Connacht Rugby and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) have announced an exciting three-year partnership that will see collaboration in areas of research and further educational opportunities between the two institutions.
 
The partnership will involve the sharing of knowledge and expertise across the areas of sports management, strength and conditioning, and nutrition. This will provide great research opportunities for GMIT students of these disciplines and will benefit departments throughout Connacht Rugby. It will also enable learning opportunities for staff and players in Connacht Rugby across the broad prospectus of undergraduate and post graduate courses in GMIT.
 
GMIT will also be fostering the growth of rugby across the province by supporting the work being done by the network of Connacht Rugby Club and Community Rugby Officers (CCROs) who operate in clubs and schools all over the west of Ireland. Furthermore, they will support the age grade development pathway in the province by providing front of shirt sponsorship to Connacht Girls and Boys Under 17,18 and 19 representative teams for the next three seasons.
 
Announcing the partnership, CEO of Connacht Rugby Willie Ruane said: “We are delighted to announce this strategic partnership with GMIT. It will create exciting opportunities for both institutions to benefit from the sharing of knowledge and expertise. The partnership will also provide an opportunity to explore research opportunities in high performance sport. Our role as an organisation extends beyond the game of rugby and GMIT share our vision to make a positive impact throughout the West of Ireland, so this partnership is a perfect alignment between both institutions”.
 
Commenting on the research opportunities that will be created by the partnership, Head of Athletic Performance at Connacht Rugby Dave Howarth added: “This partnership will open up some hugely exciting research opportunities for both organisations. We have a team of experts in sports performance and we are constantly trying to find new innovative methods of developing our strength and conditioning, nutrition and sports management practices. We have already begun the collaboration process and foresee real tangible benefits to both institutions”.
 
Dr Michael Hannon, Acting President of GMIT says: “Sport is a very important part of life in Ireland today and we are delighted to be working closely with Connacht Rugby for the benefit of both organisations.  We see a significant congruence between both organisations in terms of location, values and commitment to the region.  This agreement is a wonderful way for us to promote our sport-related activity, especially in schools and clubs across the province.”
 
Dr Des Foley, Head of School of Science and Computing, added: “The first graduates from the progressive honours degree in Sport and Exercise Science will graduate in 2020 and in Public Health Nutrition in 2021.  The Institute will also begin a new Masters programme in Applied Sport and Exercise Nutrition next month.  From a standing start in 2016, we are expanding our programmes and collaborations with sports organisations, such as Connacht Rugby, at a very rapid rate. This is an important step for us”
 

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