Value of collaboration between universities and sportstech start-ups highlighted by ASTN report

The Australian Sports Technologies Network (ASTN) has released its inaugural report Power of University Partnerships which serves to highlight the importance of collaboration between sportstech founders, technologists, and entrepreneurs with higher education institutions to increase innovation across the sportstech sector.

The ASTN report revealsa a list of over 120 professors, researchers, sportstech industry engagement leaders, and other leaders who are recognised as experts in their field. The report also includes over 30 internship and student placements programs, as well as the over 20 top research centres for sports and technology innovation.

As the peak body for sports technology and innovation, ASTN has recognised that a major challenge facing entrepreneurs, start-ups and SME businesses is how to find and connect with specialist academic expertise and navigate the complex university landscape.

Dr Martin Schlegel, Executive Chair, ASTN believes that local sportstech businesses and higher education institutions that are not yet collaborating in this space are missing out on many opportunities.

“We see a significant opportunity for the 700+ companies across Australia’s sports innovation economy to actively work more closely and meaningfully with Australian universities, researchers and students. Our Power of University Partnerships report creates a starting point for companies to track down and directly engage with suitable education leaders aligned to their vision,” Dr Schlegel said. “ASTN is passionate about connecting the dots to make it easier for local sportstech companies to seamlessly collaborate with universities to access world-class experts helping to build internal know-how and increase capabilities.”

Dr Schlegel believes that collaboration between sportstech businesses and higher education institutions provides a raft of benefits for both parties.

“Enabling partnerships for universities and sportstech businesses is a win-win for everyone. The business gains access to existing research, bright minds, as well as state-of-the-art facilities and equipment,” he said. “The university can offer student internships and student industry placements – which is also a powerful channel to help train and access the next generation of leaders.

“Leveraging our universities’ talent, capabilities and resources can provide an extraordinary opportunity for the Australian sports innovation ecosystem over the next decade in readiness for the Brisbane 2032 Summer Olympic Games, especially in emerging industries and advanced technologies,” Dr Schlegel added.

Research has always emphasised the value of diversity of thought and collaboration across sectors to drive innovation. A piece of work by Prof Jerry Engel of UC Berkeley Haas School found that global clusters of innovation comprised of start-ups, small-to-medium and large corporate organisations, universities, professional services firms, capital investors and government form, act, and grow in supporting and enabling the commercialisation of technologies.

“If you are a start-up and you’re not sure where to begin, we encourage you to get in touch with ASTN for guidance and support to help you to take that next step,” Dr Schlegel urged. “The ASTN team can point you in the right direction to start the conversation with relevant university leaders. Alternatively, universities often have Industry Engagement Officers that can assist in connecting you with the most suitable contact.”