Student & ECR Spotlight – Lukas Rubin, an academic fellow aiming to research and promote physical activity and physical fitness in young people

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

I graduated from the Technical University of Liberec, in bachelor and later in master study programs focused on teaching Physical Education and Geography. During the study, I solved several student projects on the topic of physical fitness, so I decided to continue in this field. I finished a PhD study in Kinanthropology at the Palacký University Olomouc. I was lucky because my supervisor was Professor Josef Mitas and my doctoral thesis was part of IPEN Adolescent research, prestigious international project led by Professor Jim Sallis aiming on investigation of associations between the physical activity and the built environment in young population.

Currently, I am back in Liberec at the Department of Physical Education and Sport where I teach a number of study courses and also guarantee the study program Sport for Healthy Lifestyle. I also remain in Olomouc at the Institute of Active Lifestyle as a researcher. 

What is your main research interest?

During the PhD, it was more about examining physical activity and physical fitness in different types of built environment. I could apply my kinanthropological and geographical knowledge from undergraduate study in this work. Last two or three years, I am more involved in the specific field of 24-hour movement behaviors monitoring (physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep).

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

Fortunately, almost all phases of the research (preparing research methods, conducting statistical analyses, writing publications etc.) are not problematic because I have well-educated colleagues around me. I have to say that I am proud to be a part of our research team.

But to answer the question, I don’t think I will be alone when I say that recruitment of participants to research is the most challenging part. I also feel that my language skills should be improved to publish in high quality journals.

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

I am trying to benefit for my work from many smaller or bigger opportunities. Among them, the most important thing is without discussion the networking like consultations with mentors, discussions with colleagues, participation at conferences, completing internships etc. I am very glad and grateful that I experienced internships at the Valdosta State University and the University of Southern Denmark. Both internships pushed me tremendously forward, not only in professionally point of view, but personally as well. 

Unfortunately, networking is very difficult in these times so I wish all of us (especially young researchers) that this coronavirus period will end soon…

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

In my opinion, the next most important step will be the effort to strengthen interdisciplinary teams. By this, I mean connecting experts not only from various research fields, but also bringing together researchers, policymakers, practitioners etc. This can significantly help to transfer all of the acquired knowledge to the real life.

If you’d like to get in touch with Lukas, you can do so via email [email protected] / [email protected]