Government, Industry and Academic Partnership to Develop Sport in India

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Australia's Deakin University
Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan MP alongside Rajasthan Royals’ COO Jake Lush McCrum and Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin discussing the importance of government, industry and academic partnership to develop sport in India.

Celebrating 25 years of engagement in India, Australia’s Deakin University hosted an event to highlight the importance of government, industry and academic partnerships to develop sport in India, held at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi. The event included Australian Education Minister Dan Tehan MP alongside Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin and Rajasthan Royals’ COO Jake Lush McCrum.

Sport in India is growing as never before, with the introduction of premier leagues and tournaments in sports as diverse as football, basketball, tennis and kabbadi. There is a huge emphasis on professionalizing the industry in India across sport management, development, science and governance.

Mr Tehan said Australians loved sport and the country’s universities had earned a reputation as world-leaders in sport science, health, management and commerce.

“Australia is a leading provider of sport education and our institutions are well placed to meet the growing demand from India for an international education in sport science and business. It makes sense that the world’s biggest sports teams want to work with our universities and tap into our knowledge and talent,” Mr Tehan said.

During the discussions, Deakin’s association with the Rajasthan Royals was cited as the perfect example of such collaboration.

Currently in its fourth year of association, Deakin was the first Australian university to partner with a team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and is the official sports education partner for Rajasthan Royals.  

Jointly the partners have promoted sport education in India and facilitated research in sport management and sport science, while working on initiatives to encourage the participation of women in sport.

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said Deakin was the first international education provider to set up an office in India and is ranked in the world’s top three universities for sports science, so working to promote the professionalisation of sport in India was a perfect fit.

“Our partnership with the Rajasthan Royals is a pivotal part of this work. It helps attract the best and brightest Indian students to study sport in Australia, creates meaningful research and training connections between both countries, and provides opportunities for Australian students to participate in internships and study tours during the Indian Premier League season,” Professor Martin said.

“We want to help the next generation to make sport a professional industry in India, while also offering all our students the opportunity to learn globally-relevant skills. These skills will be vital in enabling them to build an exciting career in sport, wherever it takes them.”

Through the association, Deakin and the Rajasthan Royals work on promoting sport education in India through research in sport marketing, branding, sponsorships, development, fan engagement and player performance analysis. 

Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan Royals Ranjit Barthakur said his team was at the forefront of nurturing and promoting young Indian talent and this partnership with Deakin University aligns with our core strategy of discovering potential and championing dreams. We share a philosophy that puts empowerment at the forefront of the business.

“A combination of world class education put together with on field training and exposure can produce extraordinary results and this is exactly what Rajasthan Royals and Deakin University are working towards. This partnership provides aspiring sports professionals with an opportunity to learn, gain deeper insights into the running of a sports franchise and widen their horizons for future employment.” Mr Barthakur said.

The most important feature of the collaboration is the Deakin Royals 100 per cent scholarship provided to a deserving Indian student to study a sport-related course at Deakin in Australia. The scholarship consists of a full waiver of tuition fees for on-shore studies at Deakin, with the objective that the recipient will use the education and experience to give back to society.

Aiswarya Aanand, winner of the Deakin Royals Sports Scholarship 2019, said the scholarship was a dream come true to study at an international university. 

“I wish to use this opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills to work on performativity and resistance among sportswomen back in my home state,” Aishwarya said.

Aishwarya is an avid sportsperson, representing her state under-19 cricket team and captaining the volleyball team at IIT Madras at the prestigious Inter-IIT tournament.  She is currently studying a Master of Business (Sport Management) at Deakin.

The Deakin-Royals collaboration also provides internship opportunities to Deakin students during IPL season in marketing, sponsorship, operations, public relations etc.  This allows students to apply management and marketing theories and business principles in a challenging real-world environment.

Deakin student Shivshankar Ranjit interned with the Royals in the 2019 IPL season and is currently working with Cricket Australia as a digital analyst.

“I interned with the Rajasthan Royals’ digital and public relations team. The experience was very dynamic and the exhilarating spirit of the tournament was well-reflected. It drew me closer to understanding the sporting landscape in India in more ways than one, which is certainly helping me in my current role at Cricket Australia,” Shivshankar said.

Deakin aims to further expand this work in India through a series of short development programs to be offered in sport marketing, management, coaching, development and governance, to be launched in 2020.

About Deakin University: Established in 1974, Deakin University is one of Australia’s leading tertiary education providers and is ranked in the top 1 per cent of world universities (ARWU). It has won numerous awards and teaches more than 60,000 students each year offering students world-class programs and endless opportunities.

Celebrating 25 years of engagement in India, Deakin University was the first international education provider to set up an office in India in 1994. It has established premier partnerships in India to transform education and research into beneficial community outcomes, to produce world-class graduates and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the communities.