THE EUROPEAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS SCIENCE: Unifying Sport Science Research and Teaching in Europe

Stephen Seiler, Faculty of Health and Sport, Agder College.  Kristiansand, Norway.

Today Europe is in the middle of a struggle to redefine itself. Political boundaries have shifted, old alliances have dissolved, and new unions are forming. Eastern and Western Europe are becoming reacquainted. Similarly, European sport science is in a dynamic phase of development. Physical education and sport science are taught at the university level in most European countries, and enjoy unprecedented popularity among students. It is out of this dynamic atmosphere that the ECSS was conceived at a meeting of sport scientists in Hungary in June 1994, under the theme "East meets West". The European College of Sports Science was officially chartered in 1995 by 14 founding members from 11 countries. The official base of the ECSS is the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Koln (Cologne), Germany, the largest specialized sport university in Germany, with 6000 students.

What are the major goals for this new organization? ECSS's first president, Bengt Saltin, has suggested there are two.

First, the ECSS will attempt to enhance the communication between various subdisciplines of sport science at a time when science tends to become increasingly fractionated. Saltin stated in his presidential message in January 1996 that "we have to realize that regardless of whether we are practically or theoretically active in the field of sport science, we cannot function properly in this truly multidisciplinary area if we are not properly informed about developments in other sub-fields than those of our own primary attention."

Another goal is to promote cooperation among the smaller, resource limited countries of Europe that are not able to independently pursue all of the various subdisciplines that comprise the theory base of physical and sport education. This goal is being achieved in part via the growing ERASMUS and SOCRATES programs, which are designed to develop and promote a seamless educational crediting structure throughout Europe, and to facilitate educational exchange of teachers and students. These programs have already been instrumental in coordinating and developing various sport science curricula on the undergraduate and MSc level. Extensions to the PhD level are anticipated.

Membership of the college is currently divided into three classifications:

Two marquis representations of any academic society are an annual research congress and an official scientific publication. The first annual ECSS congress, "Frontiers in Sport Science", was held in Nice, France in May, 1996. It was attended by nearly 500 guests and speakers from 31 countries. Expectations are high for an even more successful 2nd annual meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark this August. On the publishing side, with several exercise/sports medicine-oriented journals already in existence, there has been careful consideration on whether to introduce yet another print-based journal, or adopt an existing journal as an official publication. According to sources within the ECSS, the decision has been recently made to launch a new journal, but a start date has not been announced.

The 2nd Annual Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark

The 2nd Annual Congress has the theme "Sport Science in a Changing World of Sport." Coinciding with the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Laboratory for the Theory of Gymnastics in Copenhagen, the congress will be held at the August Krogh Institute and surrounding facilities. The preliminary program and registration information for this year's congress can be obtained at the following address:

Secretariat: Helle Thomson | Jacqueline Mulder
August Krogh Institute, Universitesparken 13
DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
Tel:  +45 35 32 16 22
         +45 35 32 15 60
Fax: +45 35 32 15 67

This year's congress promises an excellent assembly of human performance researchers from throughout Europe. Feature lectures include "the Search for the Performance Gene" by Dr. Claude Bouchard from Laval University in Canada, and the "Ethics of Performance in sport" by John Hoberman from the University of Texas. Multidisciplinary themes include soccer, sailing, running, physical activity and capacity across the life span, and European diversity in sport and physical activity. Parallel specialized sessions in nutrition, physiology, biomechanics, humanities, sport sociology and behavior, and medicine hold true to the goal of a multidisciplinary meeting. Tutorial lectures and workshops on topics such as pH regulation during exercise, women in sports, coach-athlete interaction, modeling in sports, competitive sports among children, and methods of talent identification are some highlights of an overall program that is focused on sport performance topics, as opposed to health and preventive medicine issues that have grown to dominate the ACSM annual meeting.

Here are some dates to remember if you plan on attending:

April 15, 1997: Deadline for submission of abstracts to the 2nd Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science.

June 1, 1997: Notification of acceptance of abstracts

August 20-23: Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark · · Homepage · Copyright ©1997