Sports research connects: the results of five years of research

8 June 2018

The research programme Sport presents its outcomes after five years. The 25 projects have yielded a great deal of knowledge and usable product innovations for improving sport performances, the role of sport in society and improving fitness and health. Researchers, stakeholders and users from industry and public bodies worked closely together to safeguard the connection between research and practice. The results of the research programme Sport have been brought together in a dynamic digital magazine that was presented to the bodies that commissioned the programme (The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Dutch Olympic Committee NOC*NSF, and The Taskforce for Applied Research NPRO SIA) and to the field of sport and exercise during the concluding meeting in Amersfoort on 11 June 2018.

Cover digital magazine 5 years Sports researchDigital magazine 5 years Sports research

Research programme Sport

The aim of the programme, which ran from 2012 to 2017, was to strengthen the scientific research area in the area of (top-class) sport and exercise, to produce high-quality and sustainable knowledge, and to deploy that in practice. The research was given a practical focus right from the start with stakeholders and users from relevant sectors participating in the projects. They were involved in the design and realisation of the projects and in the implementation and valorisation efforts. Chair of the Steering Group Cathy van Beek: ‘The programme Sport has yielded fantastic results over the past five years. There is now a strong infrastructure for Sports research, and science and practice now know to find each other far more easily.’

Pillars and projects

The research programme consisted of three pillars. In the pillar Participation, sports participation and its significance for society took centre stage. For example, Dr Martine Prange from Leiden University sought answers to the question as to what women's football as the fastest-growing sport in the world means for the emancipation of women. And how can footballing women be taken more seriously? In Performance, the second pillar, the optimisation of (top-class) sport performances and the facilitation of innovations took centre stage. At Radboud University, Dr Arne Nieuwenhuys and Prof. Michiel Kompier investigated the factor sleep. Sleep is one of the most important recovery mechanisms of the human body. Sleep is therefore vital for the performance of top athletes. One project found answers to questions such as how much sleep do top athletes need and how well do they sleep? And what can be done to alleviate any sleep problems? In the third pillar, Vitality, the focus was on facilitating vitality and health through sport and exercise. Dr Tim Takken of University Medical Center Utrecht investigated how young people with a motor development disorder could fully participate in sport and games, as for these children participation in sport cannot be taken for granted.

The results of the 25 projects can be found in the digital magazine that also includes columns from people such as top sailor Marit Bouwmeester, interviews with top athletes like Anna van der Breggen, facts and figures, and much, much more.

Research programme Sport and Exercise 2017-2020

A new research programme Sport and Exercise has already started for the period 2017 to 2020. Just like the Dutch National Research Agenda (such as in the route sport and exercise), this programme will also offer plenty of opportunities in the coming period for research in the area of sport and exercise.

More information


Source: NWO