Introducing the Sport and Human Performance Research Cluster – Gary Ryan

The Sport and Human Performance Research Cluster (SHPRC) is a recent addition to the clusters in the Health Research Institute at the University of Limerick. Its aim is to advance interdisciplinary research in sport and human performance at the University of Limerick, to inform national and international best practice and through the creation of national and international networks, achieve global recognition for the quality of its research outputs and graduate students.

The SHPRC provides a much-needed structure to support the integration of high quality and impactful interdisciplinary sport and human performance related research within the HRI.  The multidisciplinary membership of the SHPRC allows for collaborative research network that foster discovery and innovation in sport and human performance.

The SHPRC, has an interdisciplinary approach, that links researchers in the Sport Sciences, Allied Health professions, our Medical school, National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGB’s), sports practitioners, sports technology and other industry-based partners to create a critical mass of researchers and a platform for research collaboration and productivity within the HRI. One of the SHPRC’s key strengths is its collaboration with practice where our research is having a direct impact in the world of sport.

The SHPRC aims to help further enhance UL’s international status and distinctive reputation as a centre of sporting excellence in terms of environment, sports participation (Ireland’s Sporting Campus) and scholarly activity (with UL ranked 51-100 for Sport and Exercise Science in the 2018 Shanghai World University Rankings).

We do this by:

 1. Continuing to support our current key research project areas

(a) The Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance
(b) eSports DEKES (Deriving and Evaluating Key Performance Indicators in Esports)
(c) Feasibility Analysis of Sprint Start Technologies (FASST)
(d) Jockey Health

2.  Providing Support to the development of new and innovative research projects, and by providing a landing site for collaborators from academia and industry.

3.  Growing Research capacity by:

(a) Initiating the Talented Researcher Internship Programme (TRIP)This programme will aim to attract potential Post-Doctoral researchers in the area of Sport and Human Performance. This will be an opportunity for researchers to spend some time in UL, undergo a focused research project, experience our research environment and begin to develop a funding application in partnership with our research team
(b) Building our International partnerships to provide a pipeline to talented researchers and collaborators

4.  Networking and Collaboration

(a) Leading the development of a National Network of Researchers, practitioners and industry in the area of Sport and Human Performance. We have had some initial meetings and hope to launch this network or Society in the third quarter of this year. We have supported Sport Ireland in working with various national stakeholders to examine the potential for Sport Clusters supported by the European Investment Structural funding mechanism recently.
(b) Disseminate widely within the research and practice communities the research undertaken in the Sport and Human Performance Research Group, through internal and public workshops, seminars and lectures. We had run a number of these prior to the COVID 19 shut down and hope to rearrange the remaining scheduled talks online in due course.
(c) Inaugurate and host a National Conference in Sport and Human Performance. We hope to host an inaugural Irish Sport and Human Performance Research Conference, in the Autumn or Winter of this year subject to what restrictions may be in place for Covid19.
(d) Participate actively in International Research Networks such as the European Platform for Sport Innovation. Members are active in a number of other European Networks such as the European Athlete as a Student which is aligned with the priority actions under the Sport programme in Erasmus Plus


Gary Ryan is the project manager for UL Beo and for the Sport and Human Performance Research Centre at the University of Limerick. Contact Gary at


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