Studying sport can provide an insight into the limits of human performance and how individuals and groups differ in their responses to competitive environments.  Studying human movement can provide insights into physiological, neural and psychological adaptations to exercise, into the role regular physical activity plays in chronic disease prevention and management, and into how the brain controls and coordinates everyday movements. UQ human movement and sports science is a leader in its field, with innovative, creative and impactful research in a vibrant, interdisciplinary environment. Our expertise spans the fields of biophysical, behavioural and socio-cultural enquiry to extend, apply and transmit knowledge and understanding about human movement and sports science.

The influence of our research on practice and policy can be observed across clinical, sporting, community and educational settings. Through links with government, not-for-profit organisations and industry, UQ is playing a key role in shaping community agendas around exercise, nutrition, elite sport, and health and physical education within Australia and internationally.

Acknowledgement of our research success includes outstanding academic achievements and personal recognitions, such as International Fellows of the National Academy of Kinesiology, ARC Future Fellows, Fellows of the Australian Sports Medicine Federation and Exercise and Sport Science Australia and presidencies of national and international research societies.

UQ researchers have a wide network of partners including the Australian Institute of Sport, the Australian Sports Commission, Cricket Australia, Queensland Academy of Sport, Queensland Health, Department of Health and Ageing, Education Queensland, the National Heart Foundation and the International Paralympic Committee.

Globally-competitive research areas of biomechanics, motor control, exercise physiology, sports psychology, nutrition, and sport and health pedagogy consolidates research into brain control and movement, the influence of physical activity on health, medical nutrition therapy, and sociocultural and behavioural perspectives on health, physical education and sport.

Human Movement and Sports Science research occurs primarily in the four research centres within the School of Human Movement Studies:

  • Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health (CRExPAH)
  • Centre for Sensorimotor Performance (CSP)
  • Centre for Dietetics Research (C-DIET-R)
  • Australian Centre of Sport, Physical and Health Education Research (ACoSPHER)

Human Movement and Sports Science in brief

  • More than 30 full-time equivalent researchers
  • More than 150 PhD and MPhil students in 2014
  • More than 670 publications since 2008
  • More than $17.5 million in research funding since 2008
  • Human Movement and Sports Sciences research rated at the highest level – well above world standard – in the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia exercise
  • State-of-the-art purpose-built laboratories support research in biochemistry, biomechanics, motor control, exercise physiology, strength and conditioning, and skill acquisition.

Human Movement and Sports Science AT UQ

Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health (CRExPAH) 

CRExPAH advances research on measuring, understanding and positively influencing exercise, physical activity and sedentary behaviour, building capacity for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in health. Research relates to exercise, physical activity and health across the lifespan, in clinical and non-clinical populations, and in settings such as healthcare, workplaces, schools, aged care facilities and local communities.  Centre staff have been partners in funded research projects totalling more than $26.6 million and hosted numerous international experts. Important collaborative projects include the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (~$11 million). The Centre also leads the Occupational Sedentary Behaviour study, where emerging evidence indicates that prolonged sedentary behaviour is associated with poor cardiometabolic health outcomes: the program focuses on measuring and understanding occupational sitting time in sedentary occupations. 

Centre for Sensorimotor Performance (CSP) 

The Centre for Sensorimotor Performance combines research strengths in neurophysiology, biomechanics, sensory processing, perception and applied skill acquisition using state-of-the-art techniques including 3D motion analysis, non-invasive brain stimulation and virtual reality. The aim of this research is to extend understanding of how the brain and spinal cord integrate sensory information for the control and adaptation of human movement in health, rehabilitation, sport and the workplace. Current investigations are revealing how the human brain coordinates body movements for applications in health and technology, as well as investigating the neuromechanical development of strength and power to improve human movement in healthy and pathological conditions as well as in elite sports performance. 

Centre for Dietetics Research (C-DIET-R) 

The Centre for Dietetics Research combines research strengths in the three major practice areas of dietetics — individual case management (medical nutrition therapy), food and nutrition service management and public health nutrition – as well as nutrition science in the emerging field of functional nutrition therapy. The Centre promotes innovation and translational research in nutrition and dietetics. Centre staff have been awarded funding through the Asbestos Innovation Fund to determine the nutritional status, body composition and dietary intake and quality of life of patients with mesothelioma. The study is the first of its kind for patients with asbestos-related diseases and the findings will provide a guide for dietitians caring for such patients. 

Australian Centre of Sport, Physical and Health Education Research (ACoSPHER) 

The Australian Centre of Sport, Physical and Health Education Research comprises an interdisciplinary team from a range of the social sciences. The Centre focuses on the social, cultural, pedagogical and psychological aspects of sport, health and physical education. The Centre has a strong international profile and has attracted many international research higher degree students, as well as visits from leading international scholars. The Centre was recently commissioned by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to the national role of Lead Writer for the creation of the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education for the years Foundation - 10 across all sectors of Australian schooling.