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AIS backs research projects to optimise sporting performance

11 July 2022

The AIS has awarded grants totaling $670,000 to six leading research teams around the country, aimed at optimising the performance of elite athletes, coaches and support staff.

Undertaking research

The funding will see researchers from Griffith University, University of Queensland, the South Australian Sports Institute, La Trobe University, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Canberra lead innovative projects over the next 12 months.

Each research project aligns with a priority outlined in the recent National High Performance Sport Research Agenda such as the successful athlete, coaching science, sports performance optimisation and practice enhancement.

AIS Acting Director Matti Clements said: “Research and development has always been an important function of the AIS since being established.

‘’The release of the National High Performance Sport Research Agenda has provided a real focus for national research endeavors and we’re thrilled to collaborate with the successful applicants of this latest round of research funding”.

AIS Chief Science Officer Dr Paolo Menaspà said there had been more than 70 outstanding applications for the AIS research grants.

‘’It is very exciting to see these exceptional research groups coming together to undertake research focused on high performance sport.

‘’With our focus on research quality and impact we feel confident that the outputs from this research will positively benefit Australian athletes, coaches and their support teams.”

The six successful applicants are:

The Successful Athlete: Researchers from Griffith University will work alongside Ghent University in Belgium as well as collaborate with Paddle Australia, Athletics Australia, VALD Performance, Mermaid Beach Pathology and Pathology Queensland to explore frontiers in talent identification and development. The researchers will work in close collaboration with the AIS Pathways team to develop new frameworks for the identification and confirmation of sport-specific talent, as well as provide input into evidence-informed holistic athlete development plans.

Coaching Science: Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) will lead a team of researchers from UQ and Sydney University in collaboration with Athletics Australia, Basketball Australia and the AIS Coach Development team on research leading to effective and impactful coach development, as well as developing optimal learning environments in the high performance sport landscape.

Sports Performance Optimisation: Researchers from South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) together with researchers from University of Technology Sydney (UTS), University of Western Australia (UWA), AusCycling, the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS), UTS, University of South Australia, the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and the AIS will look at improving individualisation of training planning and implementation, with an interdisciplinary approach to periodization and targeted athlete monitoring.

Sports Performance Optimisation: Researchers from LaTrobe University are leading a team of researchers from University of Canberra (UC), Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC), VIS, and QAS with the support of  Swimming Australia, to use epigenetic and metabolic profiling methods to monitor high performance swimmers’ adaptive response to training to provide sport science support staff and coaches with rich information about how to individualise training, nutrition and recovery practices to optimise athlete performance.

Practice Enhancement: Researchers from Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Data Science will lead research aimed at increasing the impact and quality of scientific research, particularly related to the use of data. The research team includes world class researchers from the Australian Academy of Science, QUT and UC with expertise in data science and biomechanics. Rounding out the team is Olympian Emily Rosemond who will focus on sport engagement. The research team will work closely with AIS staff, including the Sport Strategy and Predictive Analytics team and the Athlete Management System team.

Practice enhancement: Researchers from the University of Canberra will lead a team of researchers from University of Western Australia, South Australian Sports Institute (SASI), together with the ACT Academy of Sport (ACTAS), VIS, and the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS). The research will promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based practices into routine practice. The outcomes of the study will inform best practice in heat acclimation for athletes competing and training in hot environments.

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