The UOC News portal has published an interview with Milagros Sáinz, director of GenTIC, and UOC researchers Ángel A. Juan (ICSO) and Anna Bach (FoodLab) on the emerging trends and progress in the use of big data and analytics research in the sports and health sector from a gender perspective. The researchers comment on the topics tackled by the Spanish network on Sports and Health Analytics Research with a Gender Perspective (SHARP), funded by the High Council of Sports (CSD) of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Sport, which were addressed by more than twenty experts in a workshop held in October 2020.


In the interview, Ángel A. Juan and Anna Bach reflect on how data analysis and simulation models are being used to improve the health of athletes and prevent sports injuries, as well as facilitating communications between athletes, coaches, and medical staff. Analytics and machine learning techniques are also applied to decision-making in sports management with regards to the recruitment of young talents and predicting the potential performance development of sports teams’ candidates. Among the main limitations of these techniques, the researchers remark that formulating the right questions and assuring the quality of data are essential: “Data per se do not add value if they are not of sufficiently high quality, if the research and analysis process is not designed properly, and if the results are not interpreted correctly,” they affirm.


Milagros Sáinz talks about existing gender bias in algorithms and artificial intelligence, which provide with biased, incomplete, and wrong information linked to gender roles and stereotypes. The director of GenTIC points at the underrepresentation of women in artificial intelligence teams and the absence of a gender perspective in the design and production of technologies among the reasons behind these biases. With regards to gender and sports, Milagros Sáinz comments on the research carried out by María Martín, a professor at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, who highlights gender inequalities in the uses of time and in the distribution of household and care responsibilities as the main barriers that hinder the practice of sports by women and might explain the rate of female dropout from sports.


Read the full interview on the UOC News website:

“The industries of sport and health are not immune to the use of big data and artificial intelligence” (English)

“Les indústries de l’esport i la salut no són immunes a l’ús de les dades massives i la intel·ligència artificial” (Catalan)

“Las industrias del deporte y la salud no son inmunes al uso de los macrodatos y la inteligencia artificial” (Spanish)


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