Representatives from 11 of the UK’s leading universities gathered in Bedfordshire on Wednesday 12 March 2014 for the inaugural University Accreditation Scheme (UAS) Forum, hosted by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD).
The UAS recognises the positive work of an academic institution in promoting clean sport and reflects a university’s culture, policies, practices, research and education relating to anti-doping.
Delegates came together at the University of Bedfordshire to share ideas and learning from their experiences of the scheme, plus offer assistance to those looking to join. In addition, UKAD highlighted the resources available to support institutions with their programmes.
UKAD Next Generation Education Officer Matthew Perry began the day with an overview of UAS, including the demands expected to achieve ‘accredited’, ‘advanced’ and ‘elite’ status. Following this, attendees from universities including, Loughborough University, University of Bath and University of Birmingham delivered a series of short presentations, highlighting on the elements of their UAS programmes which have been successful.
The afternoon session provided the opportunity for debate and discussion in smaller groups, chaired by a member of UKAD staff. Topics included: working with the National Governing Bodies of sport (NGBs), developing the student experience, and enhancing the UAS programme. Delegates were also given the opportunity to network and share best-practice.
The forum concluded with presentations from UKAD staff on promoting the scheme, plus an update on the revised World Anti-Doping Code, which comes into effect on 1 January 2015.
University of Birmingham Performance Sport Manager Alex Taylor said: “The UAS Forum meeting was a great opportunity to share ideas on how to get the message out across higher education - be it through student ambassadors or decision tress. We are all working towards a common goal to achieve a clean sport environment – one that ensures a level-playing field for all.”
Team Bath Sport Science Placement Student Abigail Irvin added: “It was brilliant to see so many different institutions coming together to work towards a common goal. Seeing the passion people have for the work they are doing really inspired me to continue pursuing such an important goal.”
UKAD Head of Education and Athlete Support Amanda Batt added: “Universities have the ability to influence the attitudes and behaviours of the next generation of athletes, coaches and wider athlete support personnel. They are also home to many of our current elite athletes. For them to take a leading role in preventing doping is extremely encouraging and we look forward to continuing to work with each institution to ensure they have the support and resources required to promote clean sport.”