Deirdre Brennan


Deirdre BrennanAn in-depth look at social responsibility Deirdre Brennan will be lecturing on “The role of Higher Education in the development of social responsibility, widening access and community engagement – lessons learned from Ulster Sports Outreach”.

Deirdre Brennan is Professor of Physical Education and Sport in the School of Sport at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. She is founder and Director of the award winning Ulster Sports Outreach unit (USO) a strategic initiative of Ulster University designed to widen access to sport and physical activity to young people in areas of greatest disadvantage and develop the practical and professional skills of aspiring teachers. The unit offers researched informed, community engaged sport and physical activity programmes to young people in schools and communities across Ireland delivered by a student volunteer work force. One of these programmes, Sport for LIFE ( is a twelve week physical activity and health intervention recognised by the World Health Organisation and Schools for Health in Europe as best practice in the promotion of physical activity to marginalised groups. It is calculated that Ulster Sports Outreach has contributed over two million pounds to the sport and leisure industry of Northern Ireland over the past 4 years. It is the only unit in Northern Ireland to hold the ‘Inspired by’ award from London 2012 Legacy Unit and is shortlisted for a 2014 Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community.

Dr. Brennan is also co-founder of the Sport Changes Life Foundation (SCLF) ( a charity designed to raise the aspirations of young people at risk using sporting excellence, academic achievement and personal development. She is author of ‘eHoops’ a programme using sport to target those not in education, employment or training (NEET’s) that was one of only four shortlisted as ‘Best New Project’ in 2014 by Beyond Sport. She is also co- founder of All Island All Active (AIAA) a unique all-Island multi-sectorial body with an all island focus on specifically addressing physical inactivity in disadvantaged and marginalised groups across the lifespan. Dr. Brennan is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the recipient of both a Distinguished Teaching Award for excellence in teaching and a Fellowship in Academic Enterprise for her innovation and enterprise using sport.