Olympic silver medallist and former double World Cross Country Champion, John Treacy, today (Friday, 10 July) officially launched NUI Galway’s B.E. in Sports & Exercise Engineering.
The degree programme, which incorporates significant elements of Anatomy, Physiology, and Mechanical Engineering with a major in Electronic Engineering, puts particular emphasis on ambulatory monitoring of human performance, movement assessment, and systems and devices for the assessment of sport and exercise.
Speaking at the launch, John Treacy, who is now CEO of the Irish Sports Council, said: “This whole area is hugely important. I see tremendous potential in this combination of engineering and sports science. In elite sports we deal with tenths and hundredths of seconds. Winning often comes down to a technical edge so having professionals trained in Ireland in this area will be of great benefit”.
The first cohort of students taking this focused interdisciplinary programme have just finished first year and are destined to graduate with a unique skillset for a growing industry according to NUI Galway’s Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin.
Professor Ó Laighin is Head of Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Course Director: “Professional sport is a worldwide multi-billion euro industry and plays a central role in most western societies. Today technology is used on a regular basis to improve sports performance in elite athletes. The Sports & Exercise Engineering programme at NUI Galway will provide graduates with the skills and expertise to design systems and devices for the evaluation and execution of sport performance across a broad range of sports”.
Professor Ó Laighin sees the Exercise Engineering component of the programme becoming increasingly important. Exercise Engineering is expected to play an important role in the management of two major healthcare crises for the Western World, obesity and ageing populations. “There are numerous health benefits associated with physical activity, including a reduced risk of premature mortality and reduced risks of coronary heart disease. Regular participation in physical activity also appears to reduce depression and anxiety, improve mood, and enhance ability to perform daily tasks throughout the life span. Exercise Engineers will design systems and devices to promote increased adherence to exercise”.
The programme in Sports & Exercise Engineering is offered by the College of Engineering & Informatics in collaboration with the College of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at NUI Galway.
As part of their studies, Sports & Exercise Engineering students use the facilities in the newly opened Sports Centre at NUI Galway. A new high-spec Engineering Building will add to facilities on campus by 2011.
NUI Galway is also offering two additional new Engineering degrees, which will have the first student intake in September. These are B.E. degrees in Energy Systems Engineering, and Engineering Innovation – Electronic.