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Declan Ryan is an Associate Professor in Physical Activity and Health. His area of research focusses on public health approaches to physical activity promotion.

Get Research Support:

Declan and his team offer research support to external organisations who are using physical activity to improve health. They can support with:

  1. Evaluation of funded programmes, interventions, or strategies
  2. Developing evaluation frameworks
  3. Providing evidence reviews

If your organisation would benefit from research support from Declan's team, then please contact him by email.

Case Studies - Declan's current research portfolio is broken down into three areas:

Greenspaces: Declan has explored approaches to promote physical activity within public parks, such as green social prescribing and wayfinding interventions. His team offers evaluations of greenspace interventions and community programmes. For example, Declan and colleagues evaluated Delapré Abbey's Wellbeing Hub programme, which was funded by Arts Council England and the National Academy of Social Prescribing's Thriving Communities programme. Furthermore, his team has carried out observations of park footfall and intercept surveys as part of natural experimental studies to determine the effectiveness of Department for Transport funded upgrades to park footpaths.

Declan is the co-founder of the Active Quarter, a collective of land managers and owners aiming to enhance the use of local greenspaces as a Public Health asset. Declan and his team provide evidence and insight to the partnership to facilitate their decision-making. The partnership received recognition and support from West Northamptonshire Council, who resolved the Active Quarter Cabinet Paper in January 2023. 

Holiday Activities and Food Programme: Since 2021, Declan and his team have evaluated the summer six-week implementation of the Government funded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme within Northamptonshire. From October 2024, Declan and his PhD candidate, Alex Turtle, will focus on the implementation of Nutritional Education within the HAF Northants programme. They'll be working with the funder, Northamptonshire Sport, Holiday Club Providers, Parents, and Children to develop solutions to improve the quality and consistency of nutritional education delivery across HAF Northants. 

Public Health Partnerships: Declan has worked with several health and care organisations to deliver partnership workshops for county-wide strategy development and evaluation. Notably, Declan worked with Integrated Care Northamptonshire to co-develop a logic model of the change to achieve the aims of their new Research and Innovation Strategy. The workshop was attended by 50 partners from the health and care sector in Northamptonshire who shared their voice on what outputs, activities, and resources were needed to meet the aims of the new strategy. Furthermore, Declan has held partnership events with West and North Northamptonshire Public Health to facilitate collaborative working between officers and academics, as well as evaluation framework workshops with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough OPCC for their new Serious Violence Duty Strategy. 

Secondment to the Institute of Public Safety, Crime and Justice: Between February and July 2024, Declan will provide a public health approach to evaluations within the IPSCJ team at the University of Northampton. Their work mainly supports police and crime commissioners and local authorities to evaluate their crime prevention interventions.

Representation on Groups and Boards

  • Advisor - HAF-DEFINE Advisory Group. National evaluation of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, led by the University of Bristol and funded by NIHR.
  • Member - Northamptonshire Physical Activity Network.
  • Member - Integrated Care Northamptonshire Research Operational Committee.
  • Member - Northampton Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan Stakeholder Workshops.

PhD Supervision:

  • Brett Baxter - Eccentric training in older adults.
  • Alex Turtle - Implementing nutritional education into HAF Northants.

Although Declan cannot Director of Studies, he is open to supervision requests.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The modulatory effects of sedentary behaviour and physical activity on older adults' cardiovascular/metabolic profiles, Manchester Metropolitan University

16 Oct 20151 May 2018

Award Date: 1 May 2018

Bachelor, Exercise and Sports Science

16 Sept 201117 Jun 2015

Award Date: 17 Jun 2015


  • QP Physiology
  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
  • QM Human anatomy


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