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Personal profile

Research interests

Ashley Cooper is Professor of Physical Activity and Public Health. He was head of the Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences between 1/1/05-31/12/07 and 1/1/12-31/12/15, and lead for the “Sedentary Behaviour and Type 2 diabetes” theme in the NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle between 1/1/12-31/3/17. He is now semi-retired.

Studies investigated how the physical environment may influence children’s activity behaviour, including PEACH (Personal and Environmental Associations with Children’s Health), and he was one of the lead researchers in establishing the International Children’s Accelerometer Database (ICAD). He has also been involved in a number of physical activity intervention trials including Early-ACTID, a major randomised clinical trial of physical activity and dietary modification in the management of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes in adults. This work has contributed to the establishment of Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle at Bristol, where he leads the “Sedentary Behaviour and Type 2 Diabetes” research theme. His recent work investigates the environmental influences on physical activity using accelerometers and GPS receivers, and he has a long-term interest in the contribution that active travel can make to children and adults physical activity and fitness.

Current Research Grants

National Institute for Health Research. “Bristol Biomedical Research Centre”. 5 years. £21,000,000. 1/4/17-31/3/22. Co-applicant “Metabolic control in Type 2 diabetes”.


Medical Research Council (National Prevention Research Initiative Phase 4). MR/J000345/1. “Will moving into social and affordable housing in the Athletes' Village increase family physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment” 3.5 years. £684,981. 1st June 2012-1st December 2014. Dr C Owen (St George's University of London (SGUL), Prof P Whincup (SGUL), Prof D Cook (SGUL), Dr A Ellaway (University of Glasgow), Prof B Giles-Corti (University of Western Australia), Dr A Rudnicka (SGUL), Prof A Cooper.

ESRC. ES/J003492/1. “Physical activity and wellbeing in schools” 2 years. £773,234. 1st April 2012-31st March 2014. Prof P Tymms (Durham), Prof S Curtis (Durham), Prof J Elliot (Durham), Prof C Summerbell (Durham), Prof A Cooper, Dr P Tiffin (Durham), Dr S Bock (Durham), Dr C Dunn (Durham).

National Institute for Health Research (PHR). 10/3001/04 “Employer schemes to encourage walking to work: feasibility study incorporating an exploratory randomised controlled trial”. 27 months. 1st Oct 2011-31st Dec 2013. £286,000. Dr S Audrey, Prof R Campbell, Prof N Mutrie (Strathclyde), Dr A Cooper, Dr R Kipping, Dr A Davis, Dr W Hollingworth, Dr S Brookes, Mr P Insall.

National Institute for Health Research. “Biomedical Research Unit in Nutrition, Diet and Lifestyle”. 5 years. £4,500,000. 1st April 2012-31st March 2017. Prof A Ness (PI), Prof A Cooper, Prof R Martin, Prof JPH Shield.

Medical Research Council (National Prevention Research Initiative Phase 4). MR/J000191/1. “Action330: Promoting children's physical activity via enhanced after-school leadership”. Start April 2012 for 29 months. £392,242. Dr R Jago (PI), Prof A Cooper, .......

National Institute for Health Research - RfPB Programme. “ACTID Follow up: A 3 year follow up of patients who took part in the Early ACTID study.” Sept 2011- August 2014. £249,585. Dr RC Andrews (PI), Dr A Cooper, Dr CM Dayan, Prof T Peters, Dr AA Montgomery and Prof D Sharp.

EU 7th framework . "I.Family: Determinants of eating behaviour in European children, adolescents and their parents". €9M. Led by University of Bremen. 5 years from March 2012. Co-investigator for Bristol work package"Physical activity and the environment" (€440,000). Dr A Page (PI), Dr A Cooper.

Medical Research Council. "Physical Environment and Activity Relationships in Adolescents: the PEAR project". 3 years. 1/3/11. £798,304. Dr A Page (PI), Dr A Cooper, Prof L Moore (Cardiff), Dr S Cummins (St Mary's London), Dr A Jones (UEA).

World Cancer Research Fund. “PEACH: Personal and Environmental Determinants of Children’s Health”. 3.5 years. £246,051. 1/11/10-30/4/14. Dr A Cooper (PI), Dr. A Page, Dr R Jago, Prof J Thompson, Dr R Andrews, Dr A Jones (UEA).

EPSRC. “iConnect: Measuring and evaluating the transport, physical activity and carbon impacts of Sustrans Connect 2 programme.” 5 years from June 2008. £2,293,909. Prof J Preston (U. Southampton; PI), Dr A Cooper, Dr J Powell (UWE), Prof F Bull (U. Loughborough), Prof N Mutrie (U. Strathclyde), Dr D Ogilvie (U. Cambridge), Dr H Rutter (U. Oxford), Dr C Brand (U. Oxford).

Medical Research Council (National Prevention Research Initiative Phase 2). “Pooling of children’s physical activity data.” 2 years from June 2008. £296,000. Prof C Riddoch (U. Bath; PI), Dr A Cooper, Dr U Ekelund (U. Cambridge), Prof K Judge (U. Bath).

Diabetes UK. “Completion of Early ACTID, A randomised controlled trial of the benefits of exercise early in the management of Type 2 diabetes.” 1 year from May 2008. £238,826. Dr R Andrews (PI), Dr A Cooper, Dr C Dayan, Prof. D Sharp, Prof. T Peters, Dr A Montgomery.

World Cancer Research Fund. “Personal and Environmental Determinants of Eating Behaviours and Obesity in Adolescents (PEACHEB)”. 1/11/07-31/10/10. PI.

US National Institutes of Health. “Physical activity and childhood obesity”. 1/8/07-31/8/11. Co-applicant. (PI Prof. C. Riddoch, Bath University)

National Institutes for Health Research - RfPB Programme. “REDUCE: Development of a Cognitive-Behavioural Intervention to Reduce the Risk of Re-ulceration in Patients with Diabetes”. 1/10/07-30/9/09. Co-applicant. (PI, K. Vedhara, Social Medicine).

Department of Health. “A feasibility study to develop and test the potential effectiveness of a peer-led intervention to increase physical activity and healthy eating in adolescence”. 1/9/07-31/8/09. Co-applicant. (PI, Prof. R. Campbell, Social Medicine).

Medical Research Council (National Prevention Research Initiative). “Environmental determinants of physical activity and obesity in adolescents”. 1/5/06-30/4/09. P.I.


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