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Research group links Victoria University to the Australian Institute of Sport

Victoria University's newly created Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) announced a partnership with the Australian Institute of Sport on 23 July 2010.

ISEAL was established earlier this year with the appointment of a founding director, Professor Hans Westerbeek, and a cohort of research teams in sports science, exercise and rehabilitation science, and active living.

As part of its partnership with the AIS, ISEAL has created a chair in sports science held by Professor Damian Farrow that is jointly funded by the two bodies.

Professor Farrow said the two groups were undertaking a number of joint initiatives and research projects:

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate programs developing research skills  to support AIS sport programs in skills acquisition, physiology and performance analysis
  • Applied research projects leveraging the strengths of the two groups  to enhance athlete talent development pathways of partner sports organisations  
  • Working with the CSIRO on harnessing interactive technologies for sport skill learning

Director of the AIS, Professor Peter Fricker, said that ISEAL, with its broad collection of scientists and its brand new top-class research facilities, was the perfect complement to the work of the AIS.

"Working with ISEAL will allow the AIS to increase its capacity significantly and through VU, spend more time conducting cutting-edge and innovative high-performance research," Professor Fricker said.

VU Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Harman said that ISEAL would move into a new purpose built $30 million facility at the Footscray Park Campus at the end of the year.

"ISEAL represents the future of sport and science," Professor Harman said. "VU is perfectly positioned to make our fundamental and applied research in sport, exercise and active living relevant to the full spectrum of stakeholders from the community level to elite athletes.

"We work closely with our major sporting partner the Western Bulldogs, schools and sporting clubs in the west of Melbourne and beyond, and simultaneously we are building a national and international centre of excellence."

Professor Farrow said ISEAL would help produce the next crop of champion athletes by developing strategies to get kids away from their computer screens and into their backyards and sporting fields.

"The continuing influx of new technologies into sport has terrific potential if we understand how best to apply those technologies for learning and performance. The best coaches seamlessly integrate their rich sports experiences with innovations in sports science."

Professor Westerbeek said that sport had become a big business in its own right and the sport industry was now fiercely competitive off the field: "Australia's World Cup bid is just one example of how sport business and sport science are merging in a complex economic and social context.

"Australia leads the way in high performance sport but is in danger of becoming a Third World country in regard to effectively developing sport in the community.

"We are becoming an increasingly sedentary society with growing problems of obesity and associated diseases such as diabetes.

"The work we are doing at ISEAL addresses physical activity at all levels, from the top athletes to the general community to enhance wellbeing and ensure that an active life is accessible to everyone."

Media are invited to attend the partnership launch on 23 July 2010.

Where: Lecture Theatre L114, Building L, Level 1, Footscray Park Campus (Melway map 883)

When: 11am

Speakers quoted here will be available for interview

Media inquiries: Jim Buckell, A/Senior Media Officer

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4243; mobile: 0400 465 459; email: [email protected]

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