World-class status for Sport and Exercise Sciences in new academic ranking

Sport Science student in an LJMU lab
Sport Science student in an LJMU lab

Liverpool John Moores University’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences has been named the sixth best department in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) for the Sports Sciences subject area, highlighting the School’s global research influence. The results also show the School ranked as the second best department in the UK and the third best in Europe.

Through ShanghaiRanking, the official publisher of the ARWU, this was the first ranking system designed to discover world-class research within groups, institutions and units with the same subject focus on Sport Sciences. The School achieved these results following a rigorous ranking system that was based on measurement of various indicators between 2011-15 that included volume of publications, total citations, citations per publication, volume of publications in the top 25% journals according to their impact factor, and percentage of publications with international collaborations.

There are around 400 sport-related units that actively engage in research in the world in this field and the top 300 were included in the 2016 Sport Science Schools and Departments rankings.

This follows the success of LJMU’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences being ranked as the top institution in the UK for Research Quality in Sport and Exercise Sciences at the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) in 2014* (the system that assesses the quality of research in UK higher education institutions). The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is a research-informed department and houses its own Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES). Staff research embraces cellular, molecular, biomechanical, neural and medical aspects of sport, exercise, health and physical activity through to an understanding of a more person centred and contextual appreciation of humanistic existence; from early life through to later years and from health through to performance environments.

Director of the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Professor David Richardson commented:

“This is a fantastic achievement for the School, which has been at the forefront of innovation and development in sport science for over 40 years with regular international recognition. This helps to put the city of Liverpool on the global map, not just for excellent sport teams who also use our research, but as a prominent sport science resource. Our research aims to improve lives on a world-wide scale and make a global impact on professional practice, performance and the wider society.”

The Head of RISES, Professor Bill Baltzopoulos commented:

“This is excellent news and a tremendous accomplishment for RISES and LJMU. It is a particularly timely confirmation of the world-class research conducted in the School as we are about to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Research Institute that since its establishment in 1997 by the late Professor Tom Reilly has been at the international forefront of Sport and Exercise Sciences research.

“This terrific achievement is also a credit to all RISES staff and researchers that over the past five years have been building on the legacy of Tom Reilly by conducting world-leading fundamental and applied sport research that is published in the top scientific journals. We are particularly proud of our international collaborations and it was very pleasing to see this strong pillar of our research environment reflected in the highest score by far (80%) for publications with international co-authorship amongst any of the top 10 institutions in the world.”

* Research Quality Index data provided by Research Professional and available via Research Fortnight.


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