School of Health & Human Performance

Research Centres | Health and Human Performance

Research Centres & Groups

With an ever evolving school our facilities are constantly evolving in order to advance our research. Below is a breakdown of all of the centres and clusters possessing our immaculate facilities which are involved specifically with our school:

  • Lonsdale Building
  • School of Nursing
  • Exwell
  • Albert College Building
  • DCU Sport
  • St. Clare's Sports Facility

Applied Sports Performance Research Group

The Applied Sports Performance Research Group (ASPRG) in the School of Health and Human Performance and is made up a unique multi-disciplinary team of sport and exercise science researchers.

The primary focus of the group is investigating critical factors which influence athletic performance and identifying and evaluating the influence of key performance determinant (KPD) on performance outcome. The ASPRG is made of sport and exercise physiologists, biomechanist, psychologist, physiotherapist and applied researchers who investigate how physiological, psychological, technical and injury factors influence elite athletic performance.

Sports Medicine Research Group

The Musculoskeletal Medicine Research Group is a newly formed multi-centre and multi-disciplinary group with an interest in various aspects of the relations hip between physical activity in its diverse forms, musculoskeletal health and musculoskeletal performance.

The primary aim of this research group is to determine the impact of exercise on the prevention, pathophysiology and treatment of metabolic, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The group comprises sports & exercise medicine clinicians, hospital consultants (in the fields of general surgery, orthopaedic surgery and diagnostic imaging), physiotherapists and a performance psychologist.

Childhood and Physical Activity Research Cluster

The Childhood and Physical Activity is a multidisciplinary research group within DCU. It comprises 9 academic staff and 8 research students. Its main purpose is to facilitate a collaborative environment where staff and students can work together to produce excellent research and make a significant impact to the lives of children and young people in relation to their experience of physical activity, sport, physical education and active commuting. Since its foundation in 2011 we have graduated 3 PhD and 2 MSc students, and currently have 5 PhDs and 1 MSc registered. We have also generated a significant number of publications and grant applications. Examples of projects are listed below:

Y-PATH: Youth Physical Activity Towards Health: This school physical education based Y-PATH intervention aims to improve the physical activity (PA) levels of post-primary youth through education about the importance of PA for health, improving levels of motivation, self-regulation and empowerment, exposure to a range of modes of activity, development of fundamental movement skill levels (FMS) and generating a supportive environment for PA through working with parents and teachers. Y-PATH has completed a randomised controlled trial in 22 schools from the greater Dublin area. Output: 4 journal articles, 1 EU-FP7 application (reached stage 2; ultimately unsuccessful), HRB Definitive Intervention application (stage 2 evaluation result pending), 2 PhD and 1 MSc completion, numerous conference papers. IMPACT: 22 Schools and 50 PE teachers now trained in Y-PATH methodology. Healthy Ireland are looking to use Y-PATH for its HI Demonstration Project going forward.

Contact: Dr. Sarahjane Belton –

The Children’s Sport Participation and Physical Activity Study (CSPPA): The CSPPA study was a unique multi-centre study undertaken by Dublin City University, University of Limerick and University College Cork. Its purpose was to i) provide a national database of physical activity, physical education and sport participation levels of children and youth in Ireland, ii) assess indices of health and fitness in a sub-sample of the target population, iii) collect and analyze information on the factors influencing participation. This research study was funded by the Irish Sports Council, and the reports are available for download from Output: included 3 peer-reviewed publications, 12 conference presentations. IMPACT: surveillance data for Healthy Ireland’s National Physical Activity Plan, advocacy for resources for physical activity promotion for youth. A five year follow-up of this cohort took place in 2014; an additional 5 papers are in review.

Contact: Dr. Sarahjane Belton –

Be Active ASAP (After School Activity Programme): This programme offers a safe, familiar and convenient setting for an age-appropriate introduction to after-school physical activity for 7-8 year old children. It is led by teachers who are trained to work with volunteer parents in order to provide quality opportunities to be active based on the primary school physical education curriculum. Its aim is to improve the physical activity patterns of school children by introducing them, and their parents, to a wide variety of activities in a fun, supportive, positive environment. DCU and St. Patrick’s College of Education were involved in a longitudinal evaluation of this programme. Output: 2 peer-reviewed publications, 4 conference presentations. IMPACT to date 424 schools (15.2% of national primary school coverage) have been trained to deliver Be Active ASAP, 36,674 people have participated (29,279 children; 5932 Parents and 1463 teachers). See for information on the programme.

Contact: Dr. Sarahjane Belton –