January 11, 2024
Sir Ron Dennis and Professor Irene Tracey officially open The Podium Institute

On the evening of Wednesday 10th January, University researchers, representatives of Sports Governing Bodies, policy makers and athletes gathered at Oxford’s Divinity School to celebrate the formal launch of the Podium Institute for Sports Medicine and Technology, and the opening of its dedicated facilities within the Old Road Campus Research Building.

“We are delighted to host the world’s first independent academic institute focused on the safety and lifelong health of youth and grassroots athletes. The Podium Institute combines Oxford’s longstanding tradition in sports and education with the very best of cross-disciplinary scientific, medical, and technological research.”, said Prof. Irene Tracey CBE FRS, FMedSci, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

The Institute forms part of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering – which has a 15-year track-record of combining medicine and technology to achieve adoption and healthcare impact – and will draw on leading expertise across the medical sciences, including clinical neurosciences, orthopaedics, and population health.  A seven-member Steering Committee chaired by Professor Dame Sarah Springman FREng provides feedback and advice to the Institute on its overall research direction

“Our aim is the practical adoption, within 5 years, of impactful evidence-based changes for sport safety. Not just for elite adult athletes, but for sports participants of all genders and ages across the professional, grassroots, community and school sports.” said Prof. Constantin Coussios OBE FREng, Founding Director of the Podium Institute and Director of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Oxford. “We aim to develop innovative and scalable technologies to monitor, analyse and ultimately prevent sport injury across the 22 million adults and 3 million children who participate in sport annually across the UK.”

The initial work of the Institute is focused on traumatic injuries such as concussion, serious musculoskeletal injuries as well as sudden cardiac death and the psychological factors that lead to injury. In its first year, the Institute has completed the world’s first government-endorsed nationwide independent report on the incidence and economic burden of concussion across UK sport, due to be published over the course of 2024.

Sir Ron Dennis CBE, Founder and Chairman of Podium Analytics, the NGO and charity supporting the Podium Institute with some £25m of direct research funding over the next decade, commented: ‘Youth and grassroots sports injury is an area that is hugely under-researched, and it is essential that the focus shifts. My time in motorsport taught me the value of science-based, data-driven approaches, and how they can be successfully applied to dramatically increase safety. The Podium Institute and the world-leading University of Oxford will emulate this approach and drive unprecedented research into sports safety, to enable more sport and less injury for future generations.”