Insight SFI Research Centre and DCU bring first-of-its-kind embedded research to highest level of English football
19 September 2023, Ireland: The Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics and Dublin City University (DCU) School of Health and Human Performance have announced a new partnership with the Premier League, offering to advance its research into academy coach development.
This is the first research project of its kind, designed to contribute to the Premier League’s coach development across academies using embedded research that will help to further develop coaching practices at the highest level.
‘The Premier League is partnering with Irish researchers for this project because we have a novel, consumable approach to elite sport research,’ said Dr Áine MacNamara, Chair of the Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance at DCU. ‘We provide a unique and sustained engagement with a philosophy of conducting research for – rather than about – sport. It’s an exciting collaboration.’
The Insight SFI Research Centre and the DCU School of Health and Human Performance are currently applying this groundbreaking model in projects with the GAA in Ireland and Premiership Rugby in the UK.
Dr Jamie Taylor of the School of Health and Human Performance in DCU explained how the research works: ‘Our embedded researcher will work in Premier League academies in an effort to advance coach development and make recommendations for future practice in Premier League coach development programmes.
‘In turn we will analyse data and research findings to develop an evidence base for informed practice in sports coaching. As well as impacting directly on coaching quality within the Premier League, the project will deliver research findings to key football stakeholders and disseminate knowledge through academic publications and conferences.’
Dr Stephen Behan of the Insight SFI Research Centre for Data Analytics, which has a strong track record in sports analytics, says: ‘The goal is to build a data-driven practice and policy approach to areas such as coach development, talent development, funding allocation, participation and supporting elite athletes.’
Sean Reed, Head of Coaching Support at the Premier League, emphasised the importance of the project. He said: “A focus for us is to ensure that the development is tailored to the coaches’ individual needs and relevant to their role and the environment they work in. We work closely with Clubs and the coaches to offer them support that will develop their skill and expertise. To ensure that we are developing coaching expertise in the professional game it is essential that we have a greater understanding for the demands of the game and the needs of the players across to pathway. As part of our ongoing research the project with DCU is an exciting opportunity to look further into the impact of coach development and how we can continue to improve the support that we provide to the coaches, the Clubs and the other stakeholders that we work with.”
Dr. Jamie Taylor is an Assistant Professor with the School of Health and Human Performance in Dublin City University.
Dr. Stephen Behan is an Assistant Professor with the School of Health and Human Performance in Dublin City University and is a funded investigator with the Insight SFI Research for Data Analytics.