European Athlete as Student Network (EAS)
The European Athlete as Student (EAS) Network is a non-profit organisation registered in Malta, founded during the European Year of Education Through Sport in 2004 with the support of the European Commission. Including its president, EAS has nine board members from nine European Member States. Its membership scheme is open for universities, sports schools and other educational establishments interested in high performance sport and also for sports clubs and federations which are willing to support their athletes in their studies.
Its main aim is to support European athletes in combining high performance sport and education, their so-called ’dual career’. Thus, EAS stands for and promotes the benefits of dual career, for example balanced lifestyle, forward-looking career-planning and better peer relationships of athletes in the sporting and civil world. EAS actively supports EU efforts in promoting dual career by providing a platform for a better dialogue between educational bodies and sport organisations. In particular, EAS is acting as an observer in the EU Expert Groups on Human Resources Development in Sport and on Good Governance, and as a stakeholder for dual career of the Council of Europe's Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) and the European Parliament.
Through encouraging networking between institutions, EAS aims to unify partners and individuals involved in high performance sport and education, to exchange best practices in dual career, to improve conditions for high performance sport and education, to be the link between educational institutions and sports organisations and to take part in developing research projects in sport and education.
Four main pillars characterise EAS: an annual conference, networking, research and European projects. The annual conference is aimed to inform EAS members about on-going best practices; to promote cooperation between institutions, coaches, teachers and students; to discuss key issues on dual career at local, national and European levels; and to disseminate information collected by means of EU-funded projects. More recently, the 11th EAS conference has been included among the collateral activities in the field of sport of the Italian Presidency of the European Union. Networking is deemed crucial to involve potential stakeholders, to raise their awareness of the potential benefits of educated elite athletes entering the labour market at the end of their sport career, to follow the progress and implementation of dual career actions and policies, to share best practices with different interested parties and to establish permanent cooperation for further actions. For research, since 2013 EAS awards the Bengt Nybelius scholarship to facilitate the integration of outstanding graduate students and young researchers and to establish a tradition of excellence in the area of dual career in Europe.
EAS participated in the EU projects “Athletes2Business”, coordinated by the EU Office of the European Olympic Committee; the “Better Boards Stronger Sport Project”, coordinated by the Sport and Recreation Alliance (UK), the “Pro Safe Sport for Young Athletes”, coordinated by EPAS, the “Education Model for Parents of AThletes In Academics”, Coordinated by the University of Ljubljana, the “Athletic migration: Dual Career and qualification in sports”, coordinated by the University of Salzburg. Furthermore, EAS has been a partner in two calls for tenders in the field of sport of the European Commission: 1) the “Study on the Minimum Requirement for Dual Career Services”, coordinated by the School of Sports and Nutrition of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands; and 2) the “Study on Sport Qualifications Acquired through Sport Organisations and (Sport) Educational Institutes”, coordinated by PriceWater-house Coopers.