It is hard to believe that we have already completed the first semester of the academic year, with staff and students alike now switching their focus from classes to exams, followed by a well-earned break over Christmas (once the marking is done!). As we draw a close on the year it is an opportune time to reflect and acknowledge just a few of the many notable achievements in PESS over recent times.
Congratulations to Dr Mark Lyons and the course team of the MSc in Sports Performance on the wonderful achievement of being a shortlisted finalist and receiving a special commendation at last month’s National GradIreland Postgraduate Science Course of the Year 2018 awards. This fantastic achievement reflects the very high quality of the programme. The MSc Sports Performance programme started in 2012 and has graduated over 144 students in this period (average of 24 per year). The programme also has an outstanding record in that on average 83% of graduating students have found relevant work and/or career development opportunities either in Ireland or Abroad (first destinations data). A number of students have successfully set up their own businesses. Graduates have gone on to publish their dissertation work in leading academic journals. A number of graduate have progressed to PhD study with 6 MSc graduates from this programme currently in lecturing positions in Ireland.
We were also delighted to learn recently that PESS has now been ranked within the top 50-100 Sports Science Departments in the Shanghai Academic Rankings of World Universities. This reflects the high quality of our staff, students, postgraduates, academic programmes, research and facilities. Additionally the University of Limerick has been awarded the University of the Year for 2019 in the Sunday Times top University Guide, the second time UL has won this prestigious award in the past 5 years.
In terms of student achievements, a number of postgraduate students have successfully defended their PhD’s at their viva voce and will be graduating in January 2019. These include Ciara Sinnott O’Connor, Cassandra Iannucci, Joey Murphy, Rachel Sheehan, Frank Nugent, Suzy Macken and Richard Johnson. Congratulations to all students and their supervisory teams. Also at last week’s HRI research day Brendan O’Keeffe won the best research elevator pitch award and Caithriona Yeomans won the best scientific poster award which further reflects the high quality of the scholarly research output in PESS.
During Science Week, 105 pupils from a range of schools attended a SFI Science Week event on “The Science behind Successful Athletes”. A number of multidisciplinary workshops took place in PESS, with coaching science, psychology, biomechanics and physiology all represented. The sessions were very interactive which allowed for engagement with the students. Both students and their teachers were very complimentary of the sample experience in each of the workshops, organised, designed and delivered by Dr Brian Carson, Paul Kinnerk, Dr Mark Campbell, Arthur Lynch, and Robin Healy. This activity is a form of active recruitment and hopefully this experience will encourage a number of these students to apply for our programmes in the near future.
Finally the PE PAYS Ireland Forum 2018 took place on Saturday 24th November and was attended by 75 delegates and included representation from IPPEA, JCT, NCCA, PEAI, PETE Ireland and PDST.
It is a real honour and pleasure for me to be Head of such a dynamic and passionate Department and I would like to take this opportunity of wishing everyone a very happy and restful Christmas and all the very best for 2019.
Dr Giles Warrington is a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department in the Department of Physical Educations and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick. Giles is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Sport Ireland Institute accredited Performance Physiologist. His current research interests focus on chronobiology and sleep science, environmental physiology and performance physiology in particular weight category sports. You can contact Giles via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or view his research profile on Researchgate