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Loughborough University London - A lasting legacy

By Professor Mike Caine

“And the Games of the 30th Olympiad, 2012, are awarded to the city of… London.”

Those were the words of the International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, on 6th July 2005. I remember exactly where I was and how I felt – surprised and elated. Surprised because I thought Paris were favourites to get it and elated because I knew how special it was and what it meant.

Back then I was part of a growing team of Sports Technology academics at Loughborough University. I knew that London winning the 2012 Games would mean an increase in investment in sports technology, which would be good news for Team GB – and good news for Loughborough.

It was much more than that, however. A decade on, it’s bigger than we could have hoped.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Today, Loughborough has a campus on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was the home of the London Games. It’s a fantastic environment, with outstanding academics, excellent facilities and talented, creative students.

That didn’t happen by chance. It was down to hard work, vision and a determination to ensure there was a tangible legacy from the 2012 London Games. A legacy that would not only benefit British sport and the students who come here but this corner of London too, which was long-overlooked and has already been transformed by the investment made and the people who have come here to join such a culturally diverse and innovative community.

When I look back on that day 11 years ago and I remember how excited I was when it was announced London would host the Olympic Games. Did I expect this? I didn’t, no. It’s perhaps one of Loughborough’s biggest and most unexpected wins!

Our involvement began in the days after the 2005 London announcement. Because of Loughborough’s reputation – we have a long and proud tradition of expertise in sports policy, management and leadership – we were invited by the Government and the Mayor of London to see what the Higher Education response might be towards creating a lasting legacy from the 2012 Games. Even seven years before the Olympics were staged the legacy was already being conceived.

What was originally a half-a-day-a-week job for me became more time-consuming. I became more and more involved in the strategic planning. The more involved we got, the more we were asked to do. Our voice became more influential. I could see what was happening: Loughborough University would have a presence here, in London, on the Olympic Park. It was a genuinely thrilling time.

Loughborough University London Loughborough University London

Here East

What we needed, clearly, was our own building. We have that now. We’re part of the Here East complex, in the former International Broadcasting Centre building, which we share with BT Sport, Infinity and Wayne McGregor Studios, with a host of other amazing organisations soon to arrive. More than £1 billion has been invested in creating and upgrading the buildings and surrounding infrastructure. It’s already making a difference. Jobs are being created. Good jobs. Well-paid jobs. This activity is growing the economy and creating opportunities for those living and working locally.

We’re offering scholarships to local students from boroughs such as Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets, some of the most vibrant and dynamic districts in London and the UK, so they can study with us. We’ve offered 30 scholarships so far and there will be many more. It’s part of our enduring commitment to this area.

A lasting legacy

Although the legacy of the Games is important, so is the location. This corner of East London might have seemed like an odd choice for some people, but it wasn’t. It was a very shrewd choice because the Games and the environment we are helping to build are rejuvenating the area and enabling local talent to thrive and prosper. We are quickly becoming part of one of the most exciting places to live, study and work.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are embedded in all that we do. We aim to foster citizenship and creativity.

We have students here from 45 different countries, taught by academics from all over the world. Our ethos is simple: connecting the best students – local, national and international – with this global community of exceptional academics. There’s real, life-changing power in that for all involved.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are embedded in all that we do. We aim to foster citizenship and creativity. We are open and inclusive, attracted to partnership building and collaborative working. What we have achieved so far with our partners and collaborators has been impressive. But this is just the start. These are the foundations we have laid.

Our reach and reputation will build. Hopefully we can become a hub for students, academics and partner organisations wanting to co-create an inspiring place, where impactful research and outstanding postgraduate education collide to create life shaping experiences.

When I look back on that day 11 years ago and I remember how excited I was when it was announced London would host the Olympic Games. Did I expect this? I didn’t, no. It’s perhaps one of Loughborough’s biggest and most unexpected wins!

Mike Caine

Professor Mike Caine

Dean of Loughborough University London

Mike has an outstanding and extensive academic record. He has authored circa 70 peer reviewed papers in engineering, medical, sport and education journals and conference proceedings, and presented research outputs around the globe (throughout Europe and the USA and in Australia, China and Japan).

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