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Sport, Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Dr Genevieve Williams

Dr Genevieve Williams

Senior Lecturer


 Richards Building RB109


Richard's Building, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Dr Genevieve Williams' research interest lie in the coordination and control of human movement. Particularly, in how the stability and adaptability of the dynamics of movement change as a function of skill level, perturbation, ageing or pathology. 

Dr Williams is part of the INTERSECT Human Movement group, and the Exeter Biomechanics Research Team (ExBiRT) and Co-directs Exeter Head Impact Brain Impact and Trauma (ExHIBIT) research group


Mar 2020                      Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

July 2015                      Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

July 2015                      PGCert Teaching in Higher Education, Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

Oct 2008- Nov 2012     PhD, School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK.          

Oct 2005- July 2008     1st Class BSc (Hons.) Sport and Exercise Sciences, School of Sport, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK.


Senior Lecturer (Dec 2021-), Public Health & Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Sept 2017-Dec 2021      Lecturer, Public Health & Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, University of Exeter, UK.

Sept 2016-Sept 2017     Senior Lecturer and Co-Director Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge UK. 

Sept 2014-Sept 2016     Lecturer, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge UK. 

Sept 2013- Sept 2014    Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, USA.

April 2013- Sept 2013    Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health and Health Science, University of Massachusetts, USA. 

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Research interests

Human movement control is inherently complex, requiring the integration and functioning of multiple systems to effectively perform even the simplest of tasks. Simultaneously considering multiple systems in understanding movement control, taking a systems level approach, is a frontier in the field of human movement science. My research aims to understand the characteristics and mechanisms of movement control through systems level approaches relating to perception-action coupling, neuromuscular function, and biomechanics. I work to translate this knowledge into applied contexts to assess, rehabilitate and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of human movement based on a data driven approach.

Theme 1: Dynamics stability of human movement. Based on a systems level approach my work considers how humans satisfy the mechanical demands of tasks in inherently biological ways, employing dynamic, adaptable strategies. For example, even simple tasks such as standing or walking require dynamic (changing over time) control to maintain a stable movement outcome (standing still or walking steadily). My work is providing new basic science insight into motor control related to standing and walking in healthy, ageing, and pathological populations by studying how control is achieved through the integration of sensory information from multiple sources (vision, proprioception, vestibular) coupled with the instigation of motor output to satisfy mechanical demands that can be understood at the level of joint and centre of mass motion. This work is crucial to improve quality of life and treatment outcomes in people with motor control problems.

Theme 2: Head vibration and impact in sports and occupational settings. Currently, there is no test that is quick and easy to use for quantifying acute, functional changes in cognitive, visual, and motor control function after exposure to head vibration and/or impact in sports and occupation settings. Key from a health and safety perspective, my work aims to 1) develop, evaluate, and implement a very quick (sub 3 minutes), quantitative test for changes in neuro-cognitive visuo-motor function after exposure to vibration or a blow to the head in sports and occupational contexts, and 2) inform safety standards relating to levels of exposure to vibration at, or transferred to the head. This work is crucial to tackle the long-term effects of (sub)concussion injury in sport and occupational hazards associated with exposure to whole body vibration. My work is interdisciplinary and engaged with key partners such as national governing bodies in sport and industry to support knowledge exchange and a pathway to research impact.

Dr Williams is part of the INTERSECT Human Movement group, and the Exeter Biomechanics Research Team (ExBiRT) and Co-directs Exeter Head Impact Brain Impact and Trauma (ExHIBIT) research group

Research projects

External Research Income

DSTL (Human Social Science Research Capability). RCloud Low Impact Soldier Augmentation (LISA HS1.052d).[£670,000, Co-I]. September 2023-March 2025.

World Rugby. Developing Data-Derived Head Impact Reduction Protocols for Women’s Rugby Union. [£90,000, Co-I]. Aug 2023-Sept 2024.  

Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with JockeyCam. Quantifying horse and rider movement during racing. [£169,000, PI]. July 2023-July 2025. 

ERC Advanced Grant. Stepping Out - Understanding the ground truth and mechanisms of falls and balance instability in older people. [£2,770,000, Work Package 1 lead]. Jan 2023-2028.

Waterloo Foundation. Developing an immersive virtual reality pre-screening tool for DCD. [£198,000, Co-I]. December 2022-Dec 2024.

NIHR i4i. National Institute for Health Research. Smart wearable device that helps people with Parkinson’s walk better NIHR204205. [£1,200,000, Co-I]. December 2022-2025.

EPSRC DTP Studentship. How do Passive Exoskeletons influence Human Balance Control in in simulated Real-World environments? [£82,000, Co-I]. Sept 2022-March 2026. 3.5 year PhD studentship. 

GaitQ Limited. GaitQ Contract Research. [£11,000, Co-I]. Aug 2022-Sept 2022.

SC-Group Global. Human Factors Integration Study. SupaCat project. [£14,000 PI]. March 2022.

EPSRC DTP Studentship. Downsides of downhill: Exploring The Impact Of Head Vibration Associated With Mountain Biking On Cognitive, Perceptual And Motor Function. [£82,000, PI]. Sept 2023. 3.5 year PhD studentship. 

EPSRC DTP Studentship. Dynamics of human standing balance. [£82,000, PI]. 2021.3.5 year PhD studentship. 

Chinese Scholarship Council Studentship. Neuromechanical mechanisms involved in chronic ankle instability. [£40,000, PI]. 2022. 3.5 year PhD studentship. 

Racing Foundation. Quantifying exposure to head vibration during horse racing. [£20,000, PI]. Aug 2021-2023.

NIHR Brain Injury MedTech. Revolutionary Assessment for concussion in sports: Investigation of the Precision finger grip to support PItchside Diagnosis of mild Concussion: RAPID-C. [£9,800, PI]. 2021-2023.

DSTL (Human Social Science Research Capability) [£25,000, Co-I]. Project: Kinematics of Knife Detection. 2020.

UEFA Union of European Football Associations. Clearing confusion from concussion; A multidisciplinary approach to examine heading. [£20,000, PI]. 2020-2022.

Football Association Wales. Quantitative pitchside testing for concussion in football. [PI, £40,000]. 2019.

BBSRC DTP Research Experience Placement. The effect of age and risk of falling on walking: A non-linear dynamics approach to human movement analysis. [PI, £2,500]. 2017.

Internal Research Income

University of Exeter Strategic Development Fund. Motek M-Gait Treadmill Upgrade. [£25, 000; Co-I]. 2022.

Exeter-NTU studentship. Postural strategy during perturbated balance in people with chronic ankle instability. [PI, £65,000]. 2021. 

Wellcome Seed Corn funding. Using machine learning to identify the visuomotor signatures of developmental coordination disorder. [Co-I, £10,000]. 2021.

University of Exeter Research Equipment Capital Fund Scheme. Development of Instrumented treadmill and gait lab. [£250, 000; Co-I]. 2020.

Creative Fellowship. Sonification of human movement from VSimulators. [PI, £10,000]. 2020.

Wellcome Seed Corn Funding. Maintenance of Symmetry and Stability in Human Walking. [PI, £10,000]. 2019.

Geneva-Exeter GenEx Collaborative Research Seed Grants. Walking dynamics in passive exoskeletons. [PI, £5,000]. 2019.

EPSRC Summer Research Assistant. [PI, £2,000]. 2018. 

Engaged Research Exploratory Award. Sonification for health. [PI, £2,800]. 2018.

University Life Sciences Research Assistantship, Anglia Ruskin University. 3.5 year PhD studentship. Dynamics of learning to throw. [PI, £35,000]. 2016.

Research networks

Current PhD Students

Barbara Halmai. Primary Supervisor. Title: Downsides of downhill. The adverse effects of head vibration associated with downhill mountain biking on visuomotor and cognitive function. University of Exeter. Funding: EPSRC DTP.

Ryan Baker. Primary Supervisor. Title: Clearing confusion from concussion in sports. University of Exeter. Funding: Football Association Wales.

Xiaohan Xu. Primary Supervisor. Title: Postural strategy during perturbated balance in people with chronic ankle instability. University of Exeter. Funding: Chinese Scholarship Council.

Arezoo Amirpourabasi. Primary Supervisor. Title: The effect of ageing on nonlinear dynamic characteristics of walking. University of Exeter-NTU. Funding: Exeter-NTU strategic international funding.

Nimmy Miriam Abraham. Primary Supervisor. Title: Human interaction with vertical vibrations during rhythmic jumping. University of Exeter. Funding: internal.

Jac Llyod Palmer. Primary Supervisor. Title: Improving pitchside testing for mild concussion in Rugby Union. University of Exeter. Self funded.

Matthew Smith. Co-Supervisor. Title: Using the VSimulator to understand motion sensitivity in Meniere's disease (Ref: 4089). University of Exeter. Funding: Philanthropic Funding. 

Phaedra Kiryn Leveridge. Co-supervisor. Title: Freezing of Gait During Turning in Parkinson’s Disease. University of Exeter.

Ruth Taraves. Co-Supervisor. Title: How do Passive Exoskeletons influence Human Balance Control in Simulated Real-World Environments? University of Exeter. Funding: EPSRC DTP. Co-supervised with UQ – strategic partner.

Lawrence Kwek. Co-supervisor. Title: Flexibility and adaptability in human walking in response to perturbation. Funding: NTU research award. Based at Nanyang Technical University, Singapore. Strategic partner.

Sarah Martin. Primary Supervisor. Title: Changes in biomechanics as a function of age in senior golfers. Based at Plymouth Marjon University.

Kate Lucy. Co-supervisor. Title: The development of serve technique in elite tennis. Funding: Lawn Tennis Association. Based at Cardiff Metropolitan University/LTA.

Sophie Burton: Co-supervisor. Title: Biomechanics and dynamics of highbar skill development in gymnastics. Funding (part) British Gymnastics. Based at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Current Master by Research Students

Emma Edwards. Primary Supervisor. Title: Stirred not shaken exploring the responses to horse riding and vibration exposure. Funding: Fees, Racing Foundation.

Jessica Thomas. Co-Supervisor. Title: Determining elite female rugby union players attitudes towards concussion and the acute clinical changes that occur post elite matches. 

Graduated Research Students

Naser Taleshi, PhD thesis examined. Primary Supervisor. Title: Human Posture Control on a Dynamic Platform. Passed subject to minor amendments. University of Exeter. Funding: EPSRC DTP. 2023.

Dr Hannah Palmer. Primary Supervisor. Title: Redefining development stages of overarm throw action from a dynamical systems perspective. Anglia Ruskin University. 2019.

Dr Joao Guerra. Co-Primary Supervisor. Title: The potential yield of external feedback via movement sonification in physiotherapy. Anglia Ruskin University. 2022.

Tyler Moore, Master by Research. Primary Supervisor. Title: The Circle Sequencing Task (CST): A novel approach to analysing concussion related cognitive and motor control deficits. University of Exeter. Thesis submitted. 2023.

Alex Woodgates, Master by Research. Co-Supervisor. Title: Examining the regulation of cerebral blood flow and postural control in the aftermath of heading in women footballers. University of Exeter. 2023. 

William Wallis. Co-Supervisor: The acute influence of boxing on brain health parameters in university armature boxers. University of Exeter. 2022.

Post-Doctoral Mentees

Naser Taleshi – Project: WP1 ERC grant STEPPING OUT: maximise knowledge of person-environment interactions that result in falls in community dwelling older people. 2023-2025.

Dr Pavlos Evangelidis – Project: GaitQ Helping people with Parkinson’s walk better. Setting up and running experiments in VSimulators facility. 2023-2025.

Dr Sigong Zhang - Project: Human interaction with vibrating structures. Funded by Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. maximise knowledge of person-environment interactions that result in falls in community dwelling older people.

Dr Piotr Slowinski – Project: Exeter Wellcome Trust TREE funded fellow. Symmetry in gait across the lifespan; Diagnosing developmental coordination disorder with virtual reality gaming. 

Other staff

Amid Khierandish. KTP Associate FTE1.0. Project Data fusion to quantifying horse and rider movement during horse racing. 2023-2025.

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Journal articles

Jack J, Woodgates A, Smail O, Felix B, Lynam K, Lester A, Williams G, Bond B (In Press). Cerebral blood flow regulation is not acutely altered after a typical number of headers in women footballers. Frontiers in Neurology, Neurotrauma Abstract.
Wallis W, Al-alem Q, Lorimer H, Smail O, Williams G, Bond B (In Press). The acute influence of amateur boxing on dynamic cerebral autoregulation and cerebrovascular reactivity to carbon dioxide. European Journal of Applied Physiology
Halmai B, Holsgrove TP, Vine SJ, Harris DJ, Williams GKR (2024). The after-effects of occupational whole-body vibration on human cognitive, visual, and motor function: a systematic review. Applied Ergonomics, 118 Abstract.
Lamb SE, Williams G, Young W (2024). The science of falls and how to prevent them. Nat Med, 30(1), 35-36.  Author URL.
Brown N, Williams GKR, Stodter A, McNarry MA, Roldan-Reoyo O, Mackintosh KA, Moore IS, Williams EMP (2023). A Global Women’s Rugby Union Web-Based Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(8), 5475-5475. Abstract.
Farana R, Williams G, Fujihara T, Wyatt HE, Naundorf F, Irwin G (2023). Current issues and future directions in gymnastics research: biomechanics, motor control and coaching interface. SPORTS BIOMECHANICS, 22(2), 161-185.  Author URL.
Abraham N, Williams G, Zivanovic S (2023). Impact of Vertical Vibrations on Human Rhythmic Jumping. Structures, 57 Abstract.
Arthur T, Brosnan M, Harris D, Buckingham G, Wilson M, Williams G, Vine S (2023). Investigating how Explicit Contextual Cues Affect Predictive Sensorimotor Control in Autistic Adults. J Autism Dev Disord, 53(11), 4368-4381. Abstract.  Author URL.
Brown N, Roldan-Reoyo O, Williams GKR, Stodter A, Moore IS, Mackintosh KA, McNarry MA, Williams EMP (2023). Profiling Hormonal Contraceptive Use and Perceived Impact on Training and Performance in a Global Sample of Women Rugby Players. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 18(9), 937-943. Abstract.  Author URL.
Irwin G, Rogatzki MJ, Wiltshire HD, Williams GKR, Gu Y, Ash GI, Tao D, Baker JS (2023). Sports-Related Concussion Assessment: a New Physiological, Biomechanical, and Cognitive Methodology Incorporating a Randomized Controlled Trial Study Protocol. Biology, 12(8), 1089-1089. Abstract.
Burton S, Newell KM, Exell T, Williams GKR, Irwin G (2023). The evolving high bar longswing in elite gymnasts of three age groups. JOURNAL OF SPORTS SCIENCES, 41(10), 1008-1017.  Author URL.
Smith MC, O’Loughlin J, Karageorgiou V, Casanova F, Williams GKR, Hilton M, Tyrrell J (2023). The genetics of falling susceptibility and identification of causal risk factors. Scientific Reports, 13(1). Abstract.
Brtva P, Irwin G, Williams GKR, Farana R (2023). Upper limb biomechanics and dynamics of a core skill on floor exercise in female gymnastics. J Sports Sci, 41(1), 27-35. Abstract.  Author URL.
Xu X, Hu G, Williams G, ma F (2022). Gender Comparisons and Associations between Lower Limb Muscle Activation Strategies and Resultant Knee Biomechanics during Single Leg Drop Landings. Journal of Biomechanics, 2, 562-574. Abstract.
Amirpourabasi A, Lamb SE, Chow JY, Williams GKR (2022). Nonlinear Dynamic Measures of Walking in Healthy Older Adults: a Systematic Scoping Review. Sensors, 22(12), 4408-4408. Abstract.
Taleshi N, Brownjohn JMW, Lamb SE, Zivanovic S, Williams GKR (2022). Vector coding reveals the underlying balance control strategies used by humans during translational perturbation. Sci Rep, 12(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Kwek JRL, Williams GKR (2021). Age-based comparison of gait asymmetry using unilateral ankle weights. Gait & Posture, 87, 11-18.
Arthur T, Harris D, Buckingham G, Brosnan M, Wilson M, Williams G, Vine S (2021). An examination of active inference in autistic adults using immersive virtual reality. Sci Rep, 11(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Burton S, Vicinanza D, Exell T, Newell KM, Irwin G, Williams GKR (2021). Attractor dynamics of elite performance: the high bar longswing. Sports Biomech, 1-14. Abstract.  Author URL.
Wyatt HE, Vicinanza D, Newell KM, Irwin G, Williams GKR (2021). Bidirectional causal control in the dynamics of handstand balance. Scientific Reports, 11(1). Abstract.
Irwin G, Williams GKR, Kerwin DG, von Lieres Und Wilkau H, Newell KM (2021). Learning the High Bar Longswing:I. Task Dynamics and Emergence of the Coordination Pattern. J Sports Sci, 39(23), 2683-2697. Abstract.  Author URL.
Irwin G, Williams GKR, Kerwin DG, von Lieres Und Wilkau H, Newell KM (2021). Learning the high bar longswing:II. energetics and the emergence of the coordination pattern. J Sports Sci, 39(23), 2698-2705. Abstract.  Author URL.
Palmer HA, Newell KM, Mulloy F, Gordon D, Smith L, Williams GKR (2021). Movement form of the overarm throw for children at 6, 10 and 14 years of age. Eur J Sport Sci, 21(9), 1254-1262. Abstract.  Author URL.
Irwin G, Kerwin DG, Williams G, Van Emmerik REA, Newell KM, Hamill J (2020). Multidimensional joint coupling: a case study visualisation approach to movement coordination and variability. Sports Biomechanics, 19(3), 322-332. Abstract.
Guerra J, Smith L, Vicinanza D, Stubbs B, Veronese N, Williams G (2020). The use of sonification for physiotherapy in human movement tasks: a scoping review. Science and Sports, 35(3), 119-129. Abstract.
Słowiński P, Baldemir H, Wood G, Alizadehkhaiyat O, Coyles G, Vine S, Williams G, Tsaneva-Atanasova K, Wilson M (2019). Gaze training supports self-organization of movement coordination in children with developmental coordination disorder. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1712-1712. Abstract.  Author URL.
Smith L, Stubbs B, Hu L, Veronese N, Vancampfort D, Williams G, Vicinanza D, Jackson SE, Ying L, Lopez-Sanchez GF, et al (2019). Is Active Transport and Leisure-Time Physical Activity Associated with Inflammatory Markers in US Adults? a Cross-Sectional Analyses from NHANES. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & HEALTH, 16(7), 540-546.  Author URL.
Diss C, Vicinanza D, Smith L, Williams GKR (2019). Lower limb tri-joint synchrony during running gait: a longitudinal age-based study. Hum Mov Sci, 66, 301-309. Abstract.  Author URL.
Mulloy F, Irwin G, Williams GKR, Mullineaux D (2019). QUANTIFYING BI-VARIATE COORDINATION VARIABILITY DURING 1 LONGITUDINAL. Journal of Biomechanics, 95
Williams GKR, Vicinanza D (2018). Coordination in gait: Demonstration of a spectral approach. Journal of Sports Sciences, 36(15), 1768-1775. Abstract.
Vicinanza D, Newell KM, Irwin G, Smith L, Williams GKR (2018). Limit cycle dynamics of the gymnastics longswing. Human Movement Science, 57, 217-226. Abstract.
Williams G, Aggio D, Stubbs B, Pardhan S, Gardner B, Smith L (2018). Physical activity levels in children with sensory problems: Cross-sectional analyses from the Millennium Cohort Study. Disability and Health Journal, 11(1), 58-61.
Palmer H, Newell KM, Gordon D, Smith L, Williams GKR (2018). Qualitative and quantitative change in the kinematics of learning a non-dominant overarm throw. Human Movement Science, 62, 134-142.
Aggio D, Gardner B, Roberts J, Johnstone J, Stubbs B, Williams G, López Sánchez GF, Smith L (2017). Correlates of children's independent outdoor play: Cross-sectional analyses from the Millennium Cohort Study. Preventive Medicine Reports, 8, 10-14.
López Sánchez G, Williams GKR, Aggio D, Vicinanza D, Stubbs B, Kerr C, Johnstone J, Roberts J, Smith L (2017). Prospective associations between measures of gross and fine motor coordination in infants and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behavior in childhood. Medicine, 94(46), e8424-e8424.
Neely KA, Chennavasin AP, Yoder A, Williams GKR, Loken E, Huang-Pollock CL (2016). Memory-guided force output is associated with self-reported ADHD symptoms in young adults. Experimental Brain Research, 234(11), 3203-3212.
Williams GKR, Irwin G, Kerwin DG, Hamill J, Van Emmerik REA, Newell KM (2015). Coordination as a function of skill level in the gymnastics longswing. Journal of Sports Sciences, 34(5), 429-439.
Williams GKR, Irwin G, Kerwin DG, Newell KM (2014). Biomechanical energetic analysis of technique during learning the longswing on the high bar. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33(13), 1376-1387.
Williams GKR, Irwin G, Kerwin DG, Newell KM (2014). Changes in joint kinetics during learning the longswing on high bar. Journal of Sports Sciences, 33(1), 29-38.
Williams G, Irwin G, Kerwin DG, Newell KM (2012). Kinematic changes during learning the longswing on high bar. Sports Biomechanics, 11(1), 20-33.

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External Engagement and Impact

External positions

External Examiner for Degrees Appointments

University of Plymouth – External Examiner (2017-2019) for programme BSc (Hons) Sport Health and Exercise Sciences run through Cornwall College.

University of Portsmouth – Lead External Periodic Review Panel (2020) for BSc (Hons) Sport Health and Exercise Science.

University of Winchester – External Examiner (2022-2025). For programme BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science.

University of Winchester – External Examiner mentor (2022-2025) for External Examiners of degree programs across the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing. 

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