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University/college joint venture will create Dundee’s first Academy of Sport

21 March 2013

Dundee is to get its very own Academy of Sport, thanks to a unique university and college joint venture.

The University of Abertay Dundee is joining forces with Dundee and Angus Colleges, which are due merge later this year, to create the new venture.

Abertay University has secured a grant of £2.7m from the Scottish Funding Council to help create the new Academy over the next three years.

The Dundee Academy of Sport will be the first venture of its kind in Scotland, enabling students to enrol and study on courses all the way from school-leaver right up to PhD level.  

The partners have plans to make it Scotland’s leading provider of sports education and research, with a range of state-of-the-art competitive, academic and recreational facilities for students and the community to be added over the next few years.

Abertay and the colleges will combine their existing strengths in sports education to form the new Academy, which will be based at Dundee College’s Gardyne Road campus in Dundee.

Abertay is one of the largest providers of university-level education in sport and exercise, with the widest range of courses of any institution in Scotland. Dundee College’s Gardyne Road campus already contains an extensive range of sporting and teaching facilities.

Both institutions have significant experience in working with local schools and the wider community – the expansion of which is seen as a central aim of the new Academy.  Links with local government and the voluntary sector are also an important part of the project.

Sports education staff at both institutions will become part of the new Academy, teaching everything from the Advanced Higher/Scottish Baccalaurate in physical education, right up to postgraduate and research degrees.

The new Academy will also widen access to higher education by staging annual summer camps for disadvantaged local youngsters, plus events at other locations in the city and region, designed to engage with adults who have not previously benefitted from any post-school education.

Abertay is also planning to offer training and development opportunities for sports teachers and professionals and volunteers within the region’s sporting and youth-work structures.

Professor Nigel Seaton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Abertay University, said:  “This is a highly significant and timely initiative for Abertay and for the City of Dundee.  Sports of all kinds are enjoying a boom thanks to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.  

“This gives us a great opportunity to engage with youngsters who might not otherwise have considered a university education, but also to encourage the take-up of sports among the wider community and to improve the skills of professionals working within sport across Scotland.

“Our aim is to make the new Academy the leading provider of sports education, research and sports science support in Scotland within 10 years, competing with the biggest providers in the UK as a global name in sport and exercise.

“By combining our existing strengths with the complementary assets of Dundee and Angus Colleges, we will be able to create something new and exciting that will take sports education in Dundee and across Scotland to a whole new level.”

Principal designate for Dundee and Angus College Christina Potter said: “We are delighted to partner with Abertay University in this unique venture. The sports facilities at the new Gardyne Campus are extensive and already act as a hub for the local community. Sport is an excellent way to engage with people, and to introduce the wider community to educational opportunities.

“Dundee and Angus Colleges both provide excellent Access and Introductory programmes in Sport, as well as Higher National programmes in Sports Coaching. Bringing these programmes together with the degree programmes offered by Abertay University will allow learners a seamless journey up to degree-level study. This is one of the main aims of the Scottish Government’s post-16 education reforms.”

Mark Batho, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “We are very pleased to support this exciting new Academy. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved through universities and colleges working together to combine their expertise and facilities. The Academy will provide students and the community with very high quality teaching and resources, as well as making further and higher education more accessible for people who would not traditionally consider this an option.”


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Notes for Editors

Abertay University offers seven degrees in the area of sport and exercise, the widest range of such courses available in Scotland. The courses are focussed on developing professionals with the skills needed to achieve in sports coaching, sport development, sport science, and physical activity and health.  Some courses offer joint degree options, combining sports studies with management, psychology or nutrition.  Abertay created the UK’s first degree in strength and conditioning, which trains graduates to develop individuals at risk of health problems, right up to elite athletes.

Dundee College offers a range of NQ, SVQ and HND courses in sports-related subjects, and its Gardyne campus, currently being redeveloped, contains a wide range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

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