Virtus has formed a new Scientific Committee to drive its development ©Virtus

Virtus - the International Federation for sport for athletes with intellectual impairment - will enhance its research and scientific arm this month with the launch of its newly formed Scientific Committee (VASCOM).

VASCOM is part of the new Virtus Academy, a global hub for research and education to drive the development of elite sport for athletes with intellectual impairment. 

It will meet for the first time next month to set the research agenda and priorities for the next four years.

Virtus Academy manager Debbie Van Biesen said: "Our aim is to grow the scientific knowledge available and ensure that activities and sport practice are delivered in an evidence-based way."

Six newly appointed academics and practitioners, drawn from universities and research institutions across the world, will join the VASCOM.

They will bring a "unique set of expertise together to serve Virtus athletes and coaches, optimising their health and performance", it is claimed.

Continuous emphasis will be given to how strategies can be enhanced to disseminate scientific knowledge into coach and athlete education.

Nick Parr, the Virtus executive director, said: "We are honoured with the fact that six renowned researchers accepted our invitation to become VASCOM members.

The new Scientific Committee will meet for the first time next month ©Getty Images
The new Scientific Committee will meet for the first time next month ©Getty Images

"Virtus will be able to grow as an organisation relying on the excellent mix of men and women with different backgrounds, representing our various regions, all having a record of high-quality research in the field of sport for athletes with an intellectual impairment and coaching."

Additional topics that will be discussed by VASCOM include proposals on relevant fields of research, and strategies on how to attract funding.

The VASCOM members include Dr Sean Healy from Ireland, Britain's Dr Suzie Lemmey and Professor Jan Burns, New Zealand's Dr Rob Townsend, South Africa's Dr Piet Boer and Belgium's Dr Debbie Van Biesen.