How? For example, by jointly developing a ‘Utrecht model’ for team and community building that organizations from within and outside the sport can use. The partners also want to work with involvement, fitness and inclusiveness in the Utrecht population.
The healthiest region in the Netherlands
Utrecht has the ambition to grow into the healthiest region in the Netherlands and offer opportunities for everyone. The collaboration between the football club and the university must become a flywheel for growth and development and be a source of inspiration for a public-private collaboration, where also the municipality, province, UMC Utrecht and the business community can be involved.
Social and sporting activities
Two research projects have already started from the partnership. For example, FC Utrecht and Utrecht University are working with the local football club SVO De Dreef in Overvecht to see what social and sporting activities can bring different groups of people in the neighborhood together.
It takes place in a so-called living lab in the Overvecht district. A test site where researchers, students and the social partners work together in the local football club’s practice and together search for solutions. For example, FC Utrecht coaches, together with involved organizations from the neighborhood, provide sports facilities and support, while researchers from the university develop a ‘dashboard’ that provides insight into community building through sport.
Team spirit and team performance
The second project, which has already started, focuses on team spirit research and team performance. Researchers advise the staff of FC Utrecht with the aim of improving team performance in talent recognition, talent development and player guidance. Unique to this project is the connection between knowledge of talents and teams in sports on the one hand and knowledge of human capital and organizational science on the other. Researchers from Utrecht University will actively and broadly share their knowledge and skills in different ways.
The collaboration provides an opportunity to examine complex issues across disciplinary boundaries. The partnership and the associated co-creation provide an opportunity to create new platforms, to develop education for professionals and for education and research to take place in a ‘real environment’.
FC Utrecht has for many years implemented social programs in the city and the region, aimed at inclusion and vitality. In addition, the club wants in the coming years to fully focus on the development of the Sports Campus and cooperation with sports clubs in the area under the name Traiectum. The innovation platform FC Utrecht Next, a network of knowledge institutions and innovative companies, launched by the club, wants to combine knowledge and strength.
“This is unique in the world,” says Frank van Eekeren, project manager at the university. “Utrecht really sticks out its neck. To connect top sports with creating social impact, with so many different partners, each with their own knowledge and experience. It’s really special.”
Reduce the gap
Performance and talent development in a healthy living environment are important topics for the club, the region and for science. Together, Utrecht University and FC Utrecht strive, among other things, to reduce the gap between highly educated, wealthy Utrecht residents and lower educated fellow citizens with fewer social opportunities. They want to contribute to more connectedness and help ensure that all Utrecht residents feel at home in their city.
Anton Pijpers, Chairman of the Executive Board of Utrecht University: “FC Utrecht is a wonderful organization that we as Utrecht University are very happy to work with.” “Utrecht has the ambition to become the healthiest region in the Netherlands and to offer opportunities for all. The collaboration between the football club and the university can be a flywheel for growth and development and hopefully be a source of inspiration for a public-private partnership where the municipality, province, UMC Utrecht and business can also be involved. “
By: National Education Guide