A global initiative to improve education, training and research among the FIA‘s 245 motorsport and mobility member clubs and federations across 146 countries has been launched by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, an Emirati who is a former rally driver and now presidential candidate for the FIA.
The new institute, named ‘FIA University and E-Library’, is intended to bring mobility and motorsport members together for the first time, and is an initiative being brought forward by the Ben Sulayem campaign team. The launch of the enterprise follows the recent publication of a ‘Diversity & Inclusion in Motorsport’ report from the Ben Sulayem-led team and discussion and input from motoring and motorsport clubs around the world.
The FIA University has been designed to be a ‘knowledge engine’ that will „radically overhaul and improve“ representation and education. A key part oft he initiative is the engineering scholarships for students (in Africa, the Americas, Middle East, Europe and Asia) and a structured graduate internship scheme in sport and mobility to upskill member clubs,. Ultimately, the university and accompanying e-library aims to help students launch careers in the fast-growing motorsport and mobility sectors.
“We’re aiming to create a world-leading Federation-based university. The recent Hamilton Commission, Formula One Group and many members and clubs all advocate for real change to create wider opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds. The FIA University will be a first and considerable step in making this a reality and making the FIA a knowledge leader,” said Mohammed ben Sulayem.
Ben Sulayem says he has witnessed a “poverty of access“ to the relevant academic and vocational courses in many regions, adding: “Motorsport is a key economic driver, worth over €60bn a year according to a recent report, and there are plentiful opportunities for successful careers in the field. We want to make these opportunities more equitable and readily accessible, no matter where someone is based, but especially where higher education in such specialised areas isn’t as available.”
Member clubs have already signalled their enthusiasm for the FIA University and, once established, they will be able to access life-long learning programmes designed to help them grow and attract new and emerging talent through partnerships with mobility stakeholders, Formula One teams, governments, experts and universities, and also benefit from substantial evidence-based research.
Ben Sulayem believes that the FIA must be a knowledge-led Federation and thus must invest in an annual research programme designed to create new knowledge and to leverage the estimated €100bn spent on research by the automotive industry.
FIA clubs will nominate members to study at the FIA University, where subjects will cover all manners of sporting and mobility topics, ranging from the academic to the vocational, including:
– E-Learning and Training – Research
– Scholarships – Motorsport Training
– E-Library and Archive – Mobility Education
– Leadership Programmes – Talent Development Schemes
– Medical and Safety Training – Engineering and Technician Support
The FIA University project is jointly led by Ben Sulayem‘s fellow deputy president candidates Robert Reid from the UK and Canada’s Tim Sherman. In a joint statement, they said: “Our campaign is focused on seeking greater mobility and sport collaboration in the development of FIA member clubs and this new FIA University plan will play a central role in this process if we are successful in our election bid.”
Elections to elect a new FIA Presidential team will take place on December 17 in Paris, when outgoing President Jean Todt will step down after reaching the 12-year maximum term limit.