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Simon Cooper

Simon Cooper

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Staff Group(s)


Dr Cooper is an Associate Professor in Exercise, Cognition and Health at Nottingham Trent University. His research focuses primarily on the effects of physical activity on cognitive function and cardiometabolic health in young people, alongside more broad research interests examining injury and illness surveillance in elite sport and optimising team sport performance. Dr Cooper primarily teaches exercise and health physiology, and is module leader for Exercise Testing and Prescription or Health. Dr Cooper is also Admissions Tutor for the Department of Sport Science, handling admissions for the four sport science related undergraduate degree programmes.

Career overview

Dr Cooper completed a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science (2008) and PhD (2011) at Loughborough University, before joining NTU as a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology in 2011. Dr Cooper was subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016 and Associate Professor in 2019.

Research areas

Dr Cooper is a member of the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) Research Group. His research interests include:

  • The factors affecting cognitive function in young people across the school morning, with a focus on the role of physical activity. Work is continuing to examine the optimum modality, intensity and duration of exercise to optimise cognition in young people
  • The effects of physical activity on cardiometabolic health in young people
  • Exercise in the heat and neuromuscular and cognitive function
  • The reciprocal relationship between self-control and physical activity/exercise performance
  • Injury and illness surveillance and monitoring in elite sport
  • More broadly, the effect of team games on young athletes.

Students recently supervised to PhD completion include:

  • Daniel Martin (2013-2018). The effect of reproductive hormones and energy availability on muscle function, cognition and bone metabolism in females
  • Rachel Malcolm (2013-2018). The effect of heat exposure and intermittent exercise on neuromuscular and cognitive function
  • Karah Dring (2015-2020). The effect of exercise on cardiometabolic health in young people
  • Ben Cousins (2016-2020). Examining the demands and load of elite Rugby Union: influence on time-loss incidence occurrence and severity.
  • Ryan Williams (2017-2021). The influence of team games on cardiometabolic health and cognitive function in young people.

Opportunities to carry out postgraduate research towards an MPhil / PhD are available in the areas identified above. Further information may be obtained from the NTU Doctoral School.

External activity

Dr Cooper is currently guest editor for a special issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, entitled 'Effect of physical activity and physical fitness on cognitive function in young people'. Dr Cooper is also a guest editor for Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and Frontiers in Nutrition.

Professional affiliations:

Reviewer activity:

Dr Cooper has reviewed for a wide range of sport science (and related) journals, spanning his research interests. Dr Cooper has also acted as a grant reviewer for the British Heart Foundation and The Waterloo Foundation.

Other external activity:

Dr Cooper has acted as a consultant for a number of external organisations, including BBC Supermovers.


Dr Cooper is keen to combine his expertise and experiences in sport science with his passion for cricket, particularly cricket officiating. Any opportunities to work in this domain are very welcome.

Sponsors and collaborators

Dr Cooper collaborates with a number of external organisations, including on funded projects. Some examples of collaborating organisations include:

  • The Football Association (FA)
  • The Waterloo Foundation
  • The John van Geest Cancer Research Centre
  • London Irish Rugby Football Club
  • Nottingham City Council Childhood Obesity Working Group
  • Small Steps Big Change (SSBC)
  • The Daily Mile Foundation
  • Youth Sport Trust


Selected Recent Publications:

HUNTE, R., COOPER, S.B., TAYLOR, I.M., NEVILL, M.E. and BOAT, R., 2021. The mechanisms underpinning the effects of self-control exertion on subsequent physical performance: a meta-analysis. International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. ISSN 1750-984X

HATCH, L.M., DRING, K.J., WILLIAMS, R.A., SUNDERLAND, C., NEVILL, M.E. and COOPER, S.B., 2021. Effect of differing durations of high-intensity intermittent activity on cognitive function in adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18 (21): 11594. ISSN 1661-7827

HATCH, L.M., WILLIAMS, R.A., DRING, K.J., SUNDERLAND, C., NEVILL, M.E., SARKAR, M., MORRIS, J.G. and COOPER, S.B., 2021. The Daily Mile™: acute effects on children’s cognitive function and factors affecting their enjoyment. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 57: 102047. ISSN 1469-0292

COUSINS, B.E.W., MORRIS, J.G., SUNDERLAND, C., BENNETT, A.M., SHAHTAHMASSEBI, G. and COOPER, S.B., 2021. Synthetic playing surfaces increase the incidence of match injuries in an elite Rugby Union team. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. ISSN 1440-2440

MALCOLM, R., COOPER, S., FOLLAND, J., HANNAH, R., TYLER, C. and SUNDERLAND, C., 2021. Reliability of transcranial magnetic stimulation measurements of maximum activation of the knee extensors in young adult males. Human Movement Science, 78: 102828. ISSN 0167-9457

BOAT, R., SUNDERLAND, C. and COOPER, S.B., 2021. Detrimental effects of prior self‐control exertion on subsequent sporting skill performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. ISSN 0905-7188

HATCH, L.M., WILLIAMS, R.A., DRING, K.J., SUNDERLAND, C., NEVILL, M.E. and COOPER, S.B., 2021. Activity patterns of primary school children during participation in The Daily Mile. Scientific Reports, 11: 7462. ISSN 2045-2322

MARTIN, D., COOPER, S., TANG, J.C.Y., FRASER, W.D., SALE, C. and ELLIOTT-SALE, K.J., 2021. Bone metabolic marker concentrations across the menstrual cycle and phases of combined oral contraceptive use. Bone, 145: 115864. ISSN 8756-3282

BOAT, R., WILLIAMSON, O., READ, J., JEONG, Y.H. and COOPER, S.B., 2021. Self-control exertion and caffeine mouth rinsing: effects on cycling time-trial performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 53: 101877. ISSN 1469-0292

WILLIAMS, R.A., COOPER, S., DRING, K.J., HATCH, L., MORRIS, J.G., SUNDERLAND, C. and NEVILL, M.E., 2021. Effect of acute football activity and physical fitness on glycaemic and insulinaemic responses in adolescents. Journal of Sports Sciences. ISSN 0264-0414

SPROUSE, B., ALTY, J., KEMP, S., COWIE, C., MEHTA, R., TANG, A., MORRIS, J., COOPER, S. and VARLEY, I., 2020. The Football Association Injury and Illness Surveillance Study: the incidence, burden and severity of injuries and illness in men’s and women’s international football. Sports Medicine. ISSN 0112-1642

For a full list, please click below.

See all of Simon Cooper's publications...

Press expertise

    Physical activity and cognitive function in young people
    Physical activity and cardiometabolic health in young people