Dr Niki Koutrou, PhD, SFHEA

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Principal Lecturer (Research and Knowledge Exchange)

I joined the University of Sunderland in London in 2022 with a teaching focus on tourism and events.

I hold a PhD in Sport Policy from Loughborough University funded by the Hellenic State Scholarships Foundation and the Alexander Onassis Public Benefit Foundation and hold Qualified Teacher Status from the Department of Education and Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I've been External Examiner and Advisor in the Sport Management programmes of Southampton Solent, University of Bedfordshire, Loughborough University in London, and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

In previous roles, I have been the Programme Leader for BSc Sport Management and BA/MA Sport Management at the Universities of Bournemouth and Kent respectively.

Teaching and supervision

I currently teach MSc Tourism and Hospitality.

Research interests for potential research students

  • Sustainability in sport 
  • Volunteering and civil society
  • Olympic legacy
  • Environmental sustainability in sport
  • Human resource management at sporting events


My research focuses on events management and Olympic studies, alongside mega-sport event volunteering, participation legacies, volunteer management, sports programme evaluation and sustainability, and supervising PhD projects in these areas.

My expertise lies in the interrogation of sustainable sports and physical activity programmes, civil society sustainability and volunteering, and sport participation legacies of the Olympics and other mega-sport events.

As Principal Investigator of a project funded by the Olympic Studies Centre of the International Olympic Committee, I explored and examined the Volunteer Legacy and civil society evolution and sustainability stemming from the Athens 2004 Games.

Throughout my research, I have evaluated the volunteering experiences, outcomes and legacies of various events including the London 2012 Games, the 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Turkey, the 2020 and 2022 Games in Tokyo and Beijing and the 2011 Women’s Rugby World Cup along with the evaluation of ongoing sport volunteering experiences for Kent’s Football Association and Sport England’s Stepping Out with Carers project.

My work on evaluating the London 2012 volunteer programme has been featured in the Conversation, The Geographical, and the Royal Geographical Society journal and I provided advice for a recently published article by French TV on the upcoming Paris 2024 Games volunteer programme. I've also engaged as Workshop Coordinator and Facilitator at the European Sports Platforms in 2019 and 2021, the 2017 European Youth Sport Forum and the International Olympic Academy among others. 

Over the years, I’ve been engaged in various research and knowledge exchange activities aimed at bridging the gap between academia and the wider society.

I act as a consultant for ENGSO (European Sport NGSO) on several sports, volunteering and sustainability projects funded by the Erasmus+ Sport programme of the European Union including  PlayGreen, Be Active for Greener Sports, and CHANGE, where I explore and support European sporting communities in creating, evaluating and sustaining the impacts of these initiatives in cultivating pro-environmental attitudes, inclusive and sustainable thinking for volunteers and participants in sport.


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Number of items: 6.


Kohe, Geoffery and Koutrou, Niki (2024) Sustainability, the Athens Marathon and Greece’s sport event sector: Lessons of resilience, social innovation and the urban commons. Sport in Society. ISSN 1743-0437

Pervez, Aneeza, Dangeni, Dangeni, Koutrou, Niki, Miller, Claire and Wisson, Charlotte (2024) An investigation into the provision of support for mature international students at UK HEIs to foster belonging. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 5 (2). pp. 148-168. ISSN 2399-1836

Koutrou, Niki and Kohe, Geoffery (2023) (Re)building remnants of volunteer cultures in a post- Olympic metropolis: Analyzing forces, structures, and opportunities in Greece’s civil society landscape. Local Development and Society. ISSN 2688-3597

Koutrou, Niki and Berber, Serkan (2021) The impact of role ambiguity on future volunteering: A case study of the 2017 European Youth Olympic Winter Festival. Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, 15 (3). pp. 298-317. ISSN 1940-7963


Cantafio, Giuseppe Umberto, Nadda, Vipin and Koutrou, Niki (2022) Proceedings of Teaching and Learning Symposium 2022. Coming out of a Pandemic: Lesson Learnt, Innovative Teaching & Learning Insights. IJEMID International Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, Innovation, and Development, London. (Unpublished)

Mike, Duignan and Niki, Koutrou (2022) Why the London 2012 Olympics had limited impact on volunteering across the UK? The Conversation.

This list was generated on Wed Apr 24 13:49:01 2024 BST.

I was the Principal Investigator of a recently concluded project funded by the Olympic Studies Cente of the International Olympic Committee.

Along with my collaborator, Dr Geoffery Kohe (University of Kent), I produced a report on ‘reawakening sport and community engagement in a previous Olympic host city: Capitalising on the Athens 2004 Olympic volunteer legacy 17 years on’ (Lausanne: IOC, 2011).

I supervise PhD students in the following areas:

  • Sustainability in sport 
  • Volunteering and civil society
  • Olympic legacy
  • Environmental sustainability in sport
  • Human Resource Management at sporting events

I have recently joined the Editorial Advisory Board of the Event Management Journal. 

I also hold practical, first-hand experience in sports event management and was employed by the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Games as a Fleet Scheduler and Volunteer Coordinator. 

I have had the honour of being a Torchbearer for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Torch Relay and have also volunteered for Athens 2004 Games and Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games blending academic, research, and professional practice effectively.

Last updated 18 April 2024