Academy of Sport - Acadamaidh Spòrs Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann

Our history

Building upon a remarkable heritage of involvement with sport dating back to at least 1591, the Academy of Sport, established in 2014, was born from a desire to serve communities locally and globally.

image courtesy of sportscotland ©2016




  • University founded



  • First University of Edinburgh playing fields allotted by the City Council “ College Pitch” on the Burgh Muir



  • Edinburgh Law student John Hope founds the first organized football club in the world



  • Foundation of the Scottish Rugby Union



  • The Hygienists, one of the first places in the world to provide specialist education for women in physical activity and education



  • Eric Liddell wins a gold medal at the Paris Olympic Games. The link continues through the awarding of the Liddell Scholarship in 2012 and the display of the Olympic Medals in the University



  • The current Institute of sport, physical education and health sciences designated as the Scottish Centre



  • Edinburgh social anthropology student Luke Dowdney founds Fight for Peace dedicated to realizing the potential of young people in communities that suffer from crime and violence



  • Katherine Grainger and Sir Chris Hoy sustain the continuity of Olympic Gold Medal performances from Edinburgh Alumni



  • Hosted World Sports Values Summit for Peace and Development in Cape Town, South Africa



  • Enabled Sport, Mental Health and Dementia Symposium at Hampden Park



  • Global Impact of Sport - Summer School launched



  • Partnerships with Homeless World Cup and Barcelona Football Club Foundation



  • Commonwealth consultancy to advance sport and the sustainable development goals
  • British Council consultancy to develop sport in Wales as a soft power asset
  • Global Impact of Sport Winter School launched
  • The future of women’s football symposium
  • 4th in UK Universities league table for sport
  • Moray House School of Education retitled to include Sport
  • Australian Government acknowledges Edinburgh (Academy of Sport)  in launch of Sports Diplomacy Strategy
  • ESRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship



  • Review of the Scottish Sporting Landscape for the Scottish Government
  • Production of 40th Sports Podcast
  • Open up Widening Access to the University of Edinburgh through Football
  • Baroness Scotland launches sport and sustainable development education
  • British Council Soft Power Scotland report acknowledges Edinburgh (Academy of Sport)
  • University Award in recognition of Community Engagement



  • Win British Council Tender to deliver cultural relations and sport education internationally
  • International Advisors to British Council Wales Sports diplomacy Strategy ( led by Academy Fellow Dr Stuart Murray)
  • Invited to join UK Soft Power Working Group
  • Produce Policy briefs on Sport in the Scottish Election and the 46th USA Presidential Election
  • Lead Data Driven Innovation Research in support of the Scottish Football industry



  • 1st in Scotland for sports research as part of Moray House School of Education and Sport submission to Research Assessment Exercise
  • Hibernian Fan Engagement Survey
  • Sport and Mental Health Report for Qatar Foundation
  • UK Government soft power working group
  • Attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Forum in Rwanda to help with sport for development
  • 170 countries reached through our online education offering
  • Research partnership with the University of Toronto




The University of Edinburgh

  • 1st in Scotland and 13th in the THES World University Rankings (2022)
  • 16th in the QS World University Rankings (2022)
  • 13th Guardian Good University Guide (2022)
  • Creates on average 2 companies every week
  • 1st in Scotland and 11th in the UK for research (Research Evaluation Framework 2014)
  • More than 12 000 international students from 140 nations
  • 19 Nobel Prize winners and 15 Olympic medals


Sport at the University of Edinburgh

  • 1st in Scotland for sport related subjects in World QS World University Rankings (2021)
  • 10th Guardian Good University Guide Sports Science (2022)
  • 1st in Scotland for sports research (Research Evaluation Framework 2014)
  • 1st Massive Open Online Course in Football – widening access (2014)