UK Sport's Ideas4Innovation awards scheme granted Inspire Mark by London 2012

Published 18 February 2010


Applications Now Open For 2010 Prizes

Talented Scientists, Engineers and Inventors Encouraged To Make Their Mark On British Performances In 2012

UK Sport’s ‘Ideas4Innovation’ project has been granted the Inspire Mark, the badge of the London 2012 Inspire programme. The London 2012 Inspire programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Ideas4Innovation is an award scheme aimed at harnessing exceptional research concepts and proposals which, given sufficient funding and support, could improve British athletes’ performances at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and beyond. Since the scheme was launched in 2008, UK Sport has awarded three prizes of £25,000 to students and individuals to invest in the development of their idea.

Seb Coe, Chair, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games said: “We want to use the power of the Games to inspire change. The Inspire programme is recognising the work our partners all round the UK are doing to help us achieve this vision now – two and a half years out from the Games. I congratulate everyone involved in Ideas4Innovation for securing the Inspire Mark and wish you every success with your work.”

Chris West, a Sport Science graduate from Brunel University in London, was the inaugural winner of the Ideas4Innovation Award in 2008, for his idea for a performance enhancing device to be used by wheelchair-based athletes. Since his project was awarded the £25,000 research grant, he has worked with Britain’s elite Paralympic sports and athletes to realise his idea and has also begun to study for his PhD in Physiology at Brunel.

He said: “Since I won the Ideas4Innovation Award, I have completed an initial study to test the concept of my training aid, with some very exciting and encouraging results.  I am now in the process of a follow up study to determine the effect of the training aid on specific markers of athletic performance. 

“Winning the Award has given me the financial assistance from UK Sport but also access to their network of experts. This has allowed me to work with a wide range of Paralympic athletes from different sports, who all have the potential to benefit from my device. I plan to continue working closely with UK Sport to further develop my idea, which will hopefully boost the chances of British Paralympians winning medals in London in 2012. The Olympic and Paralympic games are drawing closer and the opportunity to be part of ‘the mission’ is a truly rewarding experience.”

To coincide with the Inspire Mark being awarded, UK Sport has today announced that applications are now open for the 2010 prize. There are two competitions; the New Researchers Award - aimed at final year and first year post graduate students - and the Garage Innovators Award - open to any member of the public with creative ideas that may have the potential to enhance the performance of British Olympic or Paralympic athletes.

Alison Macpherson, UK Sport’s Ideas 4 Innovation coordinator said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Britain’s talented engineers, scientists and inventors to get involved in helping British athletes succeed in 2012 and beyond. Your idea should be a novel concept, based on sound research, which could make a clear performance impact on Olympic or Paralympic sports and athletes. The idea should fill a gap in our current knowledge base and should not conflict with the rules and regulations of the sport. The idea could be related to any one of our four work streams; athlete equipment and accessories, coaching technologies, training science or performance medicine. If the idea can be applied to more than one sport, this is beneficial but not essential.”

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