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Sports science and innovation

Ball in the Wall, Cardiff Castle

Many of Wales’ universities are at the cutting edge of Sports science and innovation, identifying challenges, looking for ways to improve and getting results. Here are just some of the things they’ve been researching and improving over the last couple of years:

The Welsh Institute of Performance Science (WIPS) is a new research institute created to focus on further enhancing the performance of Welsh athletes, supporting Welsh businesses and ensuring the research of Welsh academics is having the greatest potential impact. The Blizzard Jacket, worn by Welsh athletes in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014, is an early example of WIPS success. The jacket was designed to keep athletes muscles and body at the optimum temperature for competition.

Cardiff University sponsored the IAAF World Half Marathon Championship in Cardiff in March 2016. They took the opportunity to conduct research into motivation, a key factor for participating in sport and activity for a long period of time.

Researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering have developed a unique innovative material to prevent brain injuries. The material can improve the safety of athletes and members of the military from brain injuries by better absorbing and dissipating impact and has been backed by NFL (National Football League). The material will be printed by state of the art 3D printing and high-performance computing technology. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a material that provides a step-change in head health protection, a key part of many sports.


Swansea University have an impressive track record in working with English Premier League football teams. Swansea University sports science graduates helped West Ham United’s Medical and Sports Science department to be at the forefront of innovation helping players recover after matches. Ahead of the 2015 Premier League season Swansea City FC teamed up with Sports science experts from Swansea University to give the team cutting edge fitness testing. The University’s Elite and Professional Sports research group used some of the latest research and technology available. Players including captain Ashley Williams, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, defenders Angel Rangel, Kyle Naughton and Federico Fernandez all took part.


Cardiff Metropolitan University's School of Sport has a growing reputation for World Leading and Internationally Excellent research. Cardiff Met School of Sport is helping to lead the way in video analysis. They helped pilot video analysis software used in Wales' Euro 2016 qualification success and also by Liverpool Football Club. Performance analysis students have used the cameras to film a number of sports to assist coaches and athletes with their analysis. They also provided feedback and recommendations to the makers of the software to continually improve the field.