Policymakers and international academics will convene in São Paulo (Brazil) this week to determine how sports mega-events can improve physical education and youth sport in Brazil. Focusing on the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the conference will produce guidelines for the Brazilian Ministry of Sport, as they seek to ensure a fruitful legacy for both school and youth sport following the Games.

The two-day conference has been organised in partnership with the University of Birmingham, UK, the Brazilian Ministry of Sport, Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho (UNESP) and the British Council. Various panels will consider national and international expertise and the key levers to achieving a lasting benefit from the Olympics to the whole of Brazil.

Keynote speakers at the event include Dr Jonathan Grix, Director, Sport Policy Centre, University of Birmingham; Andre Arantes, Director of Grassroots Sport and High Performance, Brazilian Ministry of Sport; and Professor José Barela, Department of Physical Education, UNESP.

The conference will cover such issues as the promotion of health, participation and values, talent identification and physical education policies elsewhere in the world, with contributions made by researchers from Brazil, UK, USA, Canada, Germany and Belgium. These experts will then be called upon to contribute towards recommendations that will assist the Brazilian Ministry of Sport in leveraging their mega-events to improve school sport and youth sport.

The event this week forms part of a four-year partnership the University has signed with the Ministry of Sport in Brazil, whereby Birmingham’s newly formed Sport Policy Centre is advising the Ministry on sport policy development. The collaboration also includes joint research projects and opportunities for elite Brazilian athletes to benefit from an array of sport science support services at the University.

Sport Policy Centre

Birmingham is a leading world university in sport, exercise and health – ranked first in the UK for research. The University has seen its links with Brazil go from strength to strength over recent years with significant investment in place to support engagement with Brazilian partners.

Conference organiser Dr Jonathan Grix, Director, Sport Policy Centre, University of Birmingham, said:

“This conference marks the culmination of two years of collaboration between the University of Birmingham, the Ministry of Sport, UNESP and the British Council. The concrete outcomes will be guidelines by global experts on how best to utilise the unique double-host status of Brazil, which saw the hosting of the World Cup this year and the Olympics in 2016.

“The Sport Policy Centre is extremely proud to be involved in this collaboration with one of the University of Birmingham’s key strategic partners. Given the success of the relationship, we envisage a similar collaborative event around the time of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.”

The conference – Sports Mega-events, Physical Education and Sport in Schools – takes place at UNESP on Monday 3 November and Tuesday 4 November.


Notes to Editors

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  • Journalists are welcome to attend the conference. For a full programme and to register, please contact Professor Jose Barela on jose.barela@cruzeirodosul.edu.br The event will also be broadcast via www.tv.unesp.br/esportenaescola
  • The Sport Policy Centre (SPC) at the University of Birmingham seeks to promote a multidisciplinary and multiplatform approach to sport policy issues. Based in the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences (SportexR), one of the UK’s leading departments, it offers a vehicle through which to showcase the School’s policy-relevant research. In addition, the SPC and its staff offer expert consultancy, PhD opportunities, an innovative MSc programme and media comment.
  • The University of Birmingham’s engagement with Brazil won the Outstanding International Strategy Award in the 2014 Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs).
  • Working with key stakeholders including government agencies, leading research institutions, HEIs and industry, Birmingham has developed flourishing partnerships that have led to enhanced grant capture, increased joint publications, increased student enrolments and plans to enhance education collaboration and mobility. Partners in Brazil particularly welcomed Birmingham’s investment of £2 million over three years as a sign of the University’s long-term commitment to Brazil.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 4,000 international students from nearly 150 countries.
  • The University collaborates with partners across the world to produce ground-breaking research, deliver innovative teaching, and to create opportunities for students and staff to gain international experience. Although Birmingham’s partnerships are wide ranging and span all continents, the University has identified Brazil, China, India and North America as key strategic regions in which they wish to develop more focused engagement.