#HPRW10: How do we make the research effort into high performance sport more effective?

Day 3 started with a Panel presentation on the question of How do we make the research effort into high performance sport more effective?


The Panel members were: Allan Hahn, Kristine Toohey, Martin Fitzsimons, Michael McKenna, Gavin Reynolds and myself.

Allan Hahn opened the discussion of his approach to the topic:

  • Identify right problems
  • Ensure critical mass of resources
  • Acceess to expertise
  • Short, medium, long term
  • Accommodate different agendas
  • Integrate efforts of geographically distributed groups.

Allan explored a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) model for building an effective research network. He noted the key features of a CRC model. Allan wondered if AIS Performance Research Centre embodies a CRC-like organisation. To date:

  • The Performance Research Centre at AIS has been restructured
  • A new research funding model has been introduced
  • Working to identify the right problems
  • Seeking to obtaining access to world-leading expertise to build a critical mass of resources
  • Developed a vibrant education program (nineteen universities involved)
  • Pathways to commercialisation explored

Allan noted that the Performance Research Centre has many of the characteristics of a CRC. The main constraint is that there is no long-term commitment to funding for research. Allan noted that a greater involvement with State Institutes and Academies is required. He added too that there is no centralised governance structure to integrate fully the various activities. At present the Performance Research Centre is acting as a hub for the spokes of research (with the exception of a more direct, funded CSIRO relationship).

Allan identified disadvantages and advantages faced by the Performance Research Centre:

  • There is limited interaction between partnerships
  • The activities of the Centre is labour intensive
  • The work is financially demanding

However, the advantages include:

  • Close links and partnership
  • Direct say in how inputs are used
  • Simplified agreements
  • High flexibility
  • Capaitalising on other research activities

These need collaborative skills. Partners have organisational priorities.

Allan identified the major gaps in the work of the Performance Research Centre:

  • There is no national endorsement of the Performance Research Centre
  • Labour-intensive work (liaison with partners, communication, formal agreements)
  • Funding constraints (the Performance Research Centre is linked to AIS funds at moment)
  • Sustainability (many of the Performance Research Centre partnerships are short-term)

Allan concluded his presentation with a discussion of the framework to capitalise on activities to date.

I presented the Connected ideas I have contained in posts on this blog.

Kristine Toohey presented some information about the Australian Sport Research Network (ASRN). The ASRN aims to achieve research as a group that we may not be able achieve as individual institutions. Kristine gave some historical background to AIS/ASRN links. The ASRN has been working for three years and acknowledges that universities need to do industry-focused research. Kristine reported that the ASRN is working on a constitution. There are five aims at the moment: establishing strategic alliances; developing sport research; delivering evidence-based research; informing policy and investment; contributing to education and career pathways.

ASRN outputs include an ARC linkage grant for Talent Identification and Development in sport and a bid in progress for a CRC (with the Australian Sports Commission).

Martin Fitzsimons presented a sport institute perspective.  Martin noted that this was a personal account. He identified four themes about our national research system:

  • There is no clear objective for collaborative research
  • There is limited funding for research
  • Collaboration
  • Sharing knowledge and resources

Martin suggested an independent body should oversee high performance research in Australia. This entity would: understand the resources available; act as a repository for outcomes and assist with research planning; assess research applications, monitor progress; disseminate research findings; and making the outcomes available to all participants in the system.

Michael McKenna shared news of the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) at Victory University: the aim is to be a global leader in sport, exercise and active living. World-class infrastructure is being developed using a whole of University approach.Michael identified three research areas: sport, exercise and active living. He outlined these activities and key directions for multidisciplinary perspectives. Michael noted the development of work in Active Living. The Footscray Campus will be completed in September 2010 (a $70 million facility). Overall the aim is to develop laboratories for five discipline areas:

  • Exercise physiology
  • Biomechanics
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Sport technology and engineering
  • Motor control

Michael noted the importance of mobile technologies and their use off-campus with Melbourne sport groups (a $100 million infrastructure including Whitten Oval and local hospital training and education facilities). Michael outlined the staffing for ISEAL and noted Damian Farrow’s joint appointment with the AIS. Michael outlined ISEAL’s investment in elite sport. ISEAL is developing national and international partnerships to progress its work.

Michael concluded his presentation with a consideration of links between ISEAL and the State Institutes and Academies’ network. He outlined possible research areas, identified personnel and expertise, and the availability of facilities on a Melbourne campus. Michael noted how complementary ISEAL can be to other work within the sport system.

Gavin Reynolds presented the final part of the Panel session. He discussed the role of the National Sport Information Centre (NSIC) in the national system. He outlined the networks that NSIC link to including IASI, AUSPIN, ASRN and new emerging (often ephemeral) networks. Gavin identified four areas as a focus for his presentation about the work of the NSIC:

  • Access
  • Analysis
  • Advice
  • Affiliation

Gavin presented an enterprise, integrated knowledge sharing business model for Australian sport. He concluded how NSIC can address needs, link to audiences (communities), optimise output and think as an Australian sport research enterprise.

Photo Credits

Bird Houses

The FlickrVerse

#HPRW10: Connected

Day 3 of the AIS’s Performance Research Workshop in Canberra will start with a Panel Presentation. The topic for the Panel to address is How do we make the research effort into high performance sport more effective?

The panel members are: Allan Hahn, Kristine Toohey, Martin Fitzsimons, Michael McKenna and Gavin Reynolds.

This is a draft of my thoughts hosted by SlideShare:

I have added a slide to this presentation that is my pitch for the Australian research network to work together as an Open Access community.

I am looking forward to hearing the views of my panel colleagues. I will be very interested to explore the synergies between my presentation and Gavin Reynold’s views on the role the National Sport Information Centre (NSIC) can play in a shared community of practice. This is a SlideShare presentation of the NSIC’s OASIS approach presented by Gavin last year at a World Symposium of Computer Science in Sport..

#HPRW10 Sharing

I have been thinking about a framework for my panel contribution at Day Three of #HPRW10.The topic for the panel to address is How do we make the research effort into high performance sport more effective?

The abstract I submitted was:

There is a wonderful momentum growing around the aggregation of effort in many aspects of social and professional life. Following on from my presentation at the NESC Forum 2009 I am going to propose that a connected network of practice is essential for sport to flourish in Australia. This connected network will be open and through aggregation will ensure that we grow a research culture that has a cumulative approach to knowledge production. For this to be really effective it will require many institutions to transform their Internet presence. I will suggest there is no wealth but life.

The resources I have looked at to develop my thoughts are:

Around the World in Eighty Seconds

(London – Cairo – Mumbai – Hong Kong – Tokyo – San Francisco – New York – London)

Social Media 2

I was struck by a recent post by Seth Godin in which he argued that:

The challenge of our time may be to build organizations and platforms that  engage and coordinate the elites, wherever they are. After all, this is where change and productivity come from.
Once you identify this as your mission, you save a lot of time and frustration in your outreach. If someone doesn’t choose to be part of the elites, it’s unclear to me that you can persuade them to change their mind. On the other hand, the cycle of discovery and engagement the elites have started is going to accelerate over time, and you have all the tools necessary to be part of it – to lead it, in fact. (Original emphasis.)

I looked at a link I received to Virtual Research Networks

and pondered the possibilities of Web 3.0. Whilst doing so I found Kate Ray’s link to a discussion of the Semantic Web (link).

Which led me to this Flickr phtograph of Tim Berners-Lee.

I followed up his Linked Data Presentation just as I received an invitation to a webinar about the Semantic Enterprise. The trail for the webinar identified Four Pillars of the Advanced Computing Enterprise

  • Data management
  • Process management
  • Access management
  • Resource management

The value proposition from the trail was that semantics help adapt and unify databases, web services and service oriented architectures (SOA), mobile devices, and cloud computing.

From other feeds I have been contemplating social media and connectedness.

Social Media: Twitter

Social Media: Facebook

Changes to Facebook’s privacy settings have been creating some very strong responses. Recent examples include Jason Calcanis’s post (12 May) and a New York Times article (11 May).

(Postscript After finishing this post I came across Mark Pesce’s article for the ABC’s  Drum Unleashed Social networks and the end of privacy. I include it here as an important contribution to the discussion of privacy. See too Stephen Downes’ (18 May) detailed special report Facebook and Privacy. Scholarly Kitchen has compiled some resources on this topic too.)

Meanwhile a colleague had shared with me a paper by James E. Powell, Linn Marks Collins, and Mark L.B. Martinez (2009), in which they observe:

We believe that high quality custom collections of content from digital libraries, and the ability to explore it, can be critically important to decision makers and first responders dealing with crises.  These collections become even more valuable when offered with tools enabled by semantic technologies.  These tools can facilitate visual and task-based exploration of the collection, and provide Web 2.0 collaboration capabilities such as sharing, commenting, rating, and tagging, which are typical of online journal clubs.

Their work set me off on an open access track that took me to Sesame (an open source Java framework for storing, querying and reasoning with RDF and RDF Schema).

Thereafter, I pursued:

The Fierce Urgency of Now, in which it is proposed that:

proactive information retrieval tools can play a significant role in information seeking for users in some situations, in particular those where it is important to quickly get a sense of what information might be available about a particular topic. This may be particularly true if a user is focused on a task that benefits from information, but is not itself an information-seeking task. Additionally, the urgency of a particular task may also make it a requirement that the user be made aware of information, rather than be forced to search for it.

I followed a steer from the authors of that paper and found Michael Twidale et al. (2007) Writing in the library: Exploring tighter integration of digital library use with the writing process. They argue that:

Information provision via digital libraries often separates the writing process from that of information searching. In this paper we investigate the potential of a tighter integration between searching for information in digital libraries and using those results in academic writing. We consider whether it may sometimes be advantageous to encourage searching while writing instead of the more conventional approach of searching first and then writing. The provision of ambient search is explored, taking the user’s ongoing writing as a source for the generation of search terms used to provide possibly useful results. A rapid prototyping approach exploiting web services was used as a way to explore the design space and to have working demonstrations that can provoke reactions, design suggestions and discussions about desirable functionalities and interfaces. This design process and some preliminary user studies are described. The results of these studies lead to a consideration of issues arising in exploring this design space, including handling irrelevant results and the particular challenges of evaluation.

Whilst reading that paper on-line I received a tweet from Radio National about its Future Tense program on the digital classroom in Australia. I ended my day enjoying a blog from one of the people in that program, Helen Otway, Assistant Principal for ICT and Student Learning at Manor Lakes P-12 Specialist College.

Just as I was closing my computer I received a link to a YouTube video (two million views in a week) from a Listserv that ilustrated the excitement and dynamism available to us as we connect as researchers and coaches.

Photo Credits

Phone-wire tangle

Linked Data