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photograph Welcome to the Sports Edition of NU Connections

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, highlights the vision and keys to success to firmly position Newcastle as one of the best universities for sport in the UK.

The University is celebrating an outstanding year for our sports teams and student athletes, following a strong BUCS performance, international success and a record number of incoming sports scholars.  

We finished the 2016/17 season with 2,223 points, placing us 10th amongst 160 Higher Education institutions in the country. This excellent ranking means that we maintained our Top 10 performance from last year, and have now finished in the top 10 of the table in seven of the last 11 BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) seasons. This outstanding achievement reflects the commitment, passion and dedication of all our teams, student athletes and staff who have helped cement Newcastle among the best sporting universities in the UK. 

The top 10 finish follows on a record intake of Sports Scholars who helped establish the University as one of the best performance sport programmes in the country. At the beginning of the academic year, Team Newcastle welcomed 121 student athletes representing 27 different sports. 

The opportunity for students to participate in sport during their time at university plays a key part in the overall student experience. Working in partnership with NUSU we are committed to ensuring that opportunities exist for all students to engage with and enjoy sport and to reap the many benefits including promoting a healthy lifestyle and building the skills required to fulfil their personal and professional ambitions. A great example is NUSU’s Give it a Go programme of activities in and around Newcastle, which engaged a record number of students last year across 52 different sports taking place over the three terms. 

To support our vision to deliver an excellent sporting experience for all students, the University’s Council has approved an investment of almost £32m in sports facilities which, combined with a number of other projects, will enable us to continue to provide support to our top-performing teams and individual athletes and make sport more accessible to all students and staff.

The development of the existing sports centre at Richardson Road will enhance our facilities with an eight-court sports hall, four squash courts, a strength and conditioning suite and two exercise studios due to be in use by Autumn 2019. In addition the sports ground at Cochrane Park will be developed with the installation of three artificial turf pitches, together with an extension to the pavilion including more changing rooms and space for the rowing ergo facility for use in Autumn 2018. 

Newcastle is a place where academic experience and sporting excellence go hand in hand. We’re delighted to welcome the first intake of students starting the undergraduate BSc Sports and Exercise Science degree programme in September. Led by Professor Emma Stevenson, this degree programme will provide a strong scientific foundation in sport and exercise-related sciences and an understanding of how these relate to human performance and health.

Providing staff at the University with a range of sporting opportunities represents another area which we wish to grow. Our ambition is to increase Newcastle University staff participation in sport and exercise through the development of a suite of staff-led sports activities and encouraging staff to participate in local leagues and events. 

One of the key goals for sport at Newcastle University is to enhance the sporting offer by engaging with opportunities to build external partnerships. We are pleased that we’re an official partner to the Newcastle Falcons. This three-year strategic collaboration will see the University and the region’s only Premiership rugby club work together in the fields of sport education, training and research, and includes a jointly-funded Newcastle University PhD studentship based with Falcons staff at Kingston Park Stadium.

We are confident that these new developments, alongside our existing top class professional support, will serve to enhance the sport offer at Newcastle University and to nurture our existing outstanding sporting talent and attract gifted sportsmen and women to study at our world-class university.

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching



published on: 17th September 2017


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