Dr Deirdre Harrington

Senior Lecturer

Physical Activity for Health


Personal statement

I am an experienced academic with a demonstrated history of working in multi-disciplinary teams in higher education in Ireland, the US and England.

I play a key academic role in achieving the goals of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) and contribute to its success within the University of Strathclyde.

I oversee the development and delivery of research and teaching within the School of Psychological Sciences and Health. I am responsible for securing external research funding, teaching at Undergraduate level, supervision of PhD students and the delivery of meaningful knowledge exchange and community engagement/involvement.

I am increasingly concerned about health inequalities and how my research does, or does not, address or impact them. I am trying to be reflexive about issues related to my assumptions and preconceptions as a researcher.


  • New staff member (since Jan 2021) at University of Strathclyde, energised by delving straight into undergrad teaching and supervision and developing new research and stakeholder links in Scotland.
  • Media friendly. As heard monthly on BBC Radio Leicester Table Talk and seen on ITV Central and BBC East Midlands.


  • Academic lead of the Cities Changing Diabetes global programme in Leicester. I developed the work in collaboration with academic, local government, community and industry stakeholders and partners.
  • Chair of Ireland's Report Card for Physical Activity in Children and Youth 2013, member of the working group for 2015 and 2021 Report Cards.

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Physical activity levels during school recess in a nationally representative sample of 10-11-year-olds
Wong Lan Sum, Reilly John J, McCrorie Paul, Harrington Deirdre M
Pediatric Exercise Science, pp. 1-7 (2023)
Standard Operating Procedure : Recruitment and Data Collection in the Field for 'From Bike Bus to Bike Use' Project
Harrington Deirdre
Association between chronotype and physical behaviours in adolescent girls
Plekhanova Tatiana, Crawley Emily, Davies Melanie J, Gorely Trish, Harrington Deirdre M, Ioannidou Ekaterini, Khunti Kamlesh, Rowlands Alex V, Sherar Lauren B, Yates Tom, Edwardson Charlotte L, Şahin Fatma Neşe
Children Vol 10 (2023)
"Is everybody comfortable?" Thinking through co-design approaches to better support girls' physical activity in schools
O'Reilly Michelle, Wiltshire Gareth, Kiyimba Nikki, Harrington Deirdre
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health Vol 15, pp. 248-263 (2023)
Moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity during school hours in a representative sample of 10–11-year-olds in Scotland
Wong Lan Sum, Reilly John J, McCrorie Paul, Harrington Deirdre M
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport Vol 26, pp. 120-124 (2023)
A qualitative study of adults who switched to active commuting during the COVID-19 lockdowns
Mitchell Adam, Mitchell Fiona, Harrington Deirdre
Journal of Sport Sciences Vol 40, pp. 1-39 (2022)

More publications

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Currently teaching at undergraduate level on the B.Sc. in Sport and Physical Activity.

I taught at Masters level (M.Sc. in Diabetes Medicine, University of Leicester).

I have also delivered practical professional development sessions to healthcare professionals.

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Research Interests

I have worked on the global research platform for 15 years. My research interests have evolved over this time and can be summarised into three themes:

  • Prevention of ill-health in the clinical and public health areas of physical activity, obesity, type 2 diabetes.
  • Design, evaluation and implementation of school, family and community-based programmes.
  • Uniting stakeholders including public health, local authority and key community groups and organisations (e.g. professional sports clubs, faith centres) with academics in tackling prevalent health challenges.

Current topics I am moving forward with include:

  • Physical activity and related health behaviour (sleep, screen time, obesity) interventions in pre-schoolers and their families.
  • Transport behaviours - sustainable transport (walk, cycle, public transport) and private car use in COVID times. Changes in behaviours, attitudes, benefits for the individual and cities, the future for walking/cycling as transport.
  • The outsourcing of PE, physical activity and health promotion to professional sports clubs in schools and the community.
  • The future of school-based physical activity research in the COVID-19 recovery. How have PhD students and early career researchers been affected by school closures?

Do get in touch if you are interested in collaborating on these topics.

Professional Activities

External Grant Reviewer - Carnegie Trust
RSE Saltire award bilateral research workshops
Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health research institute, Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Visiting researcher
Scottish-Finnish Health Promotion Network
BMJ Open (Journal)
Peer reviewer
British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

More professional activities


From Bike Bus to Bike Use
Harrington, Deirdre (Principal Investigator)
04-Jan-2023 - 06-Jan-2024
Human Behaviour Change as an Engineering Intervention
Harrington, Deirdre (Academic) MacKinnon, Calum (Academic)
A Lunch and Learn presentation to Electrical Engineers at the University of Strathclyde about the human component of making energy saving decisions
Scottish Funding Council - Interface Innovation Voucher - Nutrition Scotland
Harrington, Deirdre (Principal Investigator) Kirk, Alison (Principal Investigator) Mavroeidi, Alexandra (Co-investigator) Russell, Eilidh (Researcher)
Knowledge exchange/consultancy with Nutrition Scotland (£4,919) to develop novel prevention products for carers of those at risk of type 2 diabetes
31-Jan-2022 - 30-Jan-2022
Development of a Core Outcome Set for school-based childhood obesity interventions: an international consensus study.
Harrington, Deirdre (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2022
Links between sport and physical activity with climate change and sustainability
Harrington, Deirdre (Co-investigator) McMichan, Lauren (Co-investigator)
A number of activities are taking place within the Physical Activity for Health Group as we reflect on how our research, teaching and knowledge exchange links to climate change and the SDGs.
Initial activities include:
- Development of a news story on how the PAH research supports the achievement of a number of SDGs.
- Creation of an infographic summarising links between sport, physical activity and climate change.
- Planning for the embedding of climate change and sustainability messages into our Sport and Physical Activity B.Sc.
NIHR Global Health Research Group on collaborative care for cardiometabolic disease in Africa
Harrington, Deirdre (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2024

More projects

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Dr Deirdre Harrington
Senior Lecturer
Physical Activity for Health

Email: deirdre.harrington@strath.ac.uk
Tel: Unlisted