As a leading sports university we have over 200 partnerships and affiliations with peak sporting bodies, professional and community sporting clubs and groups that focus on public health and education.

The Real Madrid Graduate School Unversidad Europea, Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Institute of Sport and the Western Bulldogs Football Club are some of many unique strategic industry partnerships. They offer students and staff the best possible environments and collaborations to advance their careers.

Partner organisations offer our students placements and internships in Australia, contacts within the industry and sometimes a career upon graduation.

Most of our partners benefit in some way through access to our research, our staff, students and facilities. Affiliating with us enables them to target specific aspects of sport and exercise.

Key sporting partners

VU is a member of the Australian Sports Commission's Elite Athlete Friendly University (EAFU) Network. Our athlete support program aims to help students balance study with training and competition demands. 

Find out more about our Elite Athlete program.

In 2011, VU's Institute for Health and Sport (then known as ISEAL), signed a partnership agreement with the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).

The ASC is the Australian Government's primary national sports administration and advisory agency. The ASC plays a central leadership role in the development and operation of the Australian sports system, administering and funding innovative sport programs and providing leadership, coordination and support for the sport sector. The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is Australia's premier sports training institute, internationally acknowledged as a world's best practice model for high performance athlete development.

An important part of the long-term partnership was the establishment of jointly funded research positions such as the appointment of Professor Damian Farrow, funded by the AIS and VU.

Joint appointments and scholarships such as those with the AIS and the ASC increase collaboration between our organisations to bring together the best of academia and the sport industry.

In 2011, the Australian Institute of Sport launched a national applied research effort in collaboration with the National Institutes and other relevant external agencies (CSIRO, Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University, NICTA) to enhance athlete performance.

Victoria University also has a close association with Maribyrnong College, Victoria's first government sports school.

The College has access to Victoria University staff for expert advice and input into a range of fields connected to the specialist sport curriculum - exercise physiology, biomechanics, exercise prescription, rehabilitation.

Elite athletes from the school have the opportunity to transition into tertiary education through relevant and convenient study and career pathways to our sports themed courses.

The five-year deal signed early 2015 with Real Madrid Graduate School Universidad Europea sees students in selected masters programs travel to Spain where they will be embedded at the school as part of a residential program and have access to the club.

Our recently signed off partnership with Real Madrid Graduate School Unversidad Europea highlights our unique position as we are the only University in the Asia Pacific to partner with them. They work in partnership with Real Madrid Football Club, the biggest sporting club in the world. Their decision to partner with Victoria University further cements our reputation as Australia’s leading sport university.

The partnership also brings Real Madrid expertise directly to classes in Australia. Real Madrid Graduate School Universidad Europea staff visit Victoria University to teach courses, and share their expertise with students in Australia.

More about the partnership between Victoria University and the Real Madrid Graduate School Universidad Europea.

Sport and Recreation Industry Pathway (SARIP) is a Department of Education & Early Childhood Development (DEECD) funded project that is a partnership between VU and Essendon Keilor College, Maribyrnong College and Manor Lakes College.

The SARIP program delivers a quality sport based curriculum in conjunction with Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) guidelines.

The Sporting Success project is jointly funded by the Australian Sports Commission, Gymnastics Australia and Victoria University. Through a systematic 5-year program of research, the project will identify the key predictors of long-term engagement in sport and physical activity and its association with academic achievement.

The Victoria University and Western Bulldogs partnership is one of the longest relationships between an AFL club and a university. This unique partnership is like no other, with the range and depth developed over two decades of association.

We sponsor the AFL team and also partner with the state VFL team and the women's football team (AFLW). We'll also support upcoming players through the Next Generation Academy.

Key factors in our partnership with the Western Bulldogs include:

  • training and research
  • conjoint or shared staff
  • Bulldogs friendly schools program
  • practical placements for our students in business, event and hospitality fields.

The Bulldogs use our facilities and expertise of our sport scientists in performance enhancement and development, rehabilitation and recovery.


Victoria University Polytechnic is proud to be an inaugural Premier Partner to Western United Football Club.

A full list of strategic partnerships and collaborations is available on our Institute for Health & Sport webpages.

A few of the key relationships are:

  • Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS)
  • ESSA
  • YMCA
  • Australian Sports Technologies Network.

VU Sport Strategy: From Grassroots to Elite

We have strong ambitions to be Australia’s leading sport university and a global leader in sport. The VU Sport Strategy, 2019-2023: From Grassroots to Elite will drive us to achieve this ambition.

Opportunities for our students

Our partnerships, in addition to providing platforms for our research, also provide great learning and career opportunities for our students.

Our Sport and Exercise Science students enjoy the facilities of our industry partners including the $8 million VU education research centre for sport and exercise sciences at Whitten Oval Stadium.

Our Bachelor of Sport Science students have the opportunity to pursue a cadetship with one of our partners – the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne Storm and Maribyrnong College – to gain practical experience in a professional sports environment.