Project 1: Life Beyond Sport
Sustaining Team GB athletes post elite sport: Skills, careers, and mental health considerations.
Retirement from sport is an extremely significant ‘hot topic’ in contemporary sports research and is an area of huge importance to Team GB. Very little is understood about the lives of retired athletes, including how their experiences of elite sport will govern their lives after being a competitive athlete. This research aims to fill the gaps in this area and to provide critical knowledge that can be used to support athletes’ careers and well-being in their life beyond sport. Using a socio-cultural post-structuralist lens, this research is using an in-depth qualitative approach in the form of semi-structured interviews with retired athletes and, significantly current or retired coaches. Whilst based primarily in the School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Hull, the project is working with a variety of stakeholders. This unique project is at the forefront of contemporary research into an extremely timely and current topic. It will help Team GB better understand how elite sport can positively influence competitors’ lives after retirement and also the challenges they face. Crucially, this research will inform and shape support provision for athletes both in the years preceding and post retirement.
Project 2: Green2Gold
Socially-prescribed greenspace exercise as a route to tackling health inequalities in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
This project aims to develop a model for effectively implementing socially-prescribed green and blue space activity in economically disadvantaged areas of the East Riding region. Based in the University of Hull’s School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences, this project works with a wide range of partners, including community groups and local charity leaders, as well as Team GB. The East Riding of Yorkshire region is well-positioned to become the vanguard for understanding how to redress social inequalities in this respect. The intention is to inform the development of a roadmap for scaling up the service model across all regions of the UK. The health benefits of physical activity in greenspace (i.e. open, underdeveloped land with natural vegetation, urban parks, public open spaces, etc.) were brought to the fore by the Environment Secretary’s announcement of a £4M pilot project to assess the health impacts of “green prescribing”. This initiative involves a shift from GP prescriptions of established medication regimens towards “green exercise prescriptions” (e.g. outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, working on conservation projects, gardening, etc.) as a means of improving physical and mental health.
Project 3: Race to Zero
An Olympic journey.
Elite sport has many benefits for global society, including its ability to promote an environmental message to those who are hard to reach by other routes. However, it has its own significant environmental footprint which should be recognised, and where possible, minimised. One of Team GB’s strategic goals is to understand and reduce its carbon footprint, and this PhD project is working in partnership with Team GB and two of the University’s research institutes – the Energy and Environment Institute and the Logistics Institute – to further this goal. The overarching aim of the project is to quantify and analyse Team GB’s carbon footprint and to strategically guide its reduction. The project will lead to a step-change both in Team GB’s knowledge of its environmental impact, and in its ability to minimise them optimally.