The Centre for Developing Athletes 

Edinburgh Napier University goes beyond the game. Our Centre for Developing Athletes brings together programmes and partnerships that: 
  • Support the development of young sporting talent
  • Help athletes to study while competing through our Dual Careers programme 
  • Develop coaches - from volunteer entrants to postgraduate level study for professional coaches
  • Provide flexible study routes to turn a sporting passion into a post-competition career

Our facilities include a Biomechanics Lab, Physiology Lab with a climate and altitude chamber, and a Human Performance Lab and our academic staff includes specialists in exercise physiology, biomechanics and sports psychology.

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Developing Talent

Our Partners


Study While Competing

Dual Career Path


Developing Talent

We want to see more people engaged in physical activity and can support anyone in growing their potential. 
Our ethos is that #everybodycan. If you’re active then you’re an athlete. It doesn’t matter if you walk, run, cycle or dance. 

Athletes are not just the ones on the podium, they include anyone who uses their body to stay active, in whatever form that takes.

Our facilities can be hired by individual athletes, NGB, clubs or sponsors. Our staff can also help develop training and development plans to enhance performance.

Our Partners

American Football
We partner with BAFA and BAFCA to be the Scottish provider for coach education courses.

We partner with Scottish Cricket to host the Scottish Cricket Performance Academy at Sighthill.

We are working with several professional clubs in Scotland to support players as they develop skills for a career after they finish playing.

We are the biomechanics partner for the R&A, the governing body of golf for most of the world.

We partner with Scottish Gymnastics, and the Scottish Rugby Union, to provide bespoke coaching qualifications to develop their coaches. Our first cohort of rugby coaches graduated in 2017 with a UKCC Level 4 qualification as well as a PG Diploma in Sports Performance Enhancement which is accredited by Sports Coach UK. 

Our Scottish Gymnastics coaches have focused on gaining PG Diplomas, following a similar route to the SRU coaches, experiencing sport-specific teaching and following a personalised learning pathway specific to their development needs.

We are home to the Edinburgh-based Fosroc Rugby Academy in partnership with Scottish Rugby. The academy is one of four in Scotland, and gives talented female and male rugby players access to personalised training and development from the ages of 14-19. 

Being on our campus means the developing players get access to the same facilities as our students and can base themselves in the student environment. That gives them the insight to see if they want to develop their knowledge off the field as well as on it through our Dual Career programme. It supports those wanting to study even as they compete at the highest level.

Our commitment to developing athletes benefits both our students and Scottish Rugby’s most promising talent, as students on our sport and exercise science degree collaborate with the players on their academic projects.

Through our partnership with both Scottish Gymnastics and Scottish Rugby, coaches can study one module per trimester for two years, including work-based learning, leadership and organisational management and performance development and expertise. In their last trimester, they pick an independent study module based on a real-life problem they are facing as a coach, to personalise their learning to the specific areas they need to target. On successful completion, coaches can finish with a PG Diploma in Sports Performance Enhancement, accredited by Sports Coach UK, or gain a PG Diploma.

Developing athletes off the field as well as on it


We work with a variety of athletes, from long-distance runners and mountain bikers to Ironman competitors, applying our knowledge and equipment to improve their performance and provide tailored advice.

Study While Competing

Are you an elite athlete? Have you thought about developing your skills beyond the arena?

Our BA (Hons) Business & Enterprise in Sport degree was created specifically for elite athletes or coaching staff working within the elite sport environment. 

It’s part-time, flexible, and distance learning, so you can keep up no matter where in the world you are training or competing. Examples of modules you will study include:
  • Introduction to Sport and Business Psychology
  • Creativity, innovation and Enterprise
  • Leadership and Funding in Sport
  • Stress Performance and Behaviour
  • Direct and Digital Marketing

Your experience and skills will vary depending on your sport, so we encourage you to personalise your learning so you can graduate with a qualification that is valuable to your specific interests and future. We include work-based learning modules, so you are applying your learning directly to your training and competition.

Dual Career path

We understand the challenge of combining competitive sport and academic studies when you want to succeed in both. Our Dual Career Policy for Athletes and Coaches provides for flexibility around an individual student’s pattern of study or assessment, as necessary from time to time, to enable them to prepare for, compete in, or coach at major events. 

Train and gain
As a member of the Centre for Developing Athletes you will have access to a range of benefits including:
  • Flexibility in your studies to meet your training and competition commitments
  • Access to a Dual Career Academic Tutor
  • ENGAGE membership, including use of our high performance gym and exercise classes
  • Tailored strength and conditioning programme and support
  • Free regular health checks and bespoke fitness consultations 
  • Access to sport science support, including our labs for exercise physiology, biomechanics and injury prevention
  • Promotional opportunities through the University media


Application for membership of the Centre for Developing Athletes is made in advance of the start of each academic year and is considered by the University on a case by case basis.

We have students from a broad range of sports – including kayaking, karate and curling – enrolled on degrees from Sport and Exercise Science to Sports Coaching, by way of Mechanical Engineering, MBAs and Software Engineering. 


We develop young talent, coaches and elite athletes but our core belief is that everybody can be an athlete… they’re not just the ones on the podium, they’re anyone who uses their body to stay active in whatever form that takes.