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Award for Leeds Beckett researcher for whistleblowing on doping study


A Leeds Beckett Research Fellow has won a prestigious award for a groundbreaking study on blowing the whistle on doping.

Kelsey Erickson on the athletics track

Dr Kelsey Erickson has been awarded the Jean Bilard prize for her research, which found track-and-field student athletes are opposed to using banned substances, yet are reluctant to report the doping behaviours of others. Instead, they indicated a willingness to confront the doper directly.

The award recognises research which allows for significant progress of knowledge in the field of doping in sport, and is offered through the University of Montpellier, France.

Kelsey, who has been a research fellow with Leeds Beckett for two years, will receive the award at a black-tie ceremony on 20 November in Montpellier.

Kelsey said: “I am honoured to receive this award and excited to see my research is having an impact in the anti-doping community.

“It’s not just a case of conducting research and presenting the findings – I am passionate about raising the voices of my participants. It is great to see what we are doing at Leeds Beckett is having an influence in the global anti-doping community and is of benefit to those who have been involved in the research.”

Central to receiving the award was showing the practical implications the research has had on preventing doping. 

Kelsey’s research prompted the creation of ‘RE>ACT’, a clean sport bystander intervention program. Over 500 student-athletes in the US, UK and Canada have taken part in RE>ACT and the project has been carried out over the past 18 months by Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Sport.

As well as working on this particular project, Kelsey is also conducting work for the World Anti-Doping Agency with a view to inform their whistleblowing policy framework.

Her passion for the field of anti-doping research stems from personal experience.

“I was a student-athlete in the US and in the UK, so I could relate to the concerns student-athletes were raising in relation to reporting doping behaviours,” added Kelsey.

“While conducting this particular research, I was initially surprised to find that most student-athletes wouldn’t report doping behaviour.

“But then I thought back to when I was a student-athlete, and realised I would be hesitant to report, as well. At that point, I decided I wanted to do something to help – to empower student-athletes to get involved in pursuing clean sport. That’s how the idea of RE>ACT emerged.”

Dr Erickson is also working alongside BUCS (British University and College Sport) for a National Survey of Substance Use Habits of Student Athletes, which looks at what substances student athletes use in the UK. This is the first project Leeds Beckett has worked on with BUCS.

Athena SWAN

In May 2017 Leeds Beckett was awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze charter from the Equality Challenge Unit.

The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 by the Equality Challenge Unit and is awarded to organisations for their commitment to, and progress on, gender equality. The Charter initially set out to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. This was extended in 2015 to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, and for those working in professional and support roles.

For more information about Leeds Beckett’s commitment to gender equality, please visit the Athena SWAN page

For more information about the Athena SWAN charter, visit the Equality Challenge Unit website.

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