The Welsh Institute of Performance Science (WIPS) is led by Swansea University in collaboration with academic partners (Bangor University, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan and University of South Wales) conducting multi-disciplinary, world-leading, applied performance science projects that enhance the performance of Welsh athletes and businesses. It is a three-way partnership between Sport Wales, Wales’ leading academic sport scientists and relevant industry partners.
Welsh Institute of Performance Science
WIPS conducts high impact research in line with Sport Wales strategies, encouraging and maximising the latest research, innovation and technology to help enhance the performance of our nation’s athletes.
A significant strength of WIPS is the relationships created with industry and academia in the areas of sport science, medicine, science and engineering to develop, test and deliver innovations that have performance benefits within elite sport and wider domains such as health and medicine.
This is coordinated through the strategic management board and research steering group containing recognised specialists in Sport Science and Medicine; specifically coaching science, nutrition, strength and conditioning, performance physiology, youth sport, environmental physiology, sports medicine, biomechanics, performance analysis, Data Science, Talent ID and transfer, physiotherapy, disability sport, athlete health and wellbeing, sports ethics governance and integrity and psychology, and in conjunction with the Sport Wales Institute and national governing bodies.
The research is supported by Sport Wales and Welsh Government grants.
“Collaborating with the Welsh Institute of Performance Science allows us to tap into a strong academic community in Wales to create practical solutions to help our athletes excel on the world stage,” Brian Davies, Sport Wales' Director of Elite Sport.
Examples of support provided by Welsh Institute of Performance Science
Working in collaboration with the wider network of specialists has already impacted positively on sport in Wales.
1. Welsh injury surveillance in girl's youth rugby
Experts from WIPS/Bangor University have been supported by World Rugby and the Welsh Rugby Union to set up one of the first research studies worldwide to address the lack of injury risk information available in youth female rugby, specifically in the community game.
The three year project monitors injuries in girls' rugby matches across North Wales to assess injury risk. The research will have a great impact across rugby: making the game safer and putting the player first; identifying welfare risks to young female players; investigating ways to reduce these risks and then developing and sharing best practice guidelines.
2. The wellbeing and mental health of elite athletes: a collective case study
Since the Duty of Care in Sport Report, released in 2017 by Dame Tanni Gray-Thompson, there has been an increasing spotlight on the wellbeing and mental health of athletes in the UK. Researchers at Swansea University and practitioners in the Sport Wales psychology team worked with Welsh Judo and Welsh Cycling to understand key factors that affect the wellbeing and mental health of performance athletes.
They then used this insight to create an educational podcast series, infographics and recommendations for coaches to implement in the environment - all designed to support and protect the athletes' wellbeing and mental health. These are currently being used and disseminated across all the Welsh sporting governing bodies, aiming to increase athletes' confidence to seek help for any concerns that may arise.
3. The swimming start: measurement, importance and enhancement through pre-race interventions
Swim Wales and WIPS experts aimed to determine how important the start off the blocks at the beginning of a race was to overall swim performance and how to improve it. They investigated different interventions that could be used to enhance performance, including conditioning exercises and maintaining heat after a warm up using a foil-lined jacket. Results concluded how individual strategies are needed for each swimmer.
As a result of the research, coaches have been able to understand the benefits of some pre-race strategies and integrate them on an individual basis with swimmers to improve their performance.
The future of the Welsh Institute of Performance Science
WIPS aims to further develop sport science in Wales, train future sport scientists, enhance the application of science in Welsh sports, and increase collaboration between Welsh sport, academia and business.
To continue improving Wales’ Commonwealth Games performance and to increase the number of Welsh athletes winning medals at Olympic and Paralympic Games there is a need to match and exceed the performance research capacity of competitors in other nations.
How to get involved
Are you a business or academic who can help our athletes to perform even better?
If so, please get in touch:
Professor Liam Kilduff
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
+44 (01792) 513441