Skip to content

Rob Copeland

Professor Robert Copeland PhD, C.Psychol, MMedSci, PgDip, BSc (Hons)

Professor of Physical Activity and Health


Rob is Professor of Physical Activity and Health at The Centre for Sport & Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University and a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council and British Psychological Society. Rob is also the project manager for the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine in Sheffield, a London 2012 Olympic Games legacy programme that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the nation through sport, exercise and physical activity.

  • About

    Rob's specific area of expertise is physical activity and health, with his research and consultancy portfolio focusing on behaviour change interventions in public health. In 2012 Rob was appointed project manager for the NCSEM in Sheffield, an Olympic Legacy programme, which aims to improve the health of the nation through Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity. In Sheffield, the NCSEM has been the catalyst for a whole city approach to increasing physical activity under the banner Move More. The vision for Move More is to transform Sheffield into the most active city in the UK by 2020 by making it easier to be active as part of everyday life.

    Rob has significant research, consultancy and service evaluation experience in clinical and non-clinical populations and has presented and published nationally and internationally on physical activity and obesity related areas. Rob has been part of the last two REF submissions (2008 and 2014) for Sheffield Hallam University and principle investigator on grants relating to physical activity, obesity, workforce wellness and public health from national and international funding bodies generating over £12.5million in grant income.

    Rob is a member of a number of national academic advisory boards and regularly reviews for international peer review journals and research submissions. He was also part of an expert panel (All Party Parliamentary Group) providing insight to national government on the promotion of physical activity and has led expert round-tables for Public Health England in preparation for the national framework on physical activity in the UK.

    In other areas, Rob has worked as a psychologist within a wide range of professional sports including downhill mountain biking, golf, football, and snooker, and he has also worked with chief executives and senior manager's applying sports psychology techniques to a business environment to improve performance under pressure.

    • physical activity
    • health
    • obesity
    • sport and exercise psychology
    • behaviour change

  • Research

    • Centre for Sport and Exercise Science

    National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine - Sheffield: £10million capital programme. Co-Investigator. Project Manager (2012 - ).

    Whole systems approaches to tackling obesity – Public Health England: £1.2million. Project Advisor (2015-) 

    Evaluation of Rotherham Get Active Get Healthy. £80,000. Principal Investigator (2015 - )

    Health Education England – Workforce wellbeing in the NHS. YETB. £100,000. (2015 - )

    Regional physical activity evaluation events. Public Health England. £30,000 (2015 - )

    Evaluation of British Lung Foundation – Keep Active Keep Well programme. £30,000. Co-Investigator (2015 - )

    Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network (YH-AHSN) - Roll-out of a workforce wellness intervention across the public and private sector. Principal Investigator. £590,000 (2014 -)

    Design and evaluation of a family-based multi-component intervention to tackle overweight and obesity in Preston. Principal Investigator. £10,000. (2013 -)

  • Publications

  • Other activities

    International Olympic Committee Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health – Board Member.

    INSIGNEO - EPSRC Frontier Award Multi-sim Academic Advisory Board member

    UKactive Research Institute, Academic Advisory Board member (Promising Practice Programme)

    Public Health England Everybody Active Everyday Expert Panel member

    All Party Parliamentary Group member

    British Cycling Technical Reviewer - Mountain Biking

    The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine England - Partnership Board member

    Steve Peat Syndicate, Sport Psychology Lead Advisor

    Streetgames, Academic Advisory Board Member

  • Postgraduate supervision


    Designing a physical activity pathway in usual NHS care

    Exploring the determinants of sedentary behaviour in desk-based employees

    Lifestyle interventions in severely obese adolescents

    Do undergraduate degree programs prepare nutrition consultants for effective practise?

    Family-based multi-component interventions to tackle overweight and obesity in young people


    Exploring the use of 'Gaming' to promote physical activity and reduce obesity in young people.

    Effects of a lifestyle intervention on quality of life, body mass/composition and cardiovascular risk in patients being treated for obstructive sleep apnoea

    An Integrated Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive-Behavioural Intervention for Physical Activity Maintenance

    An exploration of childhood obesity treatment interventions to enhance their long-term effectiveness.

  • Media

    Psychologist Rob's research focuses on designing and evaluating physical activity and behaviour change interventions in public health, specifically obesity and childhood obesity. He has worked within a wide range of sports including cycling (mountain biking), professional golf, football, tennis and snooker. He also has expertise in work-placed/corporate wellness, exercise referral systems and phase IV cardiac rehabilitation.

Share this page

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?