UK Sport’s Research and Innovation team will be searching for ideas that could impact on British athletes’ performances at Olympic and Paralympic Games beyond 2012 via this year’s Ideas4Innovation competition.
Ideas4Innovation is an award scheme aimed at harnessing exceptional research concepts and proposals which, given sufficient funding and support, could improve British athletes’ performances. Since the scheme was launched in 2008, UK Sport has awarded six prizes of research and development funding of up to £25,000 to students and individuals to invest in their ideas.
Now, with less than 550 days to go to the start of the London 2012 Games, the team is seeking new ideas from Britain’s scientists and engineers in the fields of athlete equipment and accessories, coaching technologies, training science or performance medicine, which could give Britain’s Olympians or Paralympians the edge over their rivals at the Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 or in Rio in 2016.
UK Sport’s Head of Research and Innovation, Dr Scott Drawer, said:
“In our constant battle to remain one step ahead of the competition, our work is increasingly now looking beyond 2012 and towards evolving our ideas for the next Olympic cycle. Now is a fantastic time to be looking ahead to Sochi and Rio, with plenty of time to test the robustness and performance impact of the concept.
“Essentially this means even if your idea or concept is in its infancy, as long as there is clear rationale and evidence base behind it, we will consider it for investment in this year’s Ideas4Innovation research fund.
“Of course if you think your idea is at a more advanced stage, and could impact on performances in 2012, we still want to hear from you – we’re used to reacting rapidly if we think we can make a difference.”
Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Gold Medalist and Ideas4Innovation 2011 Ambassador Amy Williams, said:
“Creative thinking by some very clever scientists and engineers meant that I went to the Games in Vancouver among the best equipped and prepared athletes out there, which gave me great confidence going into the competition.
“If you think you could apply your knowledge and experience to helping British athletes like me achieve success in Sochi 2014 or the summer Games in Rio in 2016, UK Sport wants to hear your ideas. Ideas4Innovation is a fantastic way to get involved.
“For me, it’s great to see a project that was inspired by the London 2012 Games generating ideas and concepts in legacy for British summer and winter sport athletes for years to come.”
Students are encouraged to apply via the ‘New Researchers’ entry route, while others outside of higher education can apply via the ‘Garage Innovators’ application process. Entries for the 2011 Ideas4Innovation Awards will close on Friday 8 July. The applicants with the top eight ideas will be invited to UK Sport’s offices in London on Thursday 4 August to present their ideas to an expert panel, and will win a £500 prize. Any idea which the panel believes has the potential to make a significant performance impact on British athletes could win up to £25,000 in research funding to help turn their idea into a reality.