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The social impact of community sport and physical activity in England and Australia


Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre

Ms H Admin , Dr Larissa Davies , Saturday, October 31, 2020 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Sheffield Hallam University is inviting applications for this PhD project in our Department of Sport and Physical Activity. The project is part of our joint PhD programme with La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Students on the joint PhD programme will be enrolled on a PhD at both institutions, with a supervisory team of academics from each institution. On successful completion, the candidate will be awarded a PhD jointly by both institutions. This project is based at Sheffield Hallam, with an expectation that the successful candidate will spend up to 12 months at La Trobe during the course of the project.
Sport and physical activity are widely perceived to have the potential to improve the lives of individuals and communities and to generate positive social impacts within society. Historically, research on measuring the impact of sport-related activity has focused on traditional economic indicators such as Gross Value Added, employment and consumer spending. However, there is a growing consensus in the academic and policy community that that sport and physical activity create wider societal impacts, including but not limited to health, subjective wellbeing, crime, education and social capital. While there are relatively large-scale literatures on the relationship between sport and these social outcomes, there is relatively limited evidence on valuing the non-financial impacts of sport and physical activity at the population and sub-population level. This makes it difficult for stakeholders in government, the sport industry and sport-related organisations in the third sector to demonstrate social and financial value, and make the case for investment. Moreover, to deliver sport and physical activity programmes and activities in such a way that social value is maximised and improved.
The aim of the PhD is to compare the impact of community sport and physical activity in Australia and England. Researchers at SHU have developed a national Social Return on Investment (SROI) model for measuring the value of sport and physical activity in England. The PhD will build on this research to develop an Australian social value model. It will draw on wider economic theory to advance knowledge and understanding of the social impact of sport and physical activity. The learning from Australia will be used to refine the social value model in England, enabling a comparative case study of the two countries. The PhD will make practical recommendations for developing social impact measurement tools for the sport and physical activity sector. The PhD may focus on measuring all social outcomes evidenced in the literature, or specifically one outcome area (for example social capital, education, subjective wellbeing). We envisage that this work will be multidisciplinary, drawing upon evidence from health, economics, and other social sciences.
This PhD will provide the successful candidate with the opportunity to work with leading experts in the field of social impact measurement in sport and physical activity. The subject expertise of the lead supervisors in SHU and LTU, together with the methodological and technical experience of the wider team brings together a strong supervisory skill set to support the development of new knowledge and innovative methods to measure social impact in the sport and physical activity sector.
The PhD will the opportunity to advance academic knowledge and undertake real-world research. It will provide the candidate with the relevant skills and experience to pursue a career in academia or the sport industry following the successful completion of the project. The PhD provides the opportunity to work with two nationally leading sport research centres in the UK and Australia. Both SIRC (SHU) and CSSI (LTU) are renowned for their real-world research with sports organisations; engagement with industry and government; and internationally recognised research on the impact of sport and physical activity on society.
We welcome applications from candidates with a background in sport management, economics, and related social science disciplines. Professional or research experience in econometrics, statistical modelling or financial accounting is desirable. A strong interest and commitment to investigating the wider contribution of sport to society is essential.

Funding Notes

This is a competition-funded project. We are inviting applications to a number of different projects, and are offering up to 3 scholarships to the strongest applicants overall. Further information on the scholarships, including funding and eligibility, is available on our website.

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