Dr Stelios Psycharakis

Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport, ISPEHS
  • University of Edinburgh

Contact details


Stelios' interest in sport and exercise science originated from his sporting background, being a member of the national swimming team of Greece from 1990-1995. He then went on to undertake a BSc (Hons) in Sport Science & Physical Education, an MSc in Sport & Exercise Science and a PhD in Biomechanics. Stelios held lecturing posts at the University of Hull (2007) and Edinburgh Napier University (2007-2014), before joining the University of Edinburgh in September 2014. Stelios has been providing scientific support in the areas of biomechanics and performance analysis and has worked with elite athletes such as members of GB Swimming and of the Scottish Institute of Sport.


  • PhD in Biomechanics (University of Edinburgh)
  • MSc in Sport & Exercise Science (Leeds Metropolitan University)
  • BSc (Hons) Sport Science & Physical Education (University of Athens)
  • Qualified Physical Education Teacher
  • Qualified Swimming Coach

Undergraduate teaching

Course organiser for:

  • Sports Biomechanics 4 (BSc Applied Sport Science/ BMed Sports Medicine)
  • Sport Science 2C: Information Skills & Biomechanics (BSc Applied Sport Science)
  • Sport Science 1B: Biomechanics and Sport Psychology (BSc Applied Sport Science/ MA Physical Education)

Also contributing to teaching for:

  • Sport Science: Research Attachment 4 (BSc Applied Sport Science/ BMed Sports Medicine)

  • Exercise Prescription for Rehabilitation (BSc Applied Sport Science/ BMed Sports Medicine)
  • Dissertation (BSc Applied Sport Science/ BMed Sports Medicine)

Postgraduate teaching

MSc Dissertation supervision (MSc Strength & Conditioning)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Stelios is keen to supervise PhD projects in biomechanics for human performance enhancement or clinical biomechanics for health and rehabilitation, in particualr projects with a focus on aquatics. Examples include 3D analysis of swimming performance, aquatic rehabilitation for people with chronic low back pain or other MSDs, physical activity and aquatic exercise for the elderly. If you are interested in pursuing a PhD in any of the above areas,  then feel free to contact Stelios directly to discuss your ideas. 

Current PhD students supervised

  • Nimra Arshad: Effectiveness of aquatic exercise therapy for people with low back pain
  • Craig Riddle: The motoratic and biomechanical requirements of individuals with moderate to severe cerebral palsy during RaceRunning
  • Guy Stern: Exercise modalities for improving and mantaining functional capacity in healthy older adults.
  • Ran Hongyu:  Effects of HIIT on smoking cessation.

Past PhD students supervised

  • Margarida Dias: Three-dimensional kinematics in backstroke swimming: Reliability, Isokinetic Strength, and Asymmetries at Sub-maximal and Maximal Paces
  • Alex Rawcliffe: A Biomechanical Analysis of British Army Foot-Drill: Implications of Lower-Extremity Musculoskeletal Injury in Entry-Level Recruit Populations

Research summary

  • Clinical biomechanics for health and rehabilitation
  • Biomechanics for human performance enhancement, in particular for aquatic sports 
  • Interdisciplinary research in aquatic sports and activities

Current research interests

Stelios' main area of expertise is biomechanics, with a dual focus on performance enhancement and clinical applications for health and rehabilitation. His human performance biomechanics research is centred on improving understanding in human locomotion, especially in an aquatic environment, and identifying new ways to improve performance. Stelios' current research in clinical biomechanics focuses on the potential of treatment and management of musculoskeletal disorders, and in particular chronic back pain, through exercise. His research expands to interdisciplinary topics, projects examining the validity and reliability of sports equipment and to other areas of biomechanics. Stelios is an expert reviewer for more than 20 academic journals and a member of the scientific committee of the 'Biomechanics & Medicine in Swimming' conferences. 

Knowledge exchange

Stelios has organised and run two KE and public engagement seminars for the 'WATER' project (2015-2017, CSO-funded), which explored the suitability of a range of exercises in the water and on land for people with chronic low back pain. He is also involved in other KE activities and has provided consultancy for three external companies in developing and optimising equipment used in sports and rehabilitation. 

Project activity

Large Research Grants

  • Chief Scientist Office, £304,602, Principal Investigator, 2015-2017: 'The WATER project: Which AquaTic ExeRcises work best? Identifying muscle recruitment for aquatic exercises used in interventions for core strengthening and rehabilitation from musculoskeletal disorders'. 

The WATER project used wireless electromyography to measure muscle activation for the main trunk supporting muscles and on both dominant and non-dominant sides.  More than 40 exercises in the water and on land that can be used for the management and treatment of chronic low back pain were explored. The participants were people with chronic low back pain and individuals with no musculoskeletal disorders, and other outcome measures include pain, exertion and physical effort. The project provided an evidence base that could informs clinical practice and improve quality, efficiency and effectiveness of rehabilitation. (Co-Is: Dr Coleman, Ms Linton, Dr Kaliarntas).

Other Grants

  • Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Spain, Co-I, €3,300, 2022-2023: 'Analysis of performance in major international swimming competitions' (PI: Dr Yustres).
  • Scottish Funding Council Innovation Scheme, PI, £5,000, 2015-2016: 'Evaluation of the Swimbeam training machine'.

  • Scottish Funding Council Innovation Scheme, Pi, £5,944, 2014-2015: 'Effectiveness of a new clinical device on strength, balance & flexibility' (Co-I: Dr Kaliarntas).
  • Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, PI, £7,200, 2009-2014: Funding for three collaborative projects with the universities of Athens (Greece), Waseda (Japan) and Houston (USA).

View all 30 publications on Research Explorer