Guiding sport into the future 

Our scientific research is built on the empirical richness, coming from our embedded ethics services. ESPRIT will always act in proximity to practice, exploring actual societal and moral challenges in modern sports ‘on the pitch’, in the empirical context of coaching, governance and policy development. Day-to-day contact with athletes, players, executives, policymakers, researchers, coaches, and operational staff will feed ESPRIT and vice versa. This is a continuous process, in which interaction and learning are reciprocal; we learn from practitioners and involve them in formulating and addressing underlying questions. ESPRIT research provides new perspectives on persistent, multi-layered integrity issues in sport, thereby reopening a field of possibilities for developing Open Science solutions and perspectives. ESPRIT will support stakeholders via a threefold approach:

1. Collecting and analysing experiences and identifying issues

Via day-to-day consultations, embedded ethics, research projects and internships, we analyze a plethora of dilemmas and experiences emerging in concrete practice, against a broader backdrop (integrity and sustainability issues in an era of globalization, commercialization, polarisation, and transition). Notably, attention is given to the connection between sport, self-management, empowerment, identity, gender and embodiment and the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and new technologies (from gadgets via implants to robotization), linking up with TU Delft.  

2. Critical assessment

Building on these reflective analyses from within, involving a broad range of perspectives (philosophy, history, social sciences, law, health science, etc.) and working in close interaction with practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders, we critically assess wicked problems and persistent systemic issues, spanning different domains.

3. Developing perspectives for transitional action

Based on these analyses and assessments, we contribute to systemic transition, moving beyond established dichotomies (professional versus amateur sport, elite versus popular sport, commercial versus grassroots sport), focussing on issues such as responsible governance, integrity and transparency, bodily integrity, harassment and abuse, diversity and gender.

Altogether, ESPRIT develops a new comprehensive moral framework for addressing integrity challenges on the basis of case studies, developed in interaction with key partners. ESPRIT also brings together PhD researchers who combine research with professional sport activities, sport policy and teaching, and PhD researchers at various EUR schools (e.g. ESHCC and ESL).

Colorful basketball player
Hayron fotos

Research Document on Sex, Gender and Elite Sport (March 2023)

Winter 22-23, the NL Olympic Committee asked ESPRIT to carry out a meta-analysis on the topic of Gender & Elite sport. Two ESPRIT researchers, Dr. Åsa Ekvall and Dr. Sandra Meeuwsen wrote the ‘Research Document on Sex, Gender and Elite Sport’. The document maps the debate and presents the most actual research findings on the correlation between sex, gender, and sport. It aims to facilitate scientifically validated, consistently elaborated policy in Dutch elite sports competitions. You can download the document down below.

Meanwhile, the NL Olympic Committee asked ESPRIT to support them in implementing this Research Document, in terms of research and policymaking. These activities are elaborated in cocreation with sport executives and a group of international experts.



Please contact us for more information or an intake into our research opportunities:

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