VU hosts world-class researchers at sport conference

Victoria University hosted world-renowned researchers from the German Sport University and University of Western Ontario (Canada), during a special three-day conference on Sport, Exercise Science and Active Living last week.

The 2nd International Symposium for Collaboration in Research, Teaching and Exchange ran from April 7-9 at the Flinders St VU Conference Centre, and included a tour of VU's world-class sport and education facilities at Footscray Park. The Symposium was officially opened by the Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins.

The event was run by the School of Sport and Exercise Science and the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) and attracted over 250 delegates, from 30 different partner organisations. The Symposium scientific program comprised parallel streams in Sport and Exercise Science, Olympic and Megasports Events, Active Living and Sport Management, featuring 84 research presentations and three panel discussions over the three days.

Keynote lectures were given by Professors Michelle Mottola and Professor Peter Lemon from the University of Western Ontario, Dr Stefan Schneider from the German Sport University and VU Professors David Bishop and Damian Farrow. Keynote topics covered topics including safe guidelines for exercise during pregnancy, sprint training for health, exercise to enhance brain function, perspectives on the future of sport and science and applying skill acquisition principles in sport performance.

International Olympic Committee and Australian Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper OA delivered a keynote presentation and joined a panel to discuss the prospects of Melbourne bidding for future Olympic Games.

The conference built on the unique collaborative history between Victoria University, German Sport University and the University of Western Ontario, that comprises 22 years of student exchange, and the inaugural research and exchange conference held at the German Sport University in 2009. A key focus of this 2nd Symposium was to increase research understanding and collaboration between the three partner universities and also with our collaborating institutions. The next event will be hosted by the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada in 2013.

The Symposium also featured invited presentations from VU's prominent partners, including the Australian Sports Commission, Australian Institute of Sport, Western Bulldogs Football Club, Victorian Institute of Sport, Maribyrnong College Sports Academy, Australian Centre for Olympic Studies, Australian Olympic Committee, Victorian Olympic Council, Australian Paralympics Committee, Sports School Victoria, as well as collaborating colleagues from several other Australian universities. The international focus of the symposium was also enhanced by presentations from international collaborators from the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland), Indiana University (USA) and Leeds Metropolitan University (UK).

An active program for the international delegates besides the conference included tours of the new Sport and Learning building at the Footscray Park campus, the VU and Western Bulldogs facilities at the Whitten Oval MCG, as well as the National Sports Museum and the Maribyrnong College Sports Academy. VU and the Western Bulldogs also hosted our international guests at an AFL game Western Bulldogs versus the Gold Coast Suns. 

Conference Organisers Dr Richard Baka (School of Sport and Exercise Science, ISEAL) and Professor Mike McKenna (ISEAL) were delighted with the Symposium and thanked the Organising Committee, ISEAL administrative staff and all participants. They also thanked ISEAL, the School of Sport and Exercise Science, the Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Victoria University International and the Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University for financial and administrative support.

The Symposium demonstrated the depth and diversity of research conducted in ISEAL, as well as the strength of collaboration with our international and domestic partners in areas of research, teaching and staff/student exchange.

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