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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

The Department of Public Health and Sport Sciences (Medical School)

About us

The Department of Public Health and Sports Sciences undertakes impactful research and teaching across all three university themes: Health, Environment and Social Justice.  We are an interdisciplinary  group with strong individual identities and established  strategic  partnerships with the NHS, local communities, charities, industry, and sporting  organisations.  Our aim is to drive policy change and improve health, wellbeing and performance across the lifespan, and along the continuum from clinical groups to elite performers.

  • Public Health at the University of Exeter is in an exciting growth period.  In addition to our longstanding expertise in the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, we include internationally excellent groups in child and adolescent mental health and health technology assessment, with developing programmes of work in public health economics.  The University of Exeter’s membership of the NIHR School for Public Health Research, a mark of distinction in research excellence, is homed in the Department.
  • Sports Science is well-established in Exeter and was ranked first in the UK for research quality in REF2021. Mechanistic expertise in exploring the physiological, biomechanical and psychological limits on human performance is paired with trials that seek to enhance health and performance via nutritional, training and technological (e.g. VR) interventions. Joining the existing expertise in human movement science is the Rehabilitation group with a particular focus on reducing falls, improving function and mobility, and improving outcomes following orthopaedic surgery.

Our groups include:

  • The European Centre for Environment & Human Health, who investigate the complex links between the environment and human health and ensure these findings about potential risks (e.g., AMR) and benefits have relevance to local communities, policymakers and UK businesses.
  • Sport and Health Sciences, who have specialist facilities for examining human nutrition, physiology, biomechanics and gait assessment, sensorimotor control and psychology, and physical activity - from paediatric groups to elderly participants; from elite performers to clinical groups; from microscopic worm models to players on the pitch or patients in their homes. Our work seeks to translate our fundamental mechanistic understanding into real-world interventions and applications.
  • The School of Public Health and Environment Research Exeter (SPHERE): one of 9 NIHR -funded SPHRs which act as an incubator for projects to achieve specific impacts on the health of the public.
  • The Peninsula Technology Assessment Group (PENTAG), who conduct health technology assessment for policymakers and include specialists in systematic review methods, health economics, information science, computer science and statistics.
  • The Children and Young People's Mental Health Research Collaboration (ChYMe): developing evidence-based policy and practice to improve the lives of children and communities around them. Research seeks to understand the factors affecting mental health and what interventions can support improved wellbeing.
  • INTERSECT: Interdisciplinary Translational Rehabilitation Research Centre. This group brings together strengths in rehabilitation, aging, orthopaedics, sport science and human performance research, with a focus on reducing falls, improving function and mobility, and hence quality of life, of older people with frailty, neurodegenerative and/or musculoskeletal conditions. 

Our Leadership Team