06 June 2011

UK Sport’s Research & Innovation on skill acquisition

Funding opportunity for research into 'skill learning and retention' in elite athletes@UK Sport

UK Sport’s Research & Innovation team, along with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) are seeking research applicants who could potentially benefit elite athletes as part of the legacy following the London 2012 Games.

BBSRC, the UK's leading funding agency for academic research and training in the non-clinical life sciences, and UK Sport are keen to explore the understanding of the biological and psychological basis of skill learning and retention, with the ultimate aim of improved maintenance of an individual's skills base and improved training methodologies for elite athletes.

UK Sport’s Head of Research and Innovation, Dr Scott Drawer, said: “Elite athletes need to maintain a wide range of skills, and have the ability to acquire new ones during the course of their career. Understanding how elite athletes are able acquire and retain their skills will inform on the broader population as it faces the prospect of longer working lives and the continued introduction of new technologies within the home, work, and wider environments.”

Applicants are asked to consider one or more of the following challenges in their proposal, which must be submitted to BBSRC by 10 August:

How does cognitive capability interact with the social and physical environment to influence the development of skill and expertise, and are there markers for skill acquisition?
What cognitive and psychological factors facilitate an individual's ability to maintain a high level of performance, and what affects an individual's resilience?
How do we optimise the retention, as well as the learning and retraining of skills by an individual to maximise the performance and flexibility of their skill base?
To promote a multidisciplinary approach, ESRC has agreed to provide co-funding for suitable applications which fall partially within its remit.

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