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University of Gloucestershire signs MoU with Bristol Bears

The University of Gloucestershire have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bristol Bears Women.

Despite having many informal relationships in the past this MoU is a statement of intent that the School of Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire and Bristol Bears Women have agreed voluntarily as equal partners to the commitment, resources, and other considerations that each of the parties will bring.

In recent years, the university have had ongoing relationships with many sports teams in Bristol with multiple post-graduate students based in organisations such as Bristol Bears.

These have operated on an informal basis and the recent development of the Women’s franchise in the Allianz Premier 15s the RFU (Rugby Football Union) has encouraged the teams to have mutual agreements with an academic institution for exchange of research opportunities and studentship programmes for the benefit of both parties of both parties.

Dr Jonathan Hughes, Senior Lecturer and the ACL MSc Sports Strength and Conditioning said:
“This is an exciting opportunity for both parties as it is of significant importance for the profile of the school and University to be partnered with a successful organisation as the Bears and Bristol Sport. It would provide fantastic placement opportunities for students in the School of Sport and Exercise, with a focus on placements in Strength and Conditioning, Performance Analysis and Sport Science support. This partnership would allow the Bears to benefit from the expertise of university staff to enhance the teams own understanding through collaborative research programmes, which would be fostered through knowledge exchange and community engagement to their staff, players, and community coaches to enhance the development of all female rugby players across the wider Gloucestershire area.

Heidi Chapman-Mercer, General Manager of Bristol Bears Women said:
“The partnership with the University of Gloucestershire solidifies Bristol Bears Women’s ethos of player welfare being at the forefront of everything the club does. The work done by University’s Strength and Conditioning Research Team, which will be led by Jonathan Hughes, will enable us to look at areas of player training and wellness in great detail. This will provide the club’s technical staff with insight that we would not normally be able to access, which in turn will hopefully aid performance levels on the pitch. The research results will enable us to provide a better environment for our players to thrive and grow. We are very much looking forward to launching the partnership and working closely with the University for years to come.”