Student & ECR Spotlight – Dr Cain Clark on harnessing data analytics in sport, exercise and life sciences

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).

BSc (1st class) Hons, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, U.K. (2009-2012)

MSc by research, Exercise Physiology (Oxygen Uptake Kinetics), University of Gloucestershire, U.K. (2012-2013)

PhD, Physical Activity Data Analytics, Swansea University, U.K. (2013-2016)

PGCHE, Distinction, University of the West of England, U.K. (2017-2018)

Lecturer, Sport and Exercise Physiology, Hartpury University, U.K. (2016-2018)

Research fellow, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, Coventry University, U.K. (2018 – present)


How would you briefly describe your current research/job to someone who is not familiar with your field of study/work? What is your main research interest?

My research interests revolve around the analysis and processing of data, the application of novel analytical techniques, and meta-analytics. I am very lucky to work as a research fellow at Coventry University, in the Faculty Research Centre of Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences, where I work to apply my research interests to sport, exercise and life sciences, with a particular emphasis on physical activity.


What are the main barriers you encounter/experience when conducting research, or what information/skills do you lack to conduct high quality research?

For me, there seems to be two main barriers. Firstly, access to schools and children to participate in studies represents a major challenge, especially given the already immense demands placed on schools and children. Second, my computer! Much of my work requires a variety of statistical and data processing/visualization software, which often come with expensive price tags and steep learning curves. Incidentally, I have found that both of these barriers can be helped by talking to fellow ECR’s, and to more senior colleagues.


What could help you as a student/ECR to further develop/grow in your current position?

Networking and conference attendance have had the greatest impact on my career thus far, and I truly believe travelling and presenting work nationally and internationally, to conferences like ISBNPA, learning and engaging with world leaders from different countries, and exchanging ideas and experiences with fellow NESI’s will facilitate continued growth and development.


What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition and/or physical activity field?

I believe the next most important development will be the widespread integration of emerging technologies and sophisticated analytical methods into physical activity analyses, which will permit greater insight into the compositional and complex nature of physical behaviors, with greater accuracy, reliability and ubiquity.




You can get in touch with Cain via email [email protected] or follow his work on Twitter: @DrCainCTClark