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Universities' thin pickings

Universities may be disappointed if they are expecting to make large amounts of money on the back of the 2012 London Olympics.But the lack of new money and the scarce opportunities to use the Games to increase revenue is not deterring universities from all over the UK wanting to get involved in the run up to 2012.

They want to use the event as the catalyst to bring sport and fitness to the top of the higher education and political agenda. Neil Mosley, head of sport at Imperial College London and chairman of the London region of University College Sport, the national organisation that promotes sport in higher and further education, says: "Universities aren't going to make any money out of this but we do get the opportunity to be involved in one of the biggest sporting events in the world and we can be part of that."

The UEL says 2012 has been good for the university's "brand" and its student applications in the last year jumped by 3.5%. Olympic research opportunities at UEL are already starting to emerge just a year after London was chosen as the venue for the 2012 Games. Three of the university's research institutes are involved in studies linked to 2012 and UEL believes the success of the London bid puts it in a stronger position to attract research money and forge academic partnerships that would have been unlikely a year ago.

"In sports science, for example, we were ranked seven in the league tables, but now both Loughborough and Bath universities are keen to work with us and we have set up a joint agenda to look at elite athletes," says a UEL spokesman.

University of East London, Stratford
Research partnership developed with Bath and Loughborough universities. Partner in new Newham Sports Academy, to identify local sports talent. Decision on whether it will take over the running of the Olympic aquatic centre after the Games is expected in "next few weeks".

• University College London
Part of £3m Sesame project, funded by the EPSRC, into using wireless sensor-based systems in enhancing the performance of elite athletes and other young athletes who have world-class potential. Keen to be a Games support camp for officials and judges.

From: Searching for nuggets in Olympic gold rush, Universities are keen to get involved in the 2012 Games, but they are unlikely to get rich as a result, Debbie Andalo, 28 12 06, EducationGuardian.co.uk

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