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Research Environment

We pride ourselves on creating an environment that is conductive to producing biomedical and sports performance research of world-leading quality. We have a thriving research culture and believe that all our researchers from the most junior to the most senior should be supported to achieve their full potential.

Research infrastructure and facilities have been strategically enhanced since 2014. The £11 m Sport Park II facility was built as part of the University’s investment in sport, health and exercise sciences. Sport Park II is a 10,150 m² new-build teaching and research facility focused on Sports Performance. 

The building includes space for postgraduate researchers and applied research facilities. It also contains one of the only full-sized indoor football pitches in the UK. This offers a unique opportunity to conduct applied research in context-specific settings. It also allows us to form future collaborations with the FAW medical team, that also hosts a FIFA-endorsed medical centre. Sport Park II complements the laboratory space available to students on the University’s Glyntaff campus and further enhances interaction between the Vascular Health Group and Sports Performance Group.

Our infrastructure plan for 2021-2026 includes the construction of Sport Park III. This further new-build would accommodate all laboratory facilities, locating all of the teaching and research on a single campus. To date, over £6 m of capital bid funding has been secured to support this initiative.

The Vascular Health Group’s Neurovascular Research Laboratory is based in the Alfred Russel Wallace Building. As well as the ‘standard’ infrastructure of a well-equipped biochemistry/physiology/exercise science laboratory, specialist facilities include a BASES-accredited exercise physiology lab and an environmental chamber that is temperature, humidity and oxygen controlled. 

It also facilitates state-of-the-art analytical techniques including:  X-band electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and ozone-based chemiluminescence (for the detection and molecular characterisation of free radicals); multi-channel near infra-red spectroscopy (to assess regional flow and tissue oxygenation); trans-cranial Doppler and Duplex ultrasonography (to measure blood flow); and breath-by-breath respiratory gas analysers (to measure oxygen uptake). 

The group also has on-site access to UV spectroscopy, ELISA and RT-PCR given extensive collaborations with colleagues in chemistry and biology at USW and additional access to a world-class core facility for nuclear magnetic resonance and electron nuclear double resonance spectroscopy, c/o a collaboration between Professor Bailey and Cardiff University School of Chemistry (Prof. D Murphy).

Our staff have an international reputation, evidenced by numerous prestigious awards, honours, industry collaborations, prizes, nominations, editorial board memberships and international keynote invitations.

Collaborations, networks and partnerships

Staff collaborate regionally, nationally and internationally with partners from industry and academia to provide world-leading knowledge and impact. 

Under the strategic remit of the Vascular Health Group, Professor Damian Bailey has established an impressive international network of published collaborations with world-leading specialists in the following areas of research priority: 

  • Space medicine: Normandie University, France; European Space Agency. 

  • Free radicals, inflammation and haemostasis: University of Marseilles, France; University of Colorado Denver, USA; University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Systemic vascular function: University Hospital Lausanne, Switzerland; University of Utah, USA. 

  • Brain structure and function: Yale University School of Medicine, USA; Case Western Reserve University, USA; University of Montpellier, France; University of North Texas Health Science Center, USA; University of Istanbul, Turkey; University of Split, Croatia; Boston University, USA.

The Sports Performance Group has established comprehensive collaborations with national governing bodies, such as FAWT, through the CFRW and Sport Wales (Professor Brendan Cropley). 

Professor Brendan Cropley is also working with Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of Portsmouth, St. Mary’s University, Liverpool John Moores University, Edge Hill University, Brunel University, Curtin University (Australia), West Virginia University (USA), and University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (USA). 

He also has research links with the International Society of Sport Psychology, contributing to its codes of ethics for applied practice, and with UK Coaching, which informs Government of policy related to sport coaching in order to impact positively on society. 

Dr Morgan Williams also has a global network and his research on hamstring injury prevention using the Norbord has directly impacted hamstring injury prevention and management in a wide variety of professional sports, including:

  • Football: 20 English Premier League teams, 72 other UEFA teams, 11 Major League Soccer teams.
  • Basketball: 22 NBA teams.
  • American Football: 21 NFL teams; 53 US NCAA organisations.
  • Rugby: 30 professional Rugby Union and League teams.
  • Baseball: 15 US Major League teams.
  • Australian Rules Football: 17 Australian teams.
  • Other organisations including 54 health clinics, 37 National Governing Bodies, 22 Research institutes, and 38 Performance Centres (see www.valdperformance.com– Who’s on BORD). 

Professor Damian Bailey and colleagues have also established numerous international collaborations (including in Denmark, Canada, USA and France) with world-leading specialists to explore the neuroprotective bases of physical activity. Consequently, Professor Bailey has developed a network of nine Visiting Professors, who collaborate with the Vascular Health Group across a range of initiatives. 

Professor Bailey was also appointed the Reichwald Family Chair of Preventative Medicine at the University of British Columbia (Canada), and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster, Swansea University, Cardiff University and Aix-Marseille University (France). M. Williams collaborates with colleagues at the University of Queensland (Australia), Griffith University (Australia) and the Australian Catholic University at Melbourne. 

Professor David Shearer conducts research with partners at Swansea University, University of Roehampton, University of North Dakota (USA), University of New England (USA), Leeds Trinity and the University of Sydney (Australia). In conjunction with Cropley, Professor Shearer also serves on the WIPS Steering Group. 

Research culture

The University of South Wales is number 24 in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index,  certified as a Disability Confident – Employer and is proud to have achieved the HR Excellence in Research Award acknowledging the support it provides to researchers.  

USW is an inclusive place to work, with a clear commitment to furthering LGBT+ equality across all of our policies and practices through an active LGBT+ Staff Network, LGBT+ Role Models and LGBT+ allies.

Career development

Academic progression is encouraged whether you are engaged in research and development, innovation and engagement or teaching and learning. There is a clear framework for progression from lecturer through to Associate Professor and Professor.

Our Graduate School provides strong support to staff who are, or want to develop into, research supervisors, examiners and chairs of vivas.

PGR students

USW's Graduate School provides overarching support for postgraduate researchers across the University. It brings postgraduate researchers together from a wide variety of disciplines into one community for a range of development opportunities and mentoring.