About ESSM

Much of the science and research which takes place at the SSISA is led by the UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM). ESSM is a postgraduate teaching and research unit within the Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, at the University of Cape Town (UCT). ESSM is also an extramural research unit of the South African Medical Research Council (MRC). The two core activities at ESSM are teaching and research.


Students at ESSM are enrolled in postgraduate (Honours, Masters or PhD) degrees in Biokinetics, Exercise Science, Sport and Exercise Medicine and other Biological Sciences. In addition, the staff at ESSM also teach on the Medicine, Sports Physiotherapy, Sports Management and Physiology courses offered by UCT.


Research is a major focus for ESSM. Together the staff and students are responsible for approximately 60 research projects at any one time, broadly categorized into three streams: (1) Health, well-being and chronic disease, (2) Injuries and medical conditions associated with sport and exercise, and (3) Sports performance. Perhaps what ESSM prides itself on most is the fact that it’s research is multi-disciplinary in nature. As such, within each of these three streams, the researchers draw on skills and techniques from the basic and applied biological sciences, epidemiology, medicine, nutrition, public health, engineering, education and social science. 

Knowledge dissemination and translation

One of the key strategies at ESSM is to disseminate knowledge and to translate research into practice. The relationship between ESSM and SSISA is one such channel for this to take place and ensures that the research and knowledge emanating from ESSM is relevant and practical. To further ensure that the research and knowledge from ESSM contributes to improving society, ESSM works and engages directly with the relevant stakeholders and end-users of their research.


To find out more about courses offered or research underway at ESSM, please follow the link below: 


Walking can be first rate exercise By Kathleen Mc Quaide-Little