The French national sports science network

Formed in January 2018, the French national sports science network (RNASP) brings together scientists from the country’s sports federations and public administrative bodies of its Ministry of Sport. They work to develop and promote research and innovation in elite sport and provide French coaches with cutting-edge insight.  

These scientists blend research and elite sport training to promote, organise and coordinate scientific projects for sports federations. In particular, they develop research projects based on interviews they have conducted with coaches.

At present, 75% of federations work in some way with scientific research. However, levels of involvement vary greatly among both federations and public administrative bodies such as Sports Resources, Expertise and Performance Centres (CREPS) and national sports academies.  

France’s National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP) regularly brings together scientists to conduct professional training sessions in order to familiarise them with scientific issues related to sports training. INSEP offers courses that include three-day training sessions, a 15-day course to obtain a certificate of competence in a specific area (CCS), and even a master’s degree in Sport, Expertise, and Elite Performance.

Every year, the call for research and development proposals organised by the Ministry of Sport culminates in a seminar held to present the successful projects. The event, led by the RNASP, acts as a forum for discussion between sports scientists, sports federations, CREPS, universities and policy makers from France’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation. The event seeks to raise awareness about ongoing projects in the area of high-performance sport that are funded by the Ministry of Sport. The idea is primarily to encourage crossovers between future projects and pool learnings among the sports federations.

Looking ahead to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, sports scientists are turning their focus to the best solutions that are already available or can be developed to improve training practices.