Science & Research

All scientific research that takes place at the Sports Science Institute of SA, is led by the University of Cape Town Division of 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). The three core activities conducted by ESSM are teaching, research and knowledge dissemination and translation.



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 the University of Cape Town.



Together the staff and students are responsible for approximately 80 research projects at any one time, broadly categorized into three streams:

  • Health, well-being and chronic disease
  • Injuries and medical conditions associated with sport and exercise
  • Sports performance

What ESSM prides itself on most – is the fact that its 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

A key activity at ESSM is to disseminate knowledge and to translate research into practice. The relationship between ESSM and the Sports Science Institute of SA is one such channel enabling this to occur and it ensures that the research and knowledge emanating from ESSM is relevant and practical. ESSM also works and engages directly with relevant stakeholders and end-users of their research to further ensure that their research and knowledge contributes to improving society.