Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and Other Sports Organisations

The Queensland Academy of Sport is an initiative of the Queensland Government aimed at supporting the State's elite and identified developing athletes, with the goal of ensuring Queensland remains at the forefront of domestic and international sport. QAS now supports more than 600 athletes across 22 different sports and individual scholarship places. The QAS headquarters include sports training, research, laboratory, medical, and allied health facilities, as well as the first state-based Sport Performance Innovation and Knowledge Excellence (SPIKE) of its kind in Australia.

Queensland Academy of Sport

QAS has been actively engaged with ACEMS for several years, collaborating via a range of mechanisms including co-supervising postdoctoral researchers, higher degree research students, and vacation students. 2019 was a year of intensified collaboration, building on past successes with more projects, partners, and participating researchers and research students.  ACEMS researchers central to these collaborations include AI Dr Paul Wu, CI Professor Kerrie Mengersen, and AI Dr Chris Drovandi, with support from the Centre’s Stakeholder Engagement Officer, Jessie Roberts.

As these collaborations grow, so does the opportunity to involve more ACEMS researchers locally and nationally. QAS has an interest in leveraging ACEMS’ expertise for a range of benefits, including to solve industry problems, improve athlete performance, and better understand and leverage data and analytics in sports. ACEMS collaborations with QAS have also extended to other sports institutes, including the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), and organisations representing key sports, such as Swimming Australia Limited.

Working with the academics at ACEMS has enabled us to explore increasingly sophisticated methodological problems around performance in elite sports with state and national sporting organisations.

As our collaborations with ACEMS continue to develop in the future we look forward to exploring increasingly challenging applied research questions that can inform the performance and support of Australian and Queensland Elite Athletes.

Christine Voge, Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS)

2019 activities related to the Centre’s collaborations with QAS (and other partners) include:

  • Co-supervising industry student projects including vacation research students
  • Research for “enhancing the outcomes of physical training using models to integrate diverse data under uncertainty”
  • A related research project “Bayesian statistics and machine learning for sports - growing a program of research”
  • Securing ACEMS ICSS grant funding and employing research assistants supported by a joint postdoctoral researcher to work on three projects under the theme “Bayesian statistics and machine learning for sports – growing a program of research”, with partners QAS, Swimming Australia Limited (SAL), and the University of Canberra
  • Working with proposed industry partner Fusion Sport to seek grant funding (including a linkage application and CRC-P application which were unsuccessful in this round)
  • Delivering industry and academic short courses and workshops
  • Establishing a Working Group for Excellence in Sports Analytics, with representatives from ACEMS, other universities, QAS, AIS, and other sporting organisations, and
  • Initial planning for a symposium focused on “Excellence and New Methods in Sports Analytics” in 2020, with a view to aligning it with a QAS PhD event.

ACEMS supervised industry student projects and vacation research students

ACEMS has successfully led the supervision of industry student projects and vacation research students with industry partners. In total, there have been around 18 projects to date with QAS. Projects worked on in 2019 have included: swimming relay analyses; and predicting the winning time for specific swimming events. Two vacation research students commenced supervised research projects in November 2019, looking at developing a statistical method for adjusting medal tallies for Olympic games.

As evidence of the success of this work: both students and industry partners have provided testimonials to ACEMS’ lead investigator and supervisor Dr Paul Wu regarding benefits realised from being involved; analyses have been adopted by our industry partners (in coaching or training); research outputs have included multiple publications; new projects have been initiated; and students and partners have extended collaborations.

I can attest to Paul’s extensive contributions to teaching, research and industry collaborations. He has been very proactive in seeking, securing and executing successful industry partnerships.

Professor David Pyne, Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the University of Canberra

Having experienced working with Paul for the past two years, the skillsets I’ve acquired have expanded both my networks and opportunities for my future career prospects… it has enabled me to step into a data analyst role at the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority and secure exchange opportunities, expanding my career within the STEM field...

Alan, ACEMS-supervised student

Research Project: Enhancing Physical Training Outcomes Using Models to Integrate Diverse Data under Uncertainty

ACEMS, QAS, Swimming Australia Limited, and other partners have collaboratively employed a co-funded postdoctoral researcher in October 2019, to work on applied research problems relevant to performance and also explore methodological challenges in collaboration with ACEMS researchers. This project, partially funded by an ACEMS ICSS grant to additionally support three research assistants, is about enhancing the outcomes of physical training using models to integrate diverse data under uncertainty.

To date, work has included delivery of an industry report on an applied statistics pilot-study assisting elite swimmers via QAS and SAL in preparation for major competitions including the 2020 Olympics. According to Swimming Australia, insights from this work have already contributed to Australia winning several gold medals in swimming.  As work continues, additional research outputs, engagement activities, grant funding, and impacts are expected.

Some of the insights gained from several key areas of targeted investigation have contributed to Australia winning 4 out of 7 Gold Medals at the 2019 Swimming World Championships

Mark Osborne, General Manager, Swimming Australia Ltd (SAL)

Working Group for Excellence in Sports Analytics

ACEMS had been instrumental in bringing together a critical mass of researchers and industry representatives from peak sporting organisations to establish a Working Group for Excellence in Sports Analytics. Working Group members include researchers, executives, and professionals from: ACEMS; Sport Performance Innovation and Knowledge Excellence (SPIKE) at QAS; the Australian Institute for Sport; the Institute for Health and Sport (IHES) at Victoria University; the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise at the University of Canberra; Triathlon Australia; and Swimming Australia. The Working Group has proposed a number of priorities and initiatives for 2020, including a conference, sports scientist training by ACEMS researchers (for example, in statistics and data science) and open science (hackathon).