Research programme Sport strengthens sports research

2 October 2017

The research programme Sport strengthens scientific and multidisciplinary research in the area of sport and exercise. The intended collaboration between the fields of sport and healthcare has been realised and that has already led to a lot of valuable knowledge, innovations and products for everyday practice. These are several conclusions made by Bureau Bartels in the final evaluation of the research programme Sport. This programme was jointly developed, co-financed and realised by NWO Domain SSH, NWO Domain TTW and ZonMw, in collaboration with the Taskforce for Applied Research (NRPO SIA).

‘Within the 25 research projects realised, a lot of valuable scientific knowledge in the area of sport and exercise has been and is still being developed’, concludes Bartels in its report. Furthermore, the knowledge developed in almost every research project has contributed in its own way to the realisation of specific programme objectives as well as the objectives of the three programme pillars: Performance, Participation and Vitality.


The research programme Sport has realised a unique basis for multidisciplinary scientific sports research. In the report, the interviewed project leaders indicated that the programme has resulted in more tangible and increased structural collaboration between scientific disciplines and between different knowledge institutes.

The intended collaboration with the field has also been realised, states Bartels. That has already yielded a lot of valuable knowledge, innovations and interventions in daily practice. In the near future, further efforts will continue to be made to disseminate, implement and valorise the knowledge acquired and the innovations and interventions developed. The results are highlighted on the programme's website (see as well as in its newsletters.

Creating mass in sports research

Throughout its duration, the research programme Sport has certainly contributed to more mass in sports research, concludes Bureau Bartels. Thanks to the collaboration between different funding bodies, more money has specifically become available for sports research. However, project leaders also stated that they are unsure as to whether this funding will continue to be available in the future. A positive development is the continued joint investment in sports research via the new research programme Sport and Exercise. This new programme specifically connects with the themes stated in the Knowledge Agenda Sport and Exercise as well as the Dutch National Research Agenda route Sport and Exercise. With the development of this knowledge agenda and this Dutch National Research Agenda route, the researchers, together with the field of sport, have realised a further focus on sports research for the near future. This means that several recommendations stated by Bureau Bartels in its final evaluation have already been responded to.

Timing evaluation

The final evaluation was meant to provide insights into the extent to which the programme objectives have been realised and what the provisional scientific and societal outcomes of the projects are. However, the evaluation took place at a time when most of the projects had not yet been fully completed. This was done to ensure that the results could be included in the policy audit Sport of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and in the design of the new research programme in the area sport and exercise.
Accordingly, the evaluation does not yet provide a complete picture, but it does give a good indication of the current outcomes of the programme.

The research programme
On behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Netherlands Olympic Committee*Netherlands Sports Confederations, the research programme Sport was realised between 2012 and 2017 with the aim of strengthening scientific research in the area of sport and exercise and developing high-value and sustainable knowledge for the field of sport. The programme was an initiative of NWO Domain SGW, NWO Domain TTW and ZonMw. It was realised in collaboration with the Taskforce for Applied Research (NRPO SIA).

Further information

Source: ZonMw