This new master unique in France juggles between sport and technology

You would never imagine that such a laboratory could hide behind these somewhat faded walls. Yet it is here, in building M of the Villejean campus, that a course unique in France will soon see the light of day. Hosted by the University of Rennes 2, this master’s called “Digisport” has the particularity of mixing five sectors and has just been approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, which is not used to these cross-disciplinary practices. Here, students come from Staps, humanities and social sciences, computer science, electronics, and data science. At the start of the school year in September, there will be 30 to occupy the benches of this first hybrid promotion.

This “EUR”, for “university research school”, is inspired by the Anglo-Saxon model of graduate schools reserved for masters and doctoral students. Proof of its attractiveness, the master’s degree in Digital Sciences and Sport has attracted students from all over France who will soon be the first class. “Here, we can almost say that we are preparing for professions that do not exist”, explains Emmanuel Abrivard, who manages communication at Digisport. The formula ready to smile in a university of social sciences like Rennes 2 which one sometimes mocked for its lack of outlets. But she is quite serious. Students will come there to rub shoulders with cross-disciplinary disciplines combining sport and science.

If they can go into research, future graduates will also be able to knock on the door of professional sports clubs and major sportswear brands wishing to adapt their equipment to physical exercise. “The technologies exist and all the football clubs have them, but they have no one to analyze them”, continues Emmanuel Abrivard. An example: the “data analyst”, capable of translating computer figures, has become a full member of the professional staff.

“Our students are too little trained in the realities of the field”

To enable its students and doctoral students to carry out practical work, the department has equipped itself with a laboratory packed with technology. Like what is being done at the M2S laboratory in Ker Lann, life-size tests can be carried out by Digisport students. Simulations of cycling, running, hitting, or tennis service for example. “Our students are too little trained in the realities on the ground. Here, they can benefit from motion sensors, virtual reality, cameras, heart rate or gas exchange measurement systems. We wanted to accentuate the practice, ”explains Benoît Bideau, the director of Digisport.

Financed by the University of Rennes 2, by the Rennes metropolis and the Brittany region, the laboratory came to replace an old recording studio which was no longer used. Tomorrow, it will undoubtedly allow top athletes to better understand their performance data. And maybe students to develop new motion sensors without any body markers. A work halfway between IT, electronics, data and sport. We better understand the interest of mixing skills.

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