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Nordic sports science told to up its game

Sports science in the Nordic countries is not innovative enough and the institutions doing it are too isolated from each other, according to a report commissioned by the Academy of Finland and published on 8 February.

The report recommends that sports science institutions in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland boost innovation by developing collaborative programmes with coaches and athletes at elite training centres. It also recommends that more research should focus on elite athletes.

Another concern is the lack of researcher mobility within sport sciences. “Nordic-wide, nearly 75 per cent of the units reported no visits to another unit or less than one each year of up to three months by one of their researchers. Also, except for Denmark, only about 50 per cent of units reported any scientists visiting their unit between 2006 and 2010”, the report states.

The lack of mobility is a cause for concern say the expert panel which authored the report. “In many cases, these researchers have spent most of their careers in the same institutions where they received their education”, they note.

The report studied 97 research units from across the five countries in the period 2006-2010.