ACU researchers partner locally and globally

A message from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Wayne McKenna:

The pandemic and new research partnerships pave the way for impact-driven research at ACU.

Blacktown partnership

The opening of ACU’s Blacktown Campus paves the way for an exciting new research partnership with the City of Blacktown’s International Centre of Training Excellence (ICTE), commencing in 2023.

A premier centre for high-performance education, sports medicine, and recovery based within the Blacktown International Sports Park, the ICTE will house a research facility in collaboration with ACU’s top sport scientists. Researchers from the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research (MMIHR) and the Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre will have access to a running track, synthetic and surf pitch, heat and altitude chamber, biomechanical and exercise physiology labs, as well as imaging equipment for sport injury research.

ACU’s research collaboration in Blacktown also aligns with our recently joining the NSW government initiative to connect public universities with industry and state departments through the Waratah Research Network

World-leading sport science research

The ICTE partnership follows ACU’s latest world ranking in sport science, up from 26th in 2018 to 22nd in the 2020 ARWU Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments. Citations were the main driver in ACU’s improvement in 2020 with ACU scoring higher for citations per paper than top-ranked University of Copenhagen.

In other global sport science indicators, the MacKillop’s Professor Louise Burke has been recognised by World Athletics as a leading figure in women’s contribution to science in athletics. Formerly head of sports nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport, Professor Burke jointly led a team of 50 experts to compile a comprehensive guide to sports nutrition for World Athletics in April 2019.

Health and education research in the wake of COVID-19

Research into physical activity beyond the field of elite athletics is attracting worldwide attention amid a global pandemic. MMIHR’s Professor Jim Sallis is co-author on a paper published this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine identifying the benefits of physical activity for COVID-19 patients. Conducted with US health care partner Kaiser Permanente, the study compared hospitalisation rates, intensive care unit admissions, and mortality and found that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes among infected adults.

The digital impact of COVID-19 on education research was the subject of a recent Workplace video interview with Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith from the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education on the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UNSDGs). Last year’s inaugural ACU Sustainability Report featured a number of our researchers including Professor Wyatt-Smith, whose work with her collaborators in the Research Centre for Digital Data and Assessment in Education directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4: quality education.

Higher Degree Research Virtual Open Day

In February, the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (IRCI) hosted their first Virtual Open Day for Higher Degree Research (HDR). Following a successful pivot of their international research seminars to online in 2020, the IRCI has extended their digital innovation to HDR programs.

Watch videos of IRCI researchers and current doctoral candidates on the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry website.


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