SSI, in addition to the coordination and oversight of competitions, has over the last decade expanded its work programme to include student centred initiatives and programmes, member networking opportunities, and a significant research programme.
Specific student centered initiatives include the annual Find Your Team activation campaign launched every September at the start of the new academic year; the pioneering Women’s Student Coaching Academy delivered in conjunction with and support of National Governing Bodies and Sport Ireland, and the student leadership programme delivered in partnership with LIFT Ireland that offers student sports leaders the opportunity to reach their potential and become stronger more confident leaders.
The SSI network is of course now well established with the SSI office coordinating regular opportunities for its members to meet, both in the form of the in person annual December Assembly and the May SSI Networking Event, first held in 2009, and quarterly online members’ meetings.
In 2011 the SSI Board took the strategic decision to develop and invest in a research programme to ensure SSI’s and the third level sector programmes and policies were grounded in research.
With the support of research grants from both Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland and with significant member contributions SSI in 2014 commissioned the SASSI study published in February 2016.
This landmark study, which included a survey of over 9,000 students, and its subsequent research studies in the form of the 2020 and 2023 SAR studies, and the 2022 Value Report, have significantly influenced policy and programme development across the sector and inform SSI and its members when advocating for continued and increased in investment and the resourcing of sport and physical activity within the third level sector.