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Improving our medal chances at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

A Memorandum of Understanding to signify a statement of intent to collaborate signed between the University of Brighton and the English Institute of Sport (EIS) is providing hands-on benefits for our sport and exercise science students.

The Memorandum of Understanding reflects the on-going support the university’s Environmental Extremes Lab Team are providing the EIS and associated national teams as they prepare for the heat of Tokyo at the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Third year Sport and Exercise Science BSc(Hons) dissertation students are currently involved in eight research projects around the themes of acute and chronic heat alleviation which has been identified by the EIS as priority for improving our chances of securing medals in 2020.

Working on the projects offers the students a great opportunity to make a difference while tackling real challenges and helping improve their CV and future employability. The students have moved from the conception and development stage to the main experimental testing at the beginning of this year and will be presenting their findings to EIS practitioners at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre in March.

Students involved in the eight projects are Raul Campoy, Ben Fawley, Iona O’Shea, Charlotte Hardy, Tom Jansons, Luke Row, Harry Cook, Ellie Hogg, Sami Huseyin, James Sinfield, Jack Blenkarn, Dan Littler, James Corrall, Dan Burford, Frank Lamdin, Josh Hill, Chris Barker, Kukena Kaindama and Amelia Monkcom

As part of the on-going support we have been providing the EIS, Dr Mark Hayes and Dr Ash Willmott delivered a presentation to the GB Hockey Team in October 2018 about Pre and Per (During Exercise) Cooling Strategies to optimise performance in Tokyo 2020.  This led to discussions with support staff from the England Rugby Team who were attending the meeting about their heat strategy ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Tokyo. Mark and other members of the Environmental Extremes Lab Team have now been reviewing and advising on the finer details of the England Team’s preparations.

Arrangements the university has with external partners, like the one we have with the EIS, offer students the blend of science and practice, where they get the chance to develop the harder scientific and softer communication skills together. The students across the eight project teams have encountered a good number of hurdles in the last few months but a visit from Dr Emma Ross, Co-Head of Physiology for the EIS, helped them contextualise the problems athletes, coaches and practitioners face at an elite level. This exposure to what is essentially a form of problem-based learning is exactly what the students need to develop into the applied sport and exercise scientists of tomorrow, who can make a real difference across sport, health and occupational domains.

Take a tour of the university’s labs where the students will be carrying out their research:

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