The British teamís success in the Beijing Olympics revealed the nationís strength in sporting excellence. To build upon this strength and support the quest for gold in future World Championships, the GB sports governing bodies and research councils have identified the opportunity for engineering and physical science disciplines to support and interact with the sports community during training. Not only will this generate innovative training solutions and sports equipment designs to secure competitive advantage for GB athletes, it will also contribute to obtaining an understanding of the biology of athletic performance to gain insights into the human physiological system which will improve the health and wellbeing of the population at large.
To meet these objectives ESPRIT proposes four key research themes: Generalised Body Sensor Networks; Optimised Sensor Design and Embodiment; Learning, Data Modelling and Performance Optimisation; and Device and Technology Innovation. Very concrete deliverables, including advanced multi-sensor systems, bio-sampling and analysis, data manipulation, and modelling linking physiological and psychological performance parameters, are detailed in the research theme descriptions annexed to this document. Furthermore, specific and practical sports and healthcare exemplars are proposed and described in two further annexes.
The team behind ESPRIT consists of a multi-disciplinary cohort with complementary skills in body sensor networks, pervasive computing, smart textiles, biochemistry, biomechanics, mechanical engineering, automation, sports performance research and complex system modelling. Together, they are already engaged in Research Council funded projects valued at £15m and research funded from other sources worth £40m. This represents an annual research activity of circa £10m and demonstrates a level of experience appropriate for undertaking the ESPRIT programme. The ESPRIT programme brings the opportunity not just to underpin continuing success at Olympic and other international sporting events, but to provide a legacy that will extend achievements in sport towards technological transformations in healthcare, wellbeing and chronic disease management.