La Sorbonne Students boost I Run Clean Anti-Doping Education Project 11 December 2020
Students from the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris have completed a real-life practical experience in the sport sector by presenting strategic and tactical communication recommendations for a multi-national project to promote European Athletics’ I Run Clean anti-doping education programme.
The presentations were made in a three-hour online meeting with leaders of the project, which is co-funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme.
Working in the context of La Sorbonne Nouvelle’s International Project Management programme, the 48 Master’s degree candidates had liaised over the previous two months with European Athletics, athletics’ governing body in Europe, and six national athletics federations to assess each organisation’s specific capabilities and challenges and then develop customised concepts for messaging linked to the fight against doping in 2021 and beyond.
Praising their efforts, Jean Gracia, a member of the European Athletics Council and the president of the Agency for the Development of Athletics in Europe (ADAE), the two organisations co-leading the project consortium, said the students’ input will be an important contribution to the future success of I Run Clean.
“Getting our message to as many athletes, coaches and others in the athletics community as possible is a key objective for our project and I am really thankful for the professional quality work the students have delivered, which, no doubt, will make a difference to how each of the partners communicates about I Run Clean with their national audiences.
“I also believe that the valuable insights we received today will help us attract third-party institutions, like national anti-doping agencies and even commercial companies, that can give their support to our work for clean sport in the future.”
Fiona Olivier, a teacher of International Communications at La Sorbonne Nouvelle, which is now a partner in the I Run Clean project consortium, said the cooperation is a case study of how leading academic institutions can work with outside organisations to enhance the educational experience they offer.
“This opportunity allowed students to engage with athletics’ leadership on an important real-life topic, conduct rigorous analysis leveraging the knowledge and skills they obtained in the classroom and then, in a real client relationship, get instant feedback on their work.
“For the project consortium, the students brought fresh eyes and the cooperation positions European Athletics and its partners as innovators engaging with the next generation of leaders. It has clearly been a win-win for everyone.”
Anticipating a continuation of the cooperation in 2021, Olivier added: “Seeing how much this year’s students learned and how much they valued the experience, I am looking forward to the work of next year’s cohort, strengthening the collaboration and deepening the learning experience. Perhaps we can help develop some of the recommendations into tangible action plans and assess their impact on the various audiences.”
In addition to European Athletics, ADAE and La Sorbonne Nouvelle, the I Run Clean project consortium includes the national athletics federations of Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy and Spain plus the University of Milan and the Sapienza University of Rome
The consortium’s three-year (2020-2022) project includes upgrading and enhancing European Athletics’ I Run Clean e-learning platform with new modules for coaches, athlete support personnel and parents as well as training young ambassadors to deliver local, in-person workshops.