Aims and Objectives


Aim

To stimulate an integrated multidisciplinary research response to address the problems associated with the interactions of sport players and the sport surfaces, for community and elite level across the full range of sports. The network will bring together for the first time a broad range of stakeholders, comprising academics, practitioners, and sport governing bodies to share ideas and consolidate current knowledge, discuss and formulate research needs, disseminate the outcomes and seek funding for the long-term benefit of this important topic.


Objectives

The proposed network is unique in its balance of research and practice, and in its focus on bringing together a broad range of experts with specific intent to advance the science and understanding of player-surface interactions and innovate the better engineering of surfaces to benefit play and users´ health.

The specific objectives of the network are:

  • to create a new interdisciplinary sports surfaces community
  • to host stimulating meetings/workshops open to all interested parties/stakeholders including a new conference dedicated to this subject area
  • to transfer ideas, techniques, models and technology between researchers and practitioners
  • to produce multidisciplinary research proposals
  • to disseminate the network outcomes widely

Three major themes were identified by the ´Surfaces´ focus group that met at the EPSRC workshop ´Thinking About Sport´ at Loughborough University in December 2003. These were, Performance Requirements, Integrated Design, and Longevity/Sustainability. These have since been rationalised into the two criteria of ´User Performance´ and ´Facility Performance´. To demonstrate the complexity of each criterion the factors considered to contribute to performance are listed, for User Performance these are: player expectation/requirements, sport type, skill level, play type/motion, shoes/equipment, ball-surface behaviour, biomechanical response, fitness, injury risk. For Surface Performance the factors are: materials (and their interaction), construction process, quality control, performance tests/standards, proposed use, life/usage, degradation & maintenance effects, sustainability (whole-life cycle), refurbishment/replacement, climatic factors and irrigation, and longevity/monitoring.