UL’s Sport and Human performance research centre – Rhoda Sohun.

In 2021, the Sport and Human Performance Research Centre (SHPRC) was recognised as a priority research centre by the University of Limerick. 

The research centre has two co-directors Prof. Drew Harrison (drew.harrison@ul.ie) and Prof. Giles Warrington (giles.warrington@ul.ie).   The centre includes several members from the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS), with additional members from other UL departments (School of Allied Health, Mathematics and Statistics), Irish academic institutions (Athlone IT, Dublin City University, University College Cork, Waterford IT), the Irish Institute of Sport and external academic institutions (Centre for Human Performance Sciences, Stellenbosch, South Africa, University of Bablo de Olavide, Spain & University of New South Wales).

The SHPRC delivers research in sport and other human endeavours where the emphasis is on achieving high level or optimal performance. The centre includes performance related research in sports such as athletics, rugby, golf, rowing, horseracing, swimming and Esports, as well as many others where physical or psychological performance is undertaken with an emphasis on producing optimal performance. Research in the area of Sport and Human Performance embraces the domains of physiology, biomechanics, psychology, strength and conditioning, sports injuries and rehabilitation, skill acquisition and performance analysis. 

The core mission of the SHPRC is to advance interdisciplinary research in Sport and Human Performance. The SHPRC will build on the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences existing reputation in Sport and Human Performance and seeks to extend collaborative networks across UL, both nationally and internationally.

Currently, the SHPRC has recently revised its previous thematic areas and now focuses on five key themes: 

Esports Science:  Theme Lead – Dr Mark Campbell
Rugby Science: Dr Ian Kenny & Dr Tom Comyns
Athletics Science: Prof Drew Harrison
Weight Category Sport Science: Prof Giles Warrington
Endurance Sports Science: Dr Frank Nugent

However, work of the SHPRC continues to evolve and over time will include additional thematic areas which will ensure that members’ research interests and outputs align to relevant thematic areas.The members of the centre have obtained more than €7.02 m in research funding since 2018 and have been successful in recruiting >20 Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarships. The members of the SHPRC have already established several industry, professional, national governing body and community links nationally and internationally to support research activities and facilitate outreach and translational research activity, e.g. IRFU, Irish Horse Racing Regulatory Board, Logitech, Halo Neuroscience and Sport Ireland Institute.

Over the last number of months, members of the SHPRC have been focusing efforts on a number of key initiatives for 2022, e.g. the establishment of a Professional Association in Sport and Human Performance, a SHPRC Lecture Series, website presence, organisation of a Sport and Human Performance Conference (early 2023) and an official launch of the centre (Quarter 3 2022). These initiatives will be promoted to the wider community as they progress further.

In terms of membership, the SHPRC has a number of membership categories: Full, Researcher (including Doctoral and Post Doctoral), Affiliate, Industry and Community and we welcome members both nationally and internationally.

Membership Application Process

An expression of interest to join the SHPRC can be made by providing a brief supporting statement/cover letter (no more than 1 page) to Rhoda Sohun (Rhoda.Sohun@ul.ie) outlining:

  1. Why you wish to join the SHPRC as well as the type of membership for which you wish to apply.
  2. Synergies between your current work, projects and/or research and the SHPRC mission or research themes.
  3. Applicants must also submit with their Expression of Interest a brief CV using the SHPRC Membership CV template.

Full details on SHPRC Membership and CV template here

Rhoda Sohun is a Senior Technical Officer in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, UL.  Rhoda is the Grant Manager for the COST Action CA19101 Determinants of Physical Activity in Settings (DE-PASS) and also currently provides research support to the department including assistance to the Sport and Human Performance Research Centre.  Contact Rhoda on rhoda.sohun@ul.ie 

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