An Advisory Group of leading academic and researchers will guide and mentor the research activity undertaken in the group.
Professor of Exercise and Health, Dean of Postgraduate Research and Director of Ulster Doctoral College, Ulster University
Marie is Professor of Exercise and Health, Dean of Postgraduate Research and Director of the Ulster Doctoral College. She graduated from Ulster with a BA (Hons) Sport & Leisure and PGCE (with distinction) in Physical Education and was awarded an MSc in Sports Science (with distinction) and a PhD in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University.
Marie’s research focuses on the effect of physical activity and exercise, in particular walking, on health and uses multidisciplinary approach that has included outcome measures ranging from the behavioural to the biochemical. Her work has contributed to the evidence base underlying the current physical activity guidelines in the US, UK and Ireland and she was a co-author of the UK guidelines by the 4 Chief Medical Officers in 2011 and 2019. She has over 140 peer- publications including a number of highly cited peer-reviewed papers, book chapters and invited editorials.
Marie is a member of the UK Chief Medical Officer’s expert advisory group on physical activity. She is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences (BASES) and the Higher Education Academy and is vice-president of the WHO Europe Health Enhancing Physical Activity Steering Committee (HEPA Europe).
Marie was a member of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (UK-wide assessment of university research quality) sub-panel for Sport & Exercise Sciences Leisure & Tourism and is chair of this sub-panel for REF2021.
Westmeath Local Sports Partnership
Tony Wheat became the Sports Partnership Coordinator of Westmeath Sports Partnership in July 2019, moving over to Ireland after 20 years working in England. After graduating from Staffordshire University in 1996 with a B.A (Hons) Sport and Leisure Studies degree, he built a career in the sport and leisure sector, beginning as a sports coach before eventually becoming a Sports Development Officer for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. In 2008 he became Sports Development Manager and in 2011 became Leisure Services Manager. Throughout his time in the sector he has worked with numerous agencies including Sport England, National Governing Bodies of sport, private leisure facility operators, sports clubs, community groups and educational establishments. A family move brought him to Ireland where he began his current role with Westmeath Sports Partnership. The role involves collaborating with a wide range of agencies including Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland, to increase participation in sport and physical exercise in Westmeath. The Sports Partnership has a universal offer but also has specific target groups including women and girls, older adults, people with disabilities and socially excluded groups. Away from work he played rugby at semi professional level for 20 years in England and enjoyed a season in New Zealand. He is now a Judicial Officer for the English and Irish Rugby Unions, European Professional Club Rugby and Pro 14, and is also a qualified World Rugby Match Commissioner and game analyst.
There are currently approximately 400 students registered on undergraduate programmes in the Department. Each of these students take research modules throughout their studies culminating in a final year project in the last year of their programme. Each programme is underpinned by many principles including research informed learning and evidence based learning. In addition, each programme aims to develop graduate competencies around research to prepare students for further study on Masters or PhD programmes. Many of our current postgraduate students have progressed through the undergraduate pathway in the Department.