Students, staff and guests gather at DCU’s Bi-Annual Elite Performance Conference

The bi-annual elite Performance Conference at DCU was held at DCU this week, 8th -12th January, where participants engaged in a day of networking, sharing research and making plans for the year ahead.

The attendees included people from the current MSc and Professional Doctorate, as well as alumni, staff and guests from sporting organisations such as Leinster GAA, who are currently undertaking a CPD project with the DCU Elite Performance team.

The Elite Performance Conference is now in its 4th year, following the launch of DCU’s Professional Doctorate in Elite Performance in 2019. 

This year, the day started with a keynote address from Danny Newcombe, Coach Development Management from the Premier League and Dr Mike Ashford, the lead on a collaborative project between DCU and the Premier League, exploring coach development across soccer academies.

The remainder of the day was dedicated to the research plans and progress of current MSc and ProfDoc cohorts. 

Students at the early stages of their studies took part in the “Making Sense” presentation block, summarising the rationale and literature behind one big research question pertinent to their current applied context. 

Individuals further into their research journey, had the opportunity to provide updates on their research progress during the "Making Progress" sessions. These students were able to share research findings to date, or explore some of the impact their research has had in their industry so far. 

Given the applied nature of the MSc and ProfDoc courses, all students are currently operating within high performance and pathway sport, spanning from GAA, Rugby, Soccer, Hockey, Cycling, Formula 1 and beyond. This diversity in backgrounds made for rich discussion opportunities during feedback sessions and breaks.

The day was rounded off with a session from  Dr Stephen Behan who shared his own unique journey. Dr. Behan's experiences ranged from a career as a carpenter to his continued involvement in the world of GAA performance. He transitioned into higher education, completing a Masters and PhD at DCU, providing valuable insights into navigating the academic landscape while maintaining a strong presence in the performance world.

For those interested in exploring the MSc or Professional Doctorate courses for a September 2024 start, or indeed considering some continuous professional development for their organisation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.