Birmingham City University has got Warwickshire’s back.

The Club’s Official University Partner has agreed a new deal that will see them be the back-of-shirt sponsor for this year’s LV= Insurance County Championship.

BCU’s relationship with Warwickshire stretches back to 2014.

Students have benefitted from work experience at Edgbaston Stadium – including Sports Journalism undergraduates getting a taste of life as a reporter – and also played a lead role in groundbreaking research projects.

That’s included joint research between the Club and BCU – who are also the current collar sponsor for the Bears Vitality Blast shirts – to identify potential bias in youth pathway selection decisions.

It’s led to the creation of a new Open Trials system – a first in English cricket – that last year saw the Club identify lots of exciting aspiring cricketers who’d previously not been on Warwickshire’s radar.

Professor Philip Plowden, Vice-Chancellor at Birmingham City University, said: “In the decade that we’ve partnered with Warwickshire County Cricket Club, we’ve seen students flourish through placements at the club, welcomed elite athletes onto our campuses and worked together on ground-breaking research, leading to pathways into professional cricket for those from underrepresented backgrounds.

“That’s why our partnership is so special, and why we’re delighted to have agreed this new sponsorship deal. Everyone at BCU will be proud to see our name on the back of the player’s shirts.

“Seeing the open trials come to fruition, with aspiring young cricketers from across the city trialling for the club is particularly pleasing, as it mirrors our approach to higher education. We work to break down barriers and unlock opportunities for our students – the majority of whom are drawn from across the West Midlands, and in many cases are the first in their families to go to university – so we’re excited to continue this work with Warwickshire.

“We are proud to see the transformational impact Tom Brown’s research is already making on professional cricket, and we’re really looking forward to further developing our partnership with Warwickshire in the coming years.”

The new Open Trials process allows any child to submit video footage of them batting or bowling for consideration whereas before only local clubs, schools and cricket organisations could nominate players.

Warwickshire Chief Executive Stuart Cain added: “It’s a great partnership: we benefit from BCU’s expertise especially in areas like sports science, while we can give the university global exposure and opportunities for students.

“Student placements are excellent for us as they bring fresh ideas, energy and perspectives.

“And the joint Open trials PhD research, led by Tom Brown, is already having tangible benefits by making cricket more accessible to children across the region. And potentially identifying stars of the future who otherwise may have been missed.”

Take a look at how Warwickshire and BCU are working together here.

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