RAE is not a fair game 2

January 15, 2009

Your disturbing facts about sport and the RAE are pointed, highly relevant and continue to reinforce one's view that this country still has some way to go in its approach to sport.

In my experience, the dearth of funding is indeed a worrying reality; so much so that I feel sport-specific research funding bids too often result in only one outcome: failure. This is hardly surprising because, as a nation, we often struggle to effectively fund sport itself, let alone the academic study of it.

Nevertheless, the consequences are largely the same: just as some sports find themselves struggling to develop, so sport in British universities in general remains consigned to the margins of research activity. Adding to the sense of marginalisation, one also still gets the impression that sport is still not really considered by many as being worthy of serious study. This is naive in the extreme, and completely dismissive of the economic, commercial, social, cultural and health aspects of sport.

If British universities are to compete with other universities for European Union funds, and are to take advantage of the opportunities that the 2012 Olympic Games will inevitably bring, then a concerted effort has to be made to bring sport in from the margins.

Let us hope that the research excellence framework, the research funding bodies and British universities are up to addressing this challenge and prove capable of stimulating a meaningful and enduring investment in the intellectual development of sport in this country.

Simon Chadwick, Coventry University Business School.

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