Cutting-Edge Facilities and Services

Our university is home to the prestigious Human Performance Unit, boasting state-of-the-art labs and facilities. Here, our student athletes have access to world-class sports testing and coaching services, ensuring they can achieve peak performance.

Human Performance Unit field testing University of Essex Performance Sport Athletes

Personalized Support for Peak Performance

Through termly fitness testing sessions, our performance teams receive personalised support from the HPU. Athletes' progress is meticulously tracked, allowing coaches and support staff to tailor and implement specific training throughout the season, ensuring performance improvements.

Real-World Experience and Career Opportunities

Led by experienced professionals like Dr Kelly Murray (HPU Manager and Lecturer within our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences) the HPU provides invaluable real-world experience and opportunities for students in a professional sport science setting. Working alongside our performance athletes and professional sports teams, students not only enhance their CVs but also prepare themselves for successful careers in the field.

“Our staff are proud to be supporting the development of the University of Essex sports teams and athletes. For our student staff on placement at the HPU, to be able to discuss and demonstrate to future employers that they have provided ongoing sports science support to high performing athletes across the season certainly puts them in a fantastic position to secure employment in the sports science, coaching and fitness industries.”

Example experiences

  • Conducting professional standard VO2 max and lactate threshold testing with local amateur and elite endurance athletes
  • Conducting VO2 max and lactate threshold testing with Tofauti Everyone Active (junior cycling team who are a talent pathway for the pro tour Team dsm-firmenich Post NL)
  • Providing strength and power testing with local professional football club Colchester United, for players rehabilitating from injury and will also be conducting their preseason testing this June
  • Supporting data collection for research projects including: biomechanics in our new instrumented treadmill lab that includes ground force data whilst running and 3D motion capture of running gait and recovery intervention utilising blood flow restriction techniques
  • Supporting an exhibition at the Norwich Science Festival with SRES colleagues on the science of drumming

Frontrunner opportunities 

The University’s paid internship scheme offers a day of work each week throughout spring term. One of our student-athletes jumped at the opportunity to join HPU to gain work experience in a field she is passionate about, as well as develop her skills and understanding of how her future career would align to benefit athlete performance. She recommends the experience to sharpen your skills and gain a better understanding of what you might want to do in the future. 

Womens football performance sport student athlete Shanie Marion validating Frontrunners work experience at the Human Performance Unit at University of Essex

Shanie Marion

“I am currently doing my Master in Sport and Exercise Psychology, but before that, I did my undergraduate in the United States in Allied Health concentration Human and Sport Performance. It is similar to sport science. I had learned a lot about physical tests and knowledge used in sport sciences, but I had never put it into practice. It was something that I wanted to experience as it would allow me to further understand the role of sport science in high performance sports. 

Being part of the first women’s performance football team, I had done some testing as an athlete with the Human Performance Unit. This was my first contact with the team, I enjoyed the testing, and it got my interest.

When I heard there was an opportunity to get a frontrunner position with the Human Performance Unit, I jumped at the chance. I really wanted to experience what it was like to be part of a high-performance team and be able to help athletes reach their maximum potential!

Being part of the HPU was a great experience because I got to help with VO2 Max testing, assist in the school session, and analyse data. It was an experience that really helped me put my knowledge into practice.

My goal is to become a sport psychologist which means that I will likely have to work with sport scientists. This experience helped me understand their role and I am confident that it will help me collaborate with them more effectively, as I will have some understanding of what they do and the challenges that they might face as well.”


Discover how our Performance Sport programme at Essex can support your overall development.

Follow our student athletes’ journey on Instagram @uniessexperform

Sports scholarships and bursaries

We are committed to supporting and developing high performance athletes. Find out whether you could be eligible for a sports scholarship or bursary, plus a range of additional benefits too when you join the University of Essex.