Building Japanese research capacity around disability studies and sport to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities - 2020 and beyond

Project Team

Dr Ian Brittain


ESRC-AHRC UK-Japan SSH Connections grants




Coventry University (Lead Partner)
University of the West of Scotland
University of Worcester
University of Kent
Juntendo University
Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre
Co-Innovation Laboratory, Tokyo
Hokkaido College of Medicine and Sports

Duration of the Project

1st December 2018 to 31st March 2020

Project Overview

The aim of this bid is to expand an international collaboration and foster a long-term sustainable multi-partner network in order to further develop our understanding in the field of disability studies and sport (DSS).

Project Objectives

To establish and enhance partnerships and networks between UK and Japanese SSH researchers

  • To promote the sharing of best practice and knowledge exchange between UK and Japanese SSH researchers
  • To identify and develop SSH themes / topics of mutual importance in the UK and Japan and where enhanced bilateral collaboration would further world-leading standards in the respective areas
  • To pump-prime collaborations between UK and Japanese researchers for the purpose of submitting high-quality applications to a potential future bilateral UK-Japan SSH research call.

Impact Statement

Alongside the academic beneficiaries detailed in the preceding sections, this project will also foreground the involvement of non-academic stakeholders to ensure that its outputs and outcomes reach beyond the Academy. This impact will be achieved through three main interventions;

  1. In order to address our objective around involving people with disabilities (PWD) more meaningfully in this research, we will invite PWD and organisations that represent them to participate in both the UK and Japan exchange visit activities. In the UK, Disabled Person's Organisations and representatives from disability sport institutions (e.g. Activity Alliance) will join the planned meetings on the second day in Coventry in order to add to the practical and theoretical knowledge exchange (travel expenses included in costings). The first day in Coventry will be an opportunity for the network members to get to know each other and share their own knowledge and experiences. In Japan, other key individuals will be invited to participate in the policy forum including PWD and their advocates, representatives from disability sport clubs and representatives from the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), including Assembly member Yoshihiro Hayasaka who is part of a team of TMA and local government officials who have been visiting different host countries gathering information on Games legacy. This group, led by the former Vice Governor of Tokyo, Prof Yasushi Aoyama, visited Dr Brittain in Coventry in August to find out more about the impact of the Paralympic Games. Another key individual to be invited will be Shinji Nakamae, Paralympic Games Integration Director for Tokyo 2020, who presented at Dr Brittain's international disability sport conference held in Coventry in September 2018. Other academics such as Prof Chihiro Kanayama (Ritsumeikan University) who was unable to participate in the bid due to having recently been made Head of Department, will also be invited. Their input will also be captured in the briefing paper and policy report published after the policy forum. PWD representative organisations will also be invited to produce a blog post on their experiences;

  2. We will seek to generate reach and significance for this project through utilising our project website and social media platforms strategically. Throughout the 12 month project we will publish guest blog posts from individuals such as those named above (Hayasaka; Aoyama; Nakamae) as well as PWD in Japan and the UK, updates on Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games planning, and seek to disseminate these widely through academic/non-academic networks via the project website and other social media. Co-I Prof McGillivray has extensive experience of designing and delivering participatory digital research projects that contribute to the impact agenda. To enhance accessibility to audiences outside of academia, the project website will include a blogging space and integrated social media platforms. This website will be crucial in communication and dialogue across academic, industry, policy and community actors engaged in the project and will be available in both languages to maximise reach. A short film will also be produced from the UK and Japan exchange visits and this will be used to promote the wider network and its focus on securing positive benefits from hosting the Paralympic Games;

  3. The academic partners will liaise with non-academic stakeholders to produce a short guide to undertaking research with PWD, informed by the experiences of both Japanese and UK researchers. This guide will be made available in open access form and address the objective to develop more participatory methodologies, especially focused on the involvement of PWD in research. As Parent (2016) has suggested, it is important that the voices and experiences of PWD are heard and it is important "not to go beyond disability, as is too frequently proposed, but to go-along with disability and disabled people"


A strong and sustainable interdisciplinary network of SSH researchers from both the UK and Japan focused on DSS as well as a growing and sustainable interest in the field amongst Japanese SSH researchers. This will be evidenced by participation in the field visits and contributions to the virtual network.

  • Greater inclusion of PWD in the project from the outset. This will include their involvement in the formulation of the briefing paper and participation in the policy forum in Japan, and contributions to knowledge sharing in the UK.
  • A guide to undertaking research with PWD and DSS. This guide will be available open access and published on the project website in both languages.
  • A short film documenting the knowledge exchange activities undertaken over the twelvemonth period. Uploaded to the project website and shared via social media.
  • A virtual network, represented by a project website (available in both languages) with contributions from all academic beneficiaries and non-academic stakeholders (in the form of guest blog posts).


Coventry University No.1 Modern University No.1 Modern University in the Midlands
Coventry University awarded TEF GOLD Teaching Excellence Framework
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2020
Coventry City of Culture 2021