Steel city plans the full monty for Britain's sports

December 26, 1997

CELEBRATIONS were at full tilt in Sheffield last week with the announcement that the UK Sports Institute is to be based there.

The two-year long bid was strongly supported by the city's two universities. Jack Hobbs, assistant principal of Sheffield Hallam and project steering group chair, said the collaboration had paid off. "The key is knowing when to work together and when to compete," he said.

The two universities already run the Institute of Sport and Medicine and have jointly funded 60 research studentships over four years. There are also joint masters degree courses in sport and related disciplines.

The universities have asked the Higher Education Funding Council for 600 more students and is planning to expand research and postgraduate activities. "One of the criteria for extra student numbers is the regional impact and we predict this will be considerable," Dr Hobbs said.

The capital investment of about Pounds 60 million is expected to create 1,700 job years in construction and more than 1,000 permanent new jobs for the region. Economic regeneration is an important part of the project, which aims to transform Sheffield from a valley of steel to a valley of sport.

Sheffield would become a world-recognised centre of excellence for sports research. Sports psychology, exercise physiology, sports medicine and nutrition and drug issues will all gain a significant boost as a result of the win, Dr Hobbs said.

National standards will be set for the development of coaching, technical, medical and scientific services to elite performers.

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