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Five minutes with: James Haley

26 October 2023

4 mins

What’s your job title and how long have you been at Loughborough?

I’m a Doctoral Researcher in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and I’m also the Sub-Warden for Royce Hall. I’ve been at Loughborough for four years.

Tell us what a typical day in your job looks like?

My days generally start with early mornings, filled with writing my thesis, meetings and events, and working through sub-warden-related emails in the library or a coffee shop. I tend to focus most of my day studying with friends through the online productivity app Focusmate. During these sessions, I analyse and interpret data, and write up new manuscripts I hope to publish throughout my PhD. In the evenings, I mainly support students as a voluntary sub-warden. I usually attend social events or undertake pastoral care, including lockouts and noise complaints. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new students and seeing them excited about Freshers Week.

What’s your favourite project you’ve worked on?

A project I was incredibly fortunate to work on was collecting data on physiotherapists and physical activity guidelines at a Sheffield Rehabilitation Spinal Unit. This was a fantastic opportunity to complete focus groups and hear the lived experiences of many passionate individuals. For me, it was not only engaging and enjoyable as it relates to my research interests, but also an incredibly fulfilling experience to be able to visit a rehabilitation centre and to offer this community an opportunity to discuss ways that we can improve their physical activity levels and reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases.

What is your proudest moment at Loughborough?

When I think of my proudest moment at Loughborough over these four years, two things spring to my mind.

First, is when I received the email that my first-ever publication had been accepted. I remember feeling overwhelmed and shocked but thankful that my work could now reach a wider audience and contribute to improving physical activity for people with disabilities. The peer review process can feel daunting and can take a long time, but if you’re patient and surround yourself with support, like I did with my brilliant supervisors, the experience is beyond rewarding.

The second is undertaking two research placements in Canada, where I met colleagues who are leading experts in my field. I was lucky enough to visit six universities across five cities. I learned so much and was fortunate enough to present my research to a wide-ranging audience at the SCAPPS 2022 and 2023 research conferences.

Tell us something you do outside of work that we might not know about?

Due to having Olympian blood in my family, I’m naturally inclined to use my free time to do some lost-distance running. I like to run several times a week around the campus but also Charnwood Water, Beacon Hill and Leicester.

Outside of Loughborough, I am an experienced care worker, having helped over 100 patients stretching over seven years. I started working as a carer in 2015 before my undergraduate degree to support and care for the most vulnerable individuals, improve their overall quality of life and make a difference in society. I firmly believe being a carer gave me the skills, life experience and dedication that no other career could provide, but also emphasised the importance of our health and the time we spend with family. I have heard many amazing stories from clients with different backgrounds which has encouraged my ambition to make a social change through academic research.

What is your favourite quote?

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

Professer Stephen Hawkins

If you would like to feature in ‘5 Minutes With’, or you work with someone who you think would be great to include, please email Soph Dinnie at

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