Alliance for Sports Engineering Education
The global sports industry is diverse, fragmented and rapidly changing, it is also a large industry (comparable to aerospace) and an early adopter. It comprises numerous different sectors and therefor relies on innovation and technology that spans many disciplines. Sport is known to play a major positive role in societal challenges such as health, demographic change and inclusion.
This diverse range of technology disciplines however slows down the innovation process. Cross-sectoral cooperation between universities, research centres, industries and sport bodies could accelerate the entrepreneurial behaviour and improve the innovation climate. Effective knowledge transfer however is inhibited by differences in culture and language between industry and academia. This also hampers academic staff to educate students with appropriate transversal skills.
The rapid changes in the sports industry are not always mirrored in the relatively static provision of sports engineering education. Current university courses in sports engineering do not provide education on emerging technologies (e.g. big data, self-healing materials, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, etc.) or societal changes (e.g. demographics, sedentary behaviours etc.). Furthermore, university graduates from sports engineering curricula do not always possess the appropriate innovation and entrepreneurial skills (also ‘transversal skills’ or ‘21st century skills’) to meet the needs of the sports industry. Current Industrial Design curricula do pay attention to these transversal skills and are highly focussed on user-centred design. They however lack specific knowledge and insight into the application of these innovation and entrepreneurial skills in the sports domain.
In summary, the problem analysis can be divided into the following aspects regarding sports industry and HEIs. Sports industry HEIs Large, growing and early adopter. Fragmented industry with little cross-sectoral cooperation Reliance on diverse technologies slows down the innovation process Desire for more diverse future employee profiles, need for life-long education for existing staff Weak entrepreneurial and cross disciplinary training in classic sports engineering curricula vs lack of insight into the sports industry in design/innovation curricula. Relative static provision of courses, insufficiently adapted to emerging technologies Limited understanding of business culture and language by university staff
The specific problems/challenges that this project will address are therefor as follows;
- How to provide the sports industry with appropriate life-long learning solutions?
- How to enable cross-sectoral cooperation in the sports industry?
- How to improve the fit between current HEI curricula and the sports industry?
- How to reduce the cultural barriers between HEIs and sports industry?
The project A4SEE will deliver three significant project interventions to address these challenges.
- Creation and delivery of Joint Learning Activities (Industry Collaboration Experience, Special Topics Week and Innovation Marketplace)
- Creation and delivery of Open Online Courses (Sports Engineering Basic, Advanced and Professional Courses)
- Creation and delivery of Innovation Fellowships on sports innovation and emerging technologies. (Academia to Industry, Industry to Academia and Student to Industry)
A4SEE Symposia and an on-line platform will be established as dissemination activity. These symposia and the platform will allow students and sports industry employers to connect by means of: Company Presentations, (Technology) Demonstration Market and Academic Insights (PhD-, Master-project Posters).
The project will develop and establish a transnational platform and activities that will build a strong and sustainable ecosystem firmly based in industry and universities. By attracting additional associate project partners, this sustainable ecosystem will remain to connect with the target groups after the funding period and will continue to deliver activities that will:
- develop new, innovative, and multidisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning
- stimulate entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial skills of higher education teaching staff and company staff
- facilitate the exchange, flow and co-creation of knowledge