Applied sports science research focusses on optimizing the performance of individuals and teams within sport and industry.

State of play

High-performance individuals and teams are an elite breed of the population, who operate at a different level to that of the normal human being.

Understanding and optimizing the function of this population relates to a holistic summation of contributing factors from the core disciplines of physiology, biomechanics, skill acquisition and psychology. Within these groups, small performance gains can lead to advantageous marginal gains, and the reward of such marginal gains can be extremely high.

Research in this space is continually evolving, and innovative multi-disciplinary thinking is needed to find the winning edge.

We are ranked in the world's top 20:
 

Approach

Our research focus in this area targets innovative thinking to produce evidence-based approaches that will enhance human performance.

Currently, our group works in close collaborative partnerships with many elite institutions in order to drive practical research stemming from industry-based questions. This collaborative work includes strong external relationships with partners such as the Australian Institute of Sport, the Western Australian Institute of Sport and many more. These industry linkages and close partnerships ensure that the research stemming from our high performance laboratory remains contemporary and relevant to the end user.

Our discipline is focused in two key research themes:

High performance in sport and industry

This interdisciplinary research theme involves the School’s research activity over five decades, related to maximising human performance at the highest level in sporting and industry settings.

We draw expertise from several sub-disciplines including:

  • Sports physiology and nutrition
  • Sports biomechanics and motor learning
  • Applied sports psychology
  • Sports medicine and injury prevention

Research strengths

The high performance in sport and industry research group prides itself on producing high-quality, applied research relevant to both athletic and industry-based situations. The research output of this group has a particular focus on practical outcomes, with research translation ‘from the lab to the pitch’ a key driver in our thinking. With this in mind, our key research strengths include:

  • Athletic performance optimisation
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation
  • Technology and innovation
  • Safe and productive workplaces

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Principles and mechanisms of movement

This research theme focuses on understanding the fundamental physiological, molecular, psychological and neuromusculoskeletal principles and mechanisms of biological systems and human movement/activity.

Using a variety of experimental approaches, we use basic science to develop and improve best practice methods, experimental procedures and computational models.

These methods, procedures and/or models are then used to answer fundamental research questions associated with the biology, pathobiology and complex mechanistic pathways associated with human performance, health and disease. It is through this multidisciplinary approach that we can create empirical foundations to best inform both applied and clinical research.

Research strengths

  • Neuromusculoskeletal modelling and simulation
  • Macro and molecular comparative biology
  • Cardiovascular biology
  • Psychometrics

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Community programs

The school's research in sports science informs programs it runs for the community.

These programs are open to the public.

The UWA Exercise and Performance Centre (EPC) is an integrated centre offering exercise and health services using evidence-based, progressive and client-centred approaches. Our aim is to promote the restoration of function or optimisation of performance in clients, ranging from the general public through to elite or developing athletes and industry.

Research partners

The theme capitalises on our established relationships with high profile sport organisations:

  • International Olympic Committee,
  • The National Institute Network (including the Australian Institute of Sport and Western Australian Institute of Sport)
  • Exercise and Sport Science Australia
  • Sports Medicine Australia
  • International Cricket Council
  • Canoeing Australia
  • Triathlon Australia
  • Australian Football League
  • Western Australian Football League
  • West Coast Eagles
  • Fremantle Dockers
  • Hockey Australia
  • Perth Glory