The EU-funded A4SEE project seeks to promote education in sports engineering by establishing innovative curriculum projects, joint courses, and modules.
Higher education institutes can adopt new ideas, methods, and processes that improve the quality of teaching and multi-disciplinary cooperation, by partnering with world-leading companies in sports equipment, data analytics, and sports organisations.
The relatively young academic field of sports engineering is growing rapidly, due to the growth of the economic impact of sports and sports equipment. The industry and the services around it are rapidly growing, and as such the need for sports engineers is growing as well.
The currently growing demand for skilled sports engineers, and its growth, create both a challenge and opportunity for education. The global sports industry is diverse, fragmented, and rapidly changing. It is a large industry (comparable to aerospace) and an early adopter. It comprises numerous different sectors and therefore 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.
Speeding up innovations
The diverse range of technology disciplines however slows down the innovation process. Cross-sectoral cooperation between universities, research centres, industries, and sports bodies could accelerate entrepreneurial behaviour, and improve the innovation climate. Effective knowledge transfer is inhibited by differences in culture and language between industry and academia. This also hampers academic staff to educate students with appropriate transversal skills.
A4SEE joins industry and sports engineering
The A4SEE programme hopes to assist in cross-fertilisation between industry and academia, to ensure that the rapid changes in the sports industry are mirrored in sports engineering education. For example, university courses in sports engineering could (and should) provide education on emerging technologies (e.g. big data, self-healing materials, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, etc.) or societal changes (e.g. demographics, sedentary behaviours, and so on). Furthermore, university graduates from sports engineering curricula need to possess the appropriate innovation and entre-preneurial skills (also ‘transversal skills’ or ‘21st-century skills’) to meet the needs of the sports industry.
We have created a consortium of academic and industrial partners to create an outstanding programme of both fundamental and applied teaching as well as practical experience in both summer and winter schools, an apprenticeship in companies, and a well-coordinated thesis programme. By this, the consortium can answer the increasing demand of the industry of well-educated sports engineers.