Health experts target ambitious Olympic goals

Sports scientists and medical researchers from Edinburgh are to jointly lead an initiative focused on athlete health and injury prevention at elite level.


They will collaborate with specialists from the University of Bath in a new research centre backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The UK Collaborating Centre on Injury and Illness Prevention in Sport (UKCCIIS) will draw on each institution’s long-standing research expertise.

The University of Edinburgh has internationally recognised expertise in elite athlete health, sport and exercise medicine and orthopaedics.

Edinburgh’s research has helped to inform clinical practice, alongside its focus on Olympic sport injury and illness epidemiology.

Much of this research has been carried out in collaboration with the IOC Medical and Scientific Department.

Leading research

The University of Bath has been leading research aimed at improving player safety in rugby for more than a decade.

Studies completed with England Rugby and World Rugby have informed scrum law changes and Bath’s injury prevention programme Activate has been rolled-out by World Rugby.

Research at Edinburgh spans a range of sports and focuses on the long-term health of active and retired athletes. Specialisms include sports medicine, orthopaedics and knowledge translation.

Edinburgh and Bath joined forces this summer, with backing from World Rugby, to focus on injury prevention among female rugby union players in Scotland, England and Wales.

Edinburgh is also leading a new research initiative to better understand how injury and illness affects Olympic athletes during, and after, their sporting careers.

Connecting expertise

The new Edinburgh–Bath collaboration will connect multidisciplinary expertise in academic and clinical research and teaching both nationally and internationally.

It will cover themes including sports injury and illness prevention, sports and exercise medicine, and orthopaedics – all with a view to translating research into policy and clinical practice.

Research Centre lead Dr Debbie Palmer, of the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences, has welcomed the joint initiative.

“Working collaboratively will help improve our understanding of current trends, provide new insights and deliver impactful research that can make a real-world difference,” said Dr Palmer.

The IOC initiative also involves Edinburgh’s Fitness Assessment and Sports Injuries Centre (FASIC), and Edinburgh Orthopaedics.

Related links

Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences

International Olympic Committee