UCRISE research performance “above world standard” in ERA ratings

UCRISE research performance has been rated as being Above World Standard in the category “Human Movement and Sports Science”.

The rating was released by the Australian Research Council on December 4, 2015, as part of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) results, which are included in the inaugural State of Australian University Research 2015–16 Report, Volume 1.

ERA measures the quality of research produced by Australian universities against world standards. It is based on an independent assessment of research excellence that draws on qualitative and quantitative indicators.

UCRISE Director, Professor Kevin Thompson, was delighted with the result.

UCRISE Director Professor Kevin Thompson and cycle ergometer in physiology lab

UCRISE Director Professor Kevin Thompson and cycle ergometer in the physiology lab

“This is an amazing achievement given that our target this time had been to achieve an At World Standard rating and to then work towards Above World Standard for next time.

“To achieve Above World Standard this year is a huge credit to our talented and dedicated researchers and staff.

“Alongside significant research grant income, more than 80 publications per year, and many successful PhD completions, the ERA rating provides further evidence that UCRISE is a high performing research centre.

“It enhances our reputation as an internationally recognised group of researchers in sport and exercise and I’m looking forward to even bigger achievements in the future,” Professor Thompson said.

The Australian Research Council is an independent agency that advises the Australian Government on research matters.

URCISE is a research institute of the University of Canberra.

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Innovative snowboard binding project gets green light

In a world-first application of high performance composite material technology, a collaborative team from the University of Canberra (UC), the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) will produce new snowboard cross bindings that aim to transform the sector.

The proposal for this project has been endorsed by the AIS 2015 Competitive Innovation Fund and will involve leading UCRISE researchers Dr Eddi Pianca and Dr Stephen Trathen, both from the UC Faculty of Arts and Design.


The Sochi Bindings

Together, they will continue their innovative work in designing advanced snowboard bindings resistant to breaking, which was begun by creating a customised binding for snowboard cross Olympian and world champion Alex Pullin for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.

Bindings used by elite snowboard cross athletes in competitions are highly susceptible to breakage due to the enormous stresses placed on them, and this can jeopardise a medal-winning performance, as well as posing an injury risk. Failures on current commercial bindings can occur after just one run, whereas the Alex Pullin binding has not failed in training or competitive settings.

The new bindings will use high performance composite (HPC) materials such as Carbon fibre and Kevlar and will cater to the requirements of all Australian team members from OWIA, hopefully leading to an increased medal count at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.

Project Manager

Ben Wordsworth, National Head Coach (Snowboard), OWIA.

Team Members

Dr Eddi Pianca, UCRISE, University of Canberra: primary project collaborator for design and construction

Dr Stephen Trathen, UCRISE, University of Canberra: secondary project collaborator for design and construction

Mr Bill Shelley, Faculty of Arts and Design, University of Canberra

Dr Dale Chapman, Assisting sports scientist to OWIA Snowboarding program

John Marsden, Primary sports scientist for OWIA Snowboarding program

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Getting to the heart of cardiovascular sports research at UCRISE

It began in April this year, when UCRISE ran world-class cardiac and vascular imaging workshops that attracted international delegates. Across two days, participants were given intensive hands-on instruction in how to use ultrasound applications for sport and exercise research. This was delivered by experts from Liverpool John Moores University (UK) and the University of Western Australia.


Fast forward to now and meetings have been held with renowned cardiologist Dr André La Gerche, head of Sports Cardiology at the prestigious Baker IDI Institute, in relation to developing a cardiovascular sports research capability at the University of Canberra. Dr La Gerche will be bringing his expertise to this project, along with other key researchers: Professor Keith George and Dr David Oxborough from Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Matthew Wilson from Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital (Qatar) and Dr Greg Lovell from the Australian Institute of Sport.

To further develop this area within UCRISE, a PhD candidature is currently being offered for the investigation of The effects of exercise on cardiac structure and function. This project will be split across Canberra and the UK.

Coordinating the establishment of this new capability at the University of Canberra is Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology, Dr Stuart Semple.

Stuart“There are few well established areas in Australia that are  specifically focussing on exercise and sports cardiology,” says Dr Semple, “and working closely with our partners, it’s our mission to establish a centre of excellence in this discipline.”

“We will also look beyond sport at issues that can benefit society in general, such as using echocardiography to investigate how patients with chronic disease respond to exercise interventions.”

For further information, contact Dr Stuart Semple at: stuart.semple@canberra.edu.au or phone +61 2 6201 2855.

Our Partners



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How can we prevent injury from snowsport terrain park falls?

Snowboard JumpFreestyle snowsports are gaining popularity, not just with recreational snow enthusiasts, but also in competitive sport. Events like the half-pipe are now included in the Olympics and on the World cup circuit, but with increasing popularity comes increasing injury risk. Professor Tracey Dickson and her colleagues at the UC Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE) are conducting a study into the etiology (or causes) of injuries resulting from falls in terrain parks. The primary research question is: “What strategies could be implemented to reduce the frequency and/or severity of falls and injuries in large terrain parks?” This project will draw on the expertise of a multi-disciplinary team, with backgrounds in sports science, health and IT, and will also investigate the most effective way of communicating injury prevention and risk management strategies to those who might be affected. snowboarder-crash-and-burnA mixed methods approach will be used. Focus groups will help researchers understand how terrain park users currently learn about safety, and videos of falls will be reviewed by an expert panel to explore the events that can lead to a fall. Additional analysis of videos will consider how new software could assist in the analysis of terrain park safety issues. For further information about this project, please contact UCRISE.

Project Funding

New South Wales Sporting Injuries Committee and UCRISE.

Project Staff

Chief Investigator

  • Associate Professor Tracey J. Dickson


  • Associate Professor Stephen Trathen
  • Professor Gordon Waddington
  • Professor Roland Goecke
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