Communities of Practice

Our communities of practice enable like-minded people from all walks of life to come together and turn their passion or concern for a specific subject into positive action. Through regular interaction with others, you’ll exchange knowledge and ideas, with the ultimate aim of driving change for the better. From academic researchers and industry professionals to students and members of the local community, we welcome anyone who shares our desire to make a difference in our focus areas.

Canine Sport & Performance

Convener: Scott Blake

The Canine Sport & Performance Community of Practice will focus on different aspects of the field, including biomechanics, nutrition, behaviour, training and dog-handler interaction.

We have recently established partnerships with the Kennel Club’s GB Agility team and the British Flyball Association which will support research in these rapidly developing dog sports to underpin and inform the projects we will undertake through this CoP. We’re keen to work with those with human and animal specialisms.

Hartpury Headstart

Convener: Linda Greening

Headstart is a programme of outreach activity developed to help level 3 students raise awareness and student aspirations around higher education and careers. Within this programme students are encouraged to self-reflect and further develop academic study skills. This community of practice will involve considering how best to evaluate the activity in terms of impact and how to roll this out on a larger scale.

Science Communication – Within the Community, Events and Cheltenham Science Festival

Convener: Aisling Carroll

This community will focus primarily on two aspects: bringing science to the community and Cheltenham Science Festival. The hope is to achieve these aspects by utilising every opportunity to engage the public, industry and schools through all the events and activities we already run and to get the planning and preparation of CSF up and running so that we can make the most of this very worthwhile event. There will hopefully also be opportunity to get involved in STEM mentoring or education/career support with STEM learning.

Exotic Pet Health and Welfare 

Convener: Dr Alison Wills

This community of practice aims to investigate key issues associated with the health and welfare of common exotic pet species including rabbits, guinea pigs and rodents. Outcomes of research projects are intended to directly inform practice of pet owners and industry to promote improved welfare for these species. As many health and welfare problems of these species are linked to husbandry, both owner and veterinary understanding of the specialist requirements of these species is paramount.

Student Engagement

Convener: Dr Kate Wilkinson

The Student Engagement Community of Practice aims to bring together projects and people from around the University looking into many aspects of student engagement.

It hopes the community of practice will encourage collaborative scholarship and research and bring together like minded staff. It is hoped that the community will have face to face conversations and continued online contributions to foster creativity and innovation and share best practice within the University.

Hartpury Sports Business Hub 

Convener: Dr. Alex Kay

The Hartpury Sports business hub aims to create a collaborative research and knowledge exchange environment between Hartpury University and industry professionals. Hartpury Sports Business Hub partners collaborate by developing joint research activities and consultancy projects for both scholarly and industry opportunities.


Convener: Dr Gareth Knox

The Hartlinx Community of Practice focusses on the physical activity of children and adolescents. More specifically, Hartlinx is concerned with the determinants of physical activity and associations with outcomes such as obesity, diabetes, mental health, academic performance and fitness. Further to this, promotion of physical activity within this group is a priority of Hartlinx, looking to develop sustainable and cost effective interventions within schools and the community.

One welfare; one wellbeing

Convener: Philip Watson

This Community of Practice aims to look at welfare and wellbeing within the agriculture sector. It will link to farmer and farm worker wellbeing and welfare, animal welfare and wellbeing, environmental wellbeing and sustainability, and business performance and sustainability.

Human-wildlife Interactions

Convener: Lucy Bearman-Brown

Our aim is to bring together stakeholders from different backgrounds and with diverse disciplinary expertise and interests, who have a common goal of understanding and ensuring positive human wildlife interactions.

If you're interested in wildlife, or people who engage with, live alongside, care or have views about wildlife then please join us. It is hoped that our activities will be as diverse as the subject, including practical activities on the Hartpury Campus and further a-field, conducting research and informing teaching.

Animal Behaviour and Welfare Research

Convener: Ben Brilot

This community of practice includes weekly informal meetings in order to discuss current topics/areas of interest/research, encourage peer feedback, and to promote collaboration and opportunities for staff development

Responses and adaptation during maturation and ageing

Convener: John Fernandes

This group aims to explore the the acute responses and chronic adaptations to exercise in youths and older populations. The information gained from these data will inform the practices of those working in the applied setting. These projects will also provide a mechanistic underpinning for any observed effects.

Pavia Rowing Project

Convener: Debbie Cox

The Pavia Rowing Project will set biomechanics and physiology investigations around rowing. This project will involve collaboration between Hartpury University and the University of Pavia, Italy. Reciprocal visits of rowers and coaches between Hartpury and Pavia will allow for data to be collected on water as well as in the laboratory. The collaboration will be celebrated by an annual boat race alternating each year between Hartpury and Pavia.

Dream Big

Convener: Prof. Steve Draper

This Community of Practice will provide sports science and other support to para-olympian adventure racing and Hartpury alumni Mel Nicholls, following her successful world record cycling from Land’s end to John o’ Groats, this group will be supporting her in her next endeavour.

Hartpury Bee Research

Convener: Stephen Parker

This community of practice plans to put together a proposal to research the Antimicrobial effects of dairy products against Paenibacillus larvae (the causative agent of American Foulbrood in honey bees) using the Hartpury bee collection. We hope the results could offer a tool for the beekeeping world in the fight to combat this disease.

Horses and society

Convener: Dr. Darcy Bornemann

This is a diverse and interdisciplinary community of practice which considers the role of the horse and horse related activities within society. A wide range of topics are incorporated, from individual horse-human interactions, horses in rural/urban environments, business, and the equestrian (human) community/culture.

The group aims to offer members support via collaboration and has ambition to contribute to local, national, and international discussions regarding ways horse activity helps meet government agendas and the value of horses to individuals and communities.

Cardio-respiratory research group

Convener: Jenni Douglas

This community of practice will offer free laboratory testing to staff and students as part of ongoing research into endurance performance. Staff and student athletes can be part of this group as researchers and/or participants.

Hartpury University Press

Convener: Jane Williams

This community of practice aims to establish an in house publication tool: Hartpury University Press to support students and staff to publish and disseminate their research.

Female Equestrian Performance

Convener: Vicky Lewis

This community of practice will explore issues related to female health and how these effect equestrian performance.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Convener: Dr John Fernandes

Equality, diversity and inclusion are of utmost importance globally and at Hartpury. This community of practice seeks to improve the practices at Hartpury and bring this to the forefront of what staff and students do. This will be achieved through research activity and science communication within and outside Hartpury. Doing this will create an environment at Hartpury, and in society, where everyone is able to achieve their goals and feels included. The group is open to anyone at Hartpury that has an interest in equality, diversity and inclusion.

Applied Sports Coaching Community of Practice - Coach with students

Hartpury Coaching Centre

Convener: Dr Martin Longworth

This community of practice sets out to foster a collaborative sports coaching research and knowledge exchange environment between university sport, college sport and The Sports Academy at Hartpury University, with the aim of creating applied research outputs from staff, students and alumni.

Problem Solving - an exploration of strategies used by college education instructional staff to deliver the problem-solving aspect of their courses

Convenor: Istvan Szabo

This community of practice will explore the delivery strategies being used for the teaching of problem-solving in college education, looking for both common features and innovative approaches.

The wide field of instruction in academic and non-academic activities makes for an interesting population to carry out the study in. We seek to identify commonalities and differences in teaching practice in the delivery of problem-solving.

Students happily work together at the white board to tackle a problemproblem

PACK - Professionals and Academics Co-creating Knowledge

Convenor: Carol Gray

The Pack (Professionals and academics co-creating knowledge) community of practice gives the opportunity to share knowledge arising from veterinary nursing departmental research with participating veterinary practices. The aim is to widen the scope for research and find out which areas of research would be useful for practices. The hope is to achieve these aspects by canvassing opinions about curriculum design and involving practices in future research collaborations.

Let’s go APE (Anthrozoology, Psychology, and Ethology)

Convenor: Clare Thomas-Pino

An interdisciplinary community of practice connecting students and faculty with Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) topics and collaborative research opportunities to foster recognition of the vast expertise in HAI within and beyond Hartpury. This Community of Practice aims to provide supportive opportunities for continued professional development particularly in multi-disciplinary approaches towards human connectivity with animals and nature.

Research degrees/PhD study

Choose a Hartpury research degree. Be supported by leading academic and industry experts to make a positive difference to the world.

Research partnerships

Join our international network of academic and industry professionals; they’re dedicated to making a worthwhile contribution to our disciplines.

Research centres

Our multi-disciplinary research centres - Animal and Agriculture, Equestrian Performance and Sport and Exercise Science - connect world-class facilities with researchers and industry practitioners.