Professor Bill Baltzopoulos on 20 years of the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences
The Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences (RISES) at Liverpool John Moores University celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. RISES was established in 1997 and continues to be the vibrant home of research activity within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at LJMU. The School is the home of sport sciences and at the forefront of innovation and development in our discipline for over 40 years. It was the first institution in the world to host a single honours degree programme in sport science back in 1975. Following a successful Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) performance in 1996 (one of the three institutions rated 5) it was decided that the quality and volume of research activity within Sport and Exercise Sciences at LJMU merited the creation of a Research Institute. RISES was thus established under the leadership of the late Professor Tom Reilly to enable the ambitious range of projects planned at that time with the intention of “becoming a world leader with benchmark standards of excellence for others in the discipline to aspire to”. Twenty years after its establishment, RISES is now the top UK institution for research quality in sport and exercise sciences having been ranked 1st in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 in UoA26 based on Research Quality Index data, with 97% of our total research activity rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
To commemorate this important 20 year landmark for RISES, we have developed a programme of events to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Research Institute. One key activity is centred around the PhD students who have graduated from the research institute during this time. In total, there have been approximately 250 PhD completions between 1997 and 2017 in a range of disciplines associated with sport and exercise sciences. For the “Twenty Stories for Twenty Years” we wanted one individual PhD graduate from each of the 20 years to tell their story. A panel headed by Prof Barry Drust was given the almost impossible task to choose the 20 individuals from the hundreds who have graduated in this time period, and each one of those twenty was asked to tell their story by providing a narrative around three questions:
- What was your PhD about?
- How did your PhD programme and the staff and students within RISES influence you professional development and career?
- How did your PhD programme and the staff and students within RISES influence you personally?
These stories communicate the influence that RISES has had on the academic, professional and personal development of these individuals during their early years of scientific training but they also provide a sense of the impressive breadth and depth of the scientific work conducted at the Institute. They also illustrate the importance and impact of the postgraduate student body on sport and exercise sciences research at LJMU and beyond.
We would like to thank the twenty individuals that have agreed to share their stories but also the hundreds of postgraduate students that contributed to the vibrant research environment at RISES and influenced and shaped the professional and personal relationships of those twenty people that represent the whole postgraduate community of RISES over all these years. We hope that you will find their experiences and stories interesting, compelling and inspirational. Enjoy reading the RISES 20 Years, 20 Stories!
– Professor Bill Baltzopoulos, Head of RISES