Professor Dr Grant Jarvie (Honorary Doctorate)

University of Edinburgh Chair of Sport and Director (Academy of Sport) - Visiting 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 was born in Bellshill and 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. He is currently Chair (third professorial chair) and Director of the Academy of Sport at the University of Edinburgh – one of the few dedicated think tanks supporting the sports industry to address local and global challenges.

Recent successes have included helping the University of Edinburgh secure significant partnerships with the University of Toronto and FC Barcelona while working with the 53 countries of the Commonwealth to advance education around governance, safeguarding and equalities. His review of the Scottish sporting landscape is about to be published by the Scottish Government.

Within the university sector Grant has held the offices of Acting University Principal, Vice-Principal, Head of Faculty (8 Schools) and Head of Department both within the UK and beyond. He has worked with Scottish Universities Principal’s Executive and been an advisor to successive education and sport Ministers. Within the sports sector he has been Chair and Director with the National Sports Council, is currently Chair of East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust and an Independent Trustee with the Scottish Para Football Association. He has been chair of various Finance, Audit and Risk Committee’s and been accountable for budgets in excess of £150million.

He has expertise in change management programmes, philanthropy and fund raising and has always strived to open up opportunities through both education and sport.  In the development of Football More than a Game Grant he 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 held the university equalities portfolio at time of of the Equalities Act being introduced, helped to bring into being the National Para Sports Centre at Inverclyde, the delivery of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Winning Students Scholarship Scheme which has helped to open up access to education through sport across Scotland’s Universities and Colleges. 

Having benefited from leadership training including media training he is an experienced communicator beyond the university, comfortable in engaging with senior figures in government and industry and with high net worth individuals. This in part has been demonstrated through regularly appearing in committees, policy forums and as a practiced media performer, including radio, TV and international public audiences such as Celtic Connections.

 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. 

He is an associate member of the Iona Community, an Honorary Visiting Professor with the University of Toronto and has been awarded an Honorary Degree for services to international higher education.


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: 

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


Current project grants

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

Past project grants

MOOC feasibility study (External funding)
Advancing Sports Heritage (External funding)
Handa Sports Fellowships (External funding)

View all 58 publications on Research Explorer