day conference took place at Manchester Central on 28-30 May 2012 and attracted over 2,200 healthcare professionals – 77% being either Consultant Cardiologists or Trainee Cardiologists. In the year of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the conference had a theme around maintaining a healthy heart rate through exercise and lifestyle changes and a key part of this will be a school's event at The Midland Hotel. Alongside the Annual Conference, the BCS held a 'Healthy Hearts' event for over 120 local schoolchildren. The event showed how the heart works, what can go wrong and how to keep a heart healthy. Various hands-on activities provided by the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences demonstrated how science is translated from theory to practice. The children learnt about the principles of physical activity and nutrition and how these can be incorporated into their day to day routines. Activities included an exergaming Nintendo Wii, various exercises exploring changes in the heart rate/blood pressure/lung function, physiological tests that elite athletes perform and making a sports drink.

Face to Face with Sports Science - March-October 2012

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at LJMU were recipients of a prestigious Wellcome Trust People Award in 2011-2012 through which we designed and held four school workshop days and four public events titled 'Face to Face with Sports Science' in conjunction with the World Museum Liverpool and Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester). These events provided interactive exhibits exploring the science of physiology, motor control, biomechanics, performance analysis and psychology in the development of the elite athlete. Through this programme we hosted over 260 15-18 year olds with accompanying staff and over 2,000 members of the public visited the events. The project also gained the London 2012 Inspire mark and won a bronze medal at the Podium Awards.

Royal Society Grant with Childwall Sports and Science College

Over 120 students engaged with a range of activities, exposing them to the science involved with the most advanced training methods, techniques and equipment used by the world's leading athletes and coaches, including those taking part in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Students also investigate their own and their parent/carer's physical activity levels, and their families' eating and activity habits by taking surveys home and therefore have the opportunity to change their own and their family's lifestyles.

Scientists in Sport - July 2011

More than 90 children from schools across the region were invited to LJMU to see how science was to be used during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 'Scientists in Sport' was a nationwide schools outreach programme run by London 2012 partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and devised with King's College London, a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory. The event was held in the Tom Reilly Building and hosted by the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, which provided pupils with a unique university experience, inspiring them to study science and pursue a science-related career. This ranged from anti-doping drug tests to a hands-on physiology experience where students were able to compare themselves to Olympic athletes.

Each 'Scientists in Sport' event offered local schoolchildren the opportunity to experience a day at university and through a series of sport science themed lectures and interactive workshops, aimed to inspire 11-14 year old students to study science and pursue a science related career. The programme launch followed GSK's commitment to encourage the very best graduates, including science graduates, into careers at the company by reimbursing 100 per cent of uncapped tuition fees for all undergraduates recruited in the UK from September 2012.