Professor Dr Grant Jarvie (Honorary Doctorate)

Chair of Sport - University of Edinburgh; Founding Director Academy of Sport; Professor - University of Toronto

  • University of Edinburgh - Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • University of Edinburgh- Academy of Sport
  • University ot Toronto

Contact details


Grant Jarvie is Chair of Sport, and founding Director of the Academy of Sport at the University of Edinburgh- He manages one of Edinburgh’s six Global Academies which draws together expertise from across the University. He is also currently associated with the University of Toronto as a visiting research Professor. 

Grant has more than 30 years of leadership and management experience in different Universities, having held 3 established Chairs, led 4 departments and research centres and served as University Vice-Principal and Acting President with responsibility for budgets in excess of £150 million. He completed the Top Management Programme for future leaders taken by University Senior Management and Civil Servants and sits on the British Council Board for Erasmus and the CMB International Strategy Board. He has served as an advisor to UNESCO and the Prince Albert Foundation. 

Outside of the University sector Grant has served the Sports Industry and the Scottish sector in various roles including Director and Chair (sportscotland Trust Company) with the Board of the sportscotland; East Renfrewshire Culture, Leisure and Sport Trust Board, The Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, and Advisor to the Scottish Football Association. 

Born in Bellshill and from an international sporting family a sustained and core commitment has always been to strive to open up opportunities through education and sport. A commitment that has involved directly leading or being part of the leadership team that brought into being: The National Para Sports Centre at Inverclyde; The Scottish Para Football Association; Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence; The Winning Student’s Scheme and one of the first anti-racism in sport policies adopted by a sports council. 

In the development of Football More than a Game Grant led the development of the world’s first football MOOC and the subsequent opportunities which have helped the University of Edinburgh open up access to education in marginalized communities by delivering credit bearing football courses in local football stadiums. 

He has consistently advocated for sport to be recognised as an effective national and international social and economic tool and championed the role of the university in developing human capabilities, cities and opportunities as well as leading organizational change within universities.

In: 2019 Grant helped to secure the University partnership with FC Barcelona; 2018 involvement with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade  led to advising, developing and delivering a programme of education designed to up skill Ministers of Sport across 53 countries; 2015 involved organising the World Sports Value Summit in Cape Town supported by the Handa Foundation while 2013 involved leading a series of workshops on sport, peace and conflict resolution for senior government officials from 70 different countries. 

He holds a DPhil (University of Leicester) an MA (Queen’s University, Canada) and has been awarded an Honorary DPhil (Taiwan) for services to international education and sport. He has recently delivered Scottish Development International Thought Leadership seminars in Singapore and Toronto.

He is an associate member of the Iona Community primarily involved in philanthropic fundraising for the work of the community and the restoration of Iona Abbey.

Undergraduate teaching

  • Development of the first MOOC- Football More than a Game (Non-Credit bearing version, free access to education) 
  • Global Impact of Sport Summer and Winter Schools 
  • Football More than a Game- 5 Credits at level 7 - delivered in areas of multiple deprivation across Scotland 

Postgraduate teaching

  • Supervision of Phd and Msc research students 
  • Sport, Society and International Development MSc Core Course

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

It would be great to talk to potential PhD students from all over the world who want to make a difference in the world through sport and related activities. We have a good track record of success, introducing you to a world wide network, welcoming you into a critical mass and family of PhD students across the University working on sport, physical activity, physical education topics and much more. 

Grant’s work is concentrated in three areas education, sport and international relations through which he has been committed to social change, policies tackling inequality and interventions designed to alter life chances. He has consistently advocated for sport to be recognised as an effective national and international social and economic tool and championed the role of the university and sport in developing human capabilities, cities and opportunities. He has a wealth of experience of working in the real world of sport as well as the university. 


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Current PhD students supervised


  • Yujin Xu- An Experiential Approach to Cross Cultural Education - drawing on the case study of sail training
  • Mason Robbins- Football, Money and Sports Rankings 
  • Matthew Holmes - Sport for Development in Zambia 
  • Corissa Vella White - Small State Sport Systems 
  • David Meir - Sport, International Development and Social Change 
  • Tavis Smith - joint supervision with the University of Toronto 
  • Christos Tomatzu- Education through Football 

Past PhD students supervised

Grant has supervised more than 30 Phd's (Full-time; Part-Time and by Publication)

Many have gone  on to secure posts including: 

  • Irene Reid- Lecturer in Scotland
  • Fiona Grossert Sanders- Lecturer in Australia
  • Dong Jhy Hwang- Lecturer in Taiwan 
  • Claire Parker- Lecturer in Australia
  • Susan Ahrens- Lecturer in Canada 
  • Gilberto Galeazzi- Civil Servant in Italy
  • Susan Ahrens- Lecturer in Canada 



Research summary

  • Sport
  • Comparative Analysis - Canada and Scotland 
  • Higher Education 
  • Highlands and Islands
  • Political Economy

Current research interests

Sport, Cultural Relations and Diplomacy; Football- Social, Cultural, Economic Impacts; Cities; Canada and Scotland; Social Inequality and Social Change; Commonwealth Sport for Development - Report for Commonwealth Secretariat; The Scottish Sporting Landscape - Report for the Scottish Government; The Making of Sports Policy- Report for the Jimmy Reid Foundation;

Past research interests

Labour Migration of Kenyan and Ethiopian Athletes; Malaysian Sports Industry- Report for the Malaysian Government;

Affiliated research centres

Project activity


Current sample of projects: 

  • Widening access to education through sport 
  • International Sports Diplomacy 
  • Sport and social inequality in Scotland


Current project grants

Widening access to education through football( University funded)
Enabling Gaelic Sport (External funding)
Sports Policy in Scotland Report (External funding)

Past project grants

Advancing Sports Heritage (External funding)
Handa Sports Fellowships (External funding)