Team GB and Higher Education

According to a recent study, reported in the Times Higher Education this week, 55% of all the athletes in team GB are university graduates, or currently studying for their degree. This is higher than the overall UK population participation rate of 49%.

The research also points out that a fifth of team GB studied at just five universities, and that within some sports, such as hockey, the level of degree attainment in team GB is 90%. Read the full report here.

The University of East London is proud of our own student athletes on team GB for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Gemma Gibbons, a graduate student at UEL has won a silver medal in judo.  We will also be cheering for Ali Jawad who will be powerlifting in the Paralympics.

For a complete run down of UEL’s talented student athletes, please click here.

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Michelle Obama visit to UEL

The University of East London was very pleased to host the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama on the opening day of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralymic Games. Michelle Obama has been leading the USA Presidential delegation to the games, and expressed her admiration for UEL’s state of the art SportsDock which has been the main training centre for team USA during the games.

For more information, please click here.

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National Identity, Knowledge about Countries Intergroup Attitudes, Competitiveness and Sport Participation of Newham Pupils in the Run-up to the 2012 Olympics: Baseline Study

A study conducted by Virginia Lam at UEL has recently been conducted examining the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and their impacts on notions of national identity, sports participation and knowledge about countries among primary school children in East London.

There is surprisingly little systematic academic research into the link between group identity (including national identity such as Britishness) and sport participation although it has been discussed by numerous scholars. With the London Olympics looming, the sense of national belonging among the British public has likely become heightened. This study investigated Newham children’s and adolescents’ British and ethnic self-identity, knowledge about in-(British) and out-group (foreign) countries, and attitudes towards their people, competitive attitude and sport participation in the year running up to the Games.

Over 400 pupils aged 5-15 years were tested using standardised measures. Results show that strength of British identity declined towards later childhood (from 8-9 years) whereas that of ethnic identity remained relatively stable with age. Knowledge about countries increased with age, while British-born pupils were more knowledgeable about Britain. Pupils’ liking for, and stereotypes of, different nationalities did not differ at age 5-6 years, but diverged from 8-9 years, even though liking for different nationalities converged again at age 14-15, when pupils stereotypes of the groups were most different. Pupils showed increasingly negative stereotypes of the British, but nevertheless preferred them as one of the most liked groups with age.

Both competitiveness and sport participation decreased with age, but the type of activities they played varied as a function of age, gender (e.g., football became vastly more popular than any other sport with age, particularly among boys) and ethnicity (cricket was particularly popular among Asian pupils). Pupils with lower family affluence reported the greatest discrepancies between generic and recent participation, indicating they are afforded fewer opportunities to play sport. Those with a stronger sense of British identity tended to like the British more, but not necessarily also stereotype them more positively nor like foreign groups less. These findings are discussed in the light of follow-up research with the same pupils being planned for the post-Olympic period (autumn 2012).

The preliminary findings (from primary school schools) had been presented as a poster at the UEL Undergraduate Research Internship awards evening in October 2011 (see blog in November 2011). The full study’s initial findings were presented in an invited talk by Virginia at the Centre of Psychiatry, Queen Mary, in April 2012 and have been accepted for oral presentation at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference of Developmental Psychology (Glasgow) in September. The full paper is being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal, and a non-technical report for participating schools is available here.


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Congratulations Professor MacRury

Just a quick note of congratulations to one of our regular mega-event studies contributors who has now been made a Professor by the University of East London. Prof. Iain MacRury has been instrumental in establishing the excellent Olympic studies and Olympic publishing record here at the University of East London.

To see Prof. Iain MacRury’s profile, please click here.

Congratulations Prof. Macrury!

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UEL welcomes Dr. Valerie Viehoff

Here at the University of East London we are pleased to announce that a new colleague will be joining us at the end of this month to contribute to our Olympic and megaevent research activity. I would like to take this opportunity to give Dr. Viehoff a big welcome!

Dr. Valérie Viehoff studied Geography in Germany (Bonn and Mainz), France (Dijon) and completed her PhD at University College London (UK). Her main research interests lie in urban geography, urban development and sporting mega-events, issues of water supply systems and provision of urban infrastructure, nature and society and (urban) political ecology with a regional focus on Western Europe and North Africa.  Before joining UEL she worked as a lecturer at the University of Cologne and was part of the Organising Committee of the International Geographical Congress (IGC 2012).  She used to row for the German national team and won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Dr. Valerie Viehoff

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Congratulations UEL – medalist in the Podium Awards

At the recent Podium Awards, UEL was awarded two bronze medals in recognition of the university’s contribution to the upcoming London 2012 Games. The Podium Awards are a prestigious, one-off celebration which recognises the importance of higher and further education institutions in helping to deliver the games.

L-R: Dr. Yang Li, Prof. Allan Brimicombe, Prof. Keith Gilbert, Dr. Iain MacRury, Nirmal Borkhataria

UEL has been awarded bronze medals in two separate categories: The British Council Award for Innovative International Collaboration (higher education only) and the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Award for Exceptional Research Contribution. The medals were awarded to UEL for Games-time partnership with Team USA and its London-Rio: Olympic Cities research into the Olympic and Paralympic legacy for mega event host cities, respectively.

L-R: Dr. David Cosford, Sara Hazzard, Prof. Patrick McGhee (Vice Chancellor), Selena Bolingbroke, Nirmal Borkhataria, Gareth Greene, Mary Nicholls.

For more information about the awards, please click here for the UEL press release, and here for more information about Podium.

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Rio-London: Olympic Cities Symposium – update and presentations

Rio-London: Olympic Cities Symposium held in Rio de Janeiro on 28 and 29 March

On the 28 and 29 March a major event took place in Rio de Janeiro organised by London-Rio: Olympic Cities partnership- University of East London (UEL), the Architectural and Urban Technology Research Nucleus of the University of São Paulo (NUTAU/USP) and Rio’s Gama Filho University (UGF) – under the title “Rio-London: Olympic Cities Symposium   and Inter-Universities and Base Cities for the 2013, 2014 and 2016 Mega Events Base Cities Panel”.  The event attracted 700 registrations from academics in Brazilian universities and from entities involved in the planning process in the base cities of the 2013 World Workers’ Games, 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.  32 Brazilian universities contributed between them 58 papers to the afternoon sessions.  It was webcast and 550 people watched online. In addition, audiences watched the webcast symposium in designated venues situated in 10 of the 12 base cities for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In the morning sessions of both days the symposium explored the social impacts and legacy of mega events with particular reference for London 2012 and their implications for city building and urban regeneration for both London and Rio.  In the afternoon sessions, the inter-university and mega event base cities panel component of the event addressed the question ‘What should be the contribution of Rio de Janeiro universities to the challenges of knowledge production in relation to the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games?’  They focussed in particular on their role the professional training of personnel in response to the job creation potential of mega events.

Member of the Rio de Janeiro State Legislative Assembly and Chair of its Special Commission for Studying the Legacy of the 2014 and 2016 mega events, Nilton Salomão, addressing the audience during the opening ceremony of the  Rio-London: Olympic Cities Symposium.  On his left is Professor Lamartine DaCosta (UGF/UEL), coordinator of the Symposium and on his right is Dr. Vitor Lippi, Mayor of the city of Sorocaba in the State of São Paulo, representing the base cities the 2014 and 2016 mega events. 

To read more, please click here…..

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