Professor David Hassan

Professor of Sport Policy and Management

School of Sport

Ulster Univesrity Sports Village

Room MG037,
Shore Road,
Co. Antrim,
BT37 0QB,

Sport and Exercise Sciences Research

Professor of Sport Policy and Management

Professor David Hassan


Professor Hassan has published 15 books and 175 other scientific outputs, having worked collaboratively with academic researchers from around the globe.

A prominent scientist with an international reputation, he was awarded a Distinguished Research Fellowship by Ulster in recognition of his outstanding contribution to research. He is also a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

He has held many leadership roles at the University, including Associate Dean of the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, where he forged a substantial overseas partnership network for Ulster, Head of School, Head of Research Graduate School, Provost of the Belfast and Jordanstown campuses, and Chair of the Building and Infrastructure committee for Ulster’s Graduate Entry Medical School.

Professor Hassan was the Founding Co-Director and Chair of the Special Olympics Regional Research Centre for Europe and Eurasia at Ulster (SORRC). SORRC is a vibrant pan-continental research centre with a clear focus on inclusion and opportunities for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As Co-Director of SORRC, David developed the Centre’s fundamental and applied research programme taking a multi-disciplinary approach. David grew SORRC to a collaboration of over 30 researchers employed at 11 Higher Education Institutions across Europe.

Professor Hassan’s research in the field of intellectual disabilities, supported extensively by over £300k of competitive external funding, has significantly enhanced the integration of young people with developmental disabilities across several European countries.

Professor Hassan has a reputation as an advocate for change and has provided strategic direction and leadership as part of a significant portfolio of industrial and commercial experience.

In 2013, the FIA World Motor Sport Council appointed him to its Strategic Task Force, and it began an association with the global governing body of motorsport that prevails, principally through the renowned FIA University, today. Nationally, he has been appointed to numerous leadership roles by the GAA, including to its strategic committee, ‘Towards 150’ in 2015, as a non-executive board member on the Ulster Council Management Committee from 2017 to 2019, as Chair of the GAA’s Standing Committee of the Playing Rules (from 2018 to 2024), as Chair of the Ulster’s Council’s Strategic Plan (2019 – 2021), as a member of its National Strategic Planning Oversight Committee (2021 – 2022) and, most recently, as Chair of the GAA’s new Amateur Status Committee, a brief he assumed in February 2024.

He has been honoured by the President of Ireland for the impact of his academic research, whilst his work examining the needs of young people with a range of complex disabilities in the Middle East has been recognised by the UAE Minister for Culture, Youth, and Social Development.

In recent years UEFA has appointed Prof Hassan as an expert witness to several high-profile investigations, including those surrounding events at a UEFA Champions League game between Ajax and Glasgow Celtic FC that resulted in serious fan disorder.

His leadership roles extend to being Editor of both an SSCI-ranked academic journal and a successful book series for the global publisher Routledge. Professor Hassan has extensive non-executive and board experience as either a Trustee, Director, Board Member or Advisor on a wide range of external bodies and organisations including his most recent UK appointment to the UNBOXED Evaluation Expert Advisory Group (EAG), a series of 10 art, science and technology projects across the British Isles.

Professor Hassan has delivered over 30 keynotes/ invited lectures at various events around the world. A specialist reviewer for the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational qualifications, Prof Hassan has held Professorial appointments at the leading global institutions in his field – Loughborough University, UK, University of Technology, Sydney and Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia and The University of Newcastle Business School, New South Wales.

A regular commentator for the international media, Prof Hassan was an expert contributor to the PPI Gold Award-winning documentary broadcast by the BBC entitled ‘Does the Cap Fit?’ and, more recently, its award-winning series ‘The Long and Short of It’ in February 2024.