Professor Dr Grant Jarvie (MA, PhD, PhD (Hons)

University of Edinburgh Professor, Chair of Sport and Director (Academy of Sport) - Visiting Professor - University of Toronto


Professor Grant Jarvie is Chair of Sport, Founding Director of the Academy of Sport (one of the few dedicated think tanks supporting the sports industry to address local and global challenges) at the University of Edinburgh and Visiting Research Professor at the University of Toronto.

Throughout his career to date in Higher Education (Acting University Principal, Vice-Principal, Faculty Head, 3 established Chairs) and the Sports Industry, Grant has worked across diverse cultural and commercial environments forging a reputation as an effective international Government Advisor and leader with the ability to navigate and influence key stakeholders at the highest level of authority.

A highly versatile international engagement professional, involved with numerous organisations committed to social change, tackling inequality and interventions designed to enhance life chances of marginalised groups.

A primary focus has been to establish sport and education as the vehicle for delivery of those commitments and as an effective social and economic tool to champion the development of human capabilities, cities and opportunities.

Professor Jarvie’s portfolio’s and core areas of expertise have included Social Responsibility and Community Engagement- Learning and Teaching- Stakeholder Management - Change Management – Philanthropy and Fund Raising – Leadership- International Engagement and Management – Local Government – Research and Analysis - Sport- Education – Strategic Insight and Direction- Technology and Innovation.

To date his key achievements have included:  

  • The creation of Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence
  • Co-creation of the first National Para Football Association
  • Widening access to Higher Education
  • The creation of the first ESRC research council recognised centre for sports research
  • Assisting with the strategic delivery of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games 
  • Being part of the senior management team helping to deliver Scotland’s University of the Year
  • Being appointed Vice-Convener of the Iona Community Council,
  • Chair of East Renfrewshire Culture, Leisure and Sport Trust
  • Commonwealth Secretariat Policy Advisor
  • Being awarded the Glenfiddich Literary Award for Highland Games the Making of the Myth (Edinburgh University Press) and an Honorary Doctorate for forging International Engagement through education and sport
  • Holding two Ministerial appointments.

His research has generated questions in both Scottish and other parliaments and income generation to date has exceeded £15 million. He was invited to deliver Scottish Development International Thought Leadership Seminars in, for example, Singapore and Toronto.

He has published some 175 articles, reports and books including most recently:

  • The Jarvie Report on the Scottish Sporting Landscape (Scottish Government)
  • Sport, Culture and Society (Routledge)
  • Sport, Physical Education and Social Justice (Routledge)
  • In 2021 he served as an international advisor to the Welsh Government and British Council (Wales) ground breaking report on international sports diplomacy and
  • Worked with the 54 countries of the Commonwealth to deliver a programme designed to up-skill the capabilities of Ministers and Ministries to deliver on the sustainable development goals. 

External Boards and Committees have included:

  • East Renfrewshire Leisure, Culture and Sport Trust, Chair
  • Iona Community Council, Vice Convener
  • National Sports Council for Scotland Board Member, Director and Chair
  • National Sports Council for Scotland Finance and Audit Committee
  • Prince Albert Foundation
  • QAA Scotland, Board Member
  • UK Research Assessment Exercise Board Member (twice)
  • Scottish Football Association Equality and Diversity Board
  • Scottish Para Football Association Board
  • Universities Scotland -Main Committee Member
  • University Principal Executive Group
  • Hibernian Women's Football Club Ltd- Director
  • Queens Park FC Foundation- Director 

Born in Bellshill, Scotland, educated at the Universities of Exeter, Queen's and Leicester Grant comes from an international sporting family.  Having held senior leadership positions in both the university sector and the sports industry he has experience of and continues to build high performance boards and teams.





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. 

Have a more detailed look at


Current PhD students supervised


  • Matthew Holmes - Sport for Development in Zambia 
  • Corissa Vella White - Small State Sport Systems - The Case of Malta
  • Tavis Smith - joint supervision with the University of Toronto 
  • Christos Tomatzu- Education through Football 
  • Ross Walker - Basketball and Development in Scotland
  • Kate Simpson- Sport and Mental Health
  • Chun-Chin-Li - Sport as tool for development in Taiwan
  • Chufeng- Wang - Football Governance
  • Katherine Worth - Sport and National Identity 
  • Wen Ye- Sports Diplomacy and China

Past PhD students supervised

Grant has supervised more than 35 Phd's (Full-time; Part-Time and by Publication)

Many have gone  on to secure posts including: 

  • Yujun Xu- Research Assistant and Post- Doc- Peking University 
  • Mason Robbins- Space Industry 
  • 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
  • David Meir - Lecturer University of the West of Scotland

Research summary

  • Sport, Diplomacy and Cultural Relations 
  • Football 
  • Comparative Analysis 
  • Highlands and Islands
  • Political Economy
  • Sports Policy

Current research interests

Sport, Cultural Relations and Diplomacy Football- Social, Cultural, Economic Impacts Sport and Cities Data Driven Innovation and the Scottish Football Industry (Internally Funded) Social Inequality and Social Change Club Fan Engagement ( Externally Funded) Eric Liddell 1924-2024 - 100 Year Legacy ( Externally Funded)

Past research interests

Sport and the sustainable development goals (External Funding - Commonwealth and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) Welsh sport as a soft power asset (External Funding- British Council) Labour Migration of Kenyan and Ethiopian Athletes; Malaysian Sports Industry- Report for the Malaysian Government;

Affiliated research centres

Project activity


Current sample of projects: 

  • Data , Covid and the Scottish Football Industry 
  • Sport and the Sustainable Development Goals 
  • Welsh sport as a soft power asset
  • Scottish Government Review of sport 
  • Widening access to education through sport 
  • International Sports Diplomacy 
  • Sport and social inequality in Scotland


Current project grants

Data Driven Innovation and the Scottish Football Industry (Internally Funded)
Sport and the sustainable development goals (External Funding - Commonwealth and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
Welsh sport as a soft power asset (External Funding- British Council)

Past project grants

Widening access to education through football( University funded)
Enabling Gaelic sport (External funding)
Sports Policy in Scotland Report (External funding)
MOOC feasibility study (External funding)
Advancing Sports Heritage (External funding)
Handa Sports Fellowships (External funding)