The Sport Partnership Collective: Advancing the science and practice of meaningful research partnerships


Research partnerships can play a role in translating/mobilizing sport knowledge in practice to improve research access, use, and comprehension. These partnerships are plentiful in sport, and hold potential for real-world impact, yet little is known about how to optimize their effectiveness. The Sport Partnership Collective (SPC) is a group dedicated to advancing research, capacity development, and support for research partnerships in sport. Grounded in principles of meaningful engagement, the SPC promotes partners' awareness, reflection, and actioning of strategies to foster positive partnership experiences that highlight shared decision-making, knowledge exchange, and co-production (Hoesktra et al., 2021). The objectives of this presentation are to explore the value of meaningful research partnerships, describe the SPC's application of meaningful engagement strategies, and propose actionable steps to develop and support meaningful research partnership science and practice. Through co-delivery by a researcher and knowledge user within the SPC, the presentation will first highlight the potential of sport research partnerships for driving advancements in research and practice, challenges in establishing effective partnerships, and the need for capacity support within the sport sector. Then, examples will be shared of how the SPC leveraged meaningful engagement principles to improve their own collaboration, knowledge exchange, and real-world impact. Finally, a co-generated agenda will be proposed which calls for sport sector development and support in research partnership educational opportunities, connection activities, and resource/toolkit creation. By offering an inside look at partnership development, this presentation provides practical insights and critical next steps to advance sport partnership research and practice.