Experts at the University of Stirling will research and promote education in sport as part of a new £350,000 collaboration with European partners.
Dr Hee Jung Hong, of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, will study the support available for ‘dual career’ athletes – those who balance their commitment to their sporting career, education and future employment. An expert in sports career transition – life after sport – Dr Hong is working with colleagues in Poland, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Portugal and Spain on the new study.
Funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus Plus programme, the project has even greater significance at Stirling – the UK Sports University of the Year and Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence – where many scholars are balancing performance sport with their studies.
Dr Hong said: “The topic of dual career support is crucial for the University of Stirling, as we have a number of athletes who are planning ahead for their future careers by focusing on both sport and academia.
“This specific project will target junior athletes – those between 15 and 19 years old – to understand the challenges they face in combining sport and education and how they can overcome them. We will also look at how different countries approach dual career issues with junior athletes – and create a good practice database to enable transfer to other countries.
“Finally, we will educate junior athletes and those who support them in dual career opportunities by providing online and offline tools for improving awareness.”
The project has five key objectives: to raise awareness of long-term planning of sports careers, education and employment among junior athletes; to inform junior athletes of opportunities to balance sport and education; to emphasise dual career importance to those who support junior athletes; to recognise good practice in developing dual careers in junior athletes; and to make junior athletes aware of the transferable skills they can develop during their sporting careers which can be used in future employment.
The three-year project will begin in January and also involves: project lead, the National Research Institute (Poland); the Slovenian University Sport Association; the Portuguese Olympic Athletes Association; Margherita Sport E Vita (Italy); Universidad Isabel I Foundation (Spain); and the EAS Segas Cyclades (Greece). It is funded by the Erasmus Plus Collaborative Partnerships programme, which is designed to contribute to European Union strategies in the field of sport.
The University of Stirling has been Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence since 2008 and is The Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide’s UK Sports University of the Year 2020. The University offers an unrivalled all-round environment for excellence in sport: education, research, participation, and performance.