In May 2021, BUCS released a research tender to gather further insight into race and equality in sport and physical activity within the higher education sector.

This project aims to explore the physical activity experiences of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds and understand their perceptions of the barriers and enablers to participation. After receiving a significant amount of interest, we are pleased to announce that the University of Wolverhampton has been successful in its proposal to undertake the associated study. 

The research will look to identify recommendations and best practice in engaging students from different ethnicities within the higher education landscape. It is hoped the work will be recognised as sector leading, and that the outputs can be used by BUCS, its network of member institutions, and the wider HE community to better engage students from all communities and provide insight into developing an inclusive approach to physical activity programmes. 

Gavin Ward, Senior Lecturer and a research lead at the University of Wolverhampton, said: ‘We are a team of researchers committed to social justice research, and this project aligns exactly with our professional and academic work. The research poses important questions about the experiences of students with diverse ethnic backgrounds and seeks to understand barriers and enablers to their participation in sport and physical activity. BUCS’ desire to not only produce a report but also a toolkit, to support those working to engage and develop the participation of students with diverse ethnic backgrounds, was a significant draw for us. We believe that this project has the potential to use research to make a positive impact on the inclusivity of university sport and physical activity.’ 

Richard Medcalf, Director of the Institute of Human Sciences at the University of Wolverhampton, said: ‘We are proud that the University has been entrusted with this important piece of work. We look forward to working in partnership with the team at BUCS and the wider membership across the sector to better understand the barriers and enablers to participation for students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.’ 

Jenny Morris, Director of Delivery at BUCS also commented: ‘The research has the potential to enact real change across the sector and we are excited to be working with Wolverhampton to ensure the work is truly meaningful. The research team brings with them an extensive amount of experience and we are confident that with the support of our wider membership, we will be able to identify a robust set of recommendations to significantly improve the equality and diversity of participation within higher education sport.’ 

The research team will shortly be meeting with BUCS to outline the journey of the research before engaging with the wider membership for consultation. If you would like to know more about the work, please contact BUCS Development Manager Mark Brennan. View the tender here.  

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