UniSC experts are available to speak ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Below is a list of academics available to provide expert comment on a range of topics, from legacy infrastructure to sport science, and across the broad range of industries and activities that deliver and support the globally significant sporting event.
Contact our media team at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with experts.
Paralympic Games, inclusion and accessibility, and legacy for the Sunshine Coast
Dr Bridie Kean is a Public Health Lecturer, two-time Paralympian and chair of the Sunshine Coast Council’s 2032 Legacy Plan Community Reference Group. Dr Kean has a vital leadership role for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, named the Australian Team’s Deputy Chef de Mission.
Dr Kean says Queensland has an opportunity to provide the world’s most accessible infrastructure for the events.
“Our incredible cities will be on display, beamed across the world into people’s homes. We want to make sure we’re putting our best foot forward every step of the way, so we showcase our attractive, accessible and welcoming environment that we call home,” Dr Kean said.
Dr Kean was also involved in the bid for Brisbane to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Her research has explored environmental determinants toward success in high performance and community-based para-sport. Dr Kean’s PhD research explored environmental factors influencing para student-athletes undertaking sport and study.
Her research and own experience as a Paralympic athlete create an applied approach to research in the para-sport context.
Sport history and legacy of 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games
PhD candidate Kate Kirby was the inaugural Historian in Residence for Sunshine Coast Council in 2022 with a focus on local sport history. The topic was: Sunshine Coast gold 1901 - 2021: local high-performing athletes winning on the state, national and world stage. Final report here.
Kate’s thesis, due for submission in January 2024 is on: High performance sport in regional Queensland, 1970-2019: a prosopographical analysis of drivers.
As part of this thesis, she was awarded a PhD candidate Fellowship at the National Library of Australia where she explored the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games: exploring event impact, legacy, and memory outside the city limits.
For this project she had access to original records from The Commonwealth Games Association and key organisers of past Olympic and Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Dr Aaron Tham sits on the Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics Taskforce, with a particular interest in the legacy of the Games.
A Program Coordinator in Tourism, Leisure and Events Management at UniSC, he authored a 2022 paper which analysed the advantages of Queensland being awarded the 2032 Games more than a decade in advance.
Dr Tham says transport is a hot topic in the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions – and potentially one of the main industries that could undergo transformation due to the Games.
“The 2032 games have the ability to put the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, and Queensland firmly on the map. “It’s more than just sporting prowess. This event will change the landscape, functionality, transport, facilities and homes in Queensland.
Dr Tham’s doctorate examined the influence of social media in tourism decision-making. He obtained a Bachelor of Business Studies (Marketing) in Singapore and a Master of International Tourism & Hospitality Management from Griffith University.
Virtual tourism and sustainable tourism
Dr Vikki Schaffer has a strong interest in adventure and conservation with a particular passion for the marine environment.
Dr Vikki Schaffer's specialist areas of knowledge include immersive experience design, cognitive appraisal (with a focus on the emotion of awe), citizen (tourist) science, inclusive and diverse experiences.
Other areas of focus include marine tourism, including artificial reefs and whale related tourism; immersive tourism experience (virtual and real); sustainable tourism, leisure and event management; technology and innovation in tourism, design thinking, business model innovation and destination management.
Music industry opportunities to strengthen Queensland’s live music scene
UniSC Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Music Dr Andy Ward says now is the time to strengthen Queensland’s live music scene, ahead of an influx of visitors and international attention for the 2032 games.
Dr Ward’s research has found the Sunshine Coast has a high population of emerging musical talent.
Discrimination and disability access to sport
Simone Pearce is a lecturer in the UniSC School of Law and Society.
After practicing as a solicitor for more than 20 years, she chose a change of career and has submitted a PhD on children with disability gaining access to sport.
Simone has a strong interest in discrimination issues, and the equitable treatment of minorities or the underrepresented and excluded. Simone's other passion and interest is sport. Simone has played, coached, and officiated sport on the Sunshine Coast for 40 years.
Simone’s PhD submitted in 2021 is entitled ‘Towards Guidelines for the Inclusion of Children with Disability in Sport’.
Associate Professor Gary Slater is an advanced accredited sports dietitian, splitting his time between his role as National Performance Nutrition Network Lead at the AIS and coordinating UniSC’s masters in Sports Nutrition.
He also contributes to courses in the Nutrition and Dietetics and Sports Science disciplines, and supported the Australian Olympic team during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. He was recently been appointed to a similar role for Paris 2024.
Nutrition and dietetics
Professor Fiona Pelly is internationally recognised for her expertise in food provision at major sporting events and has evaluated the menu and food provision for the Olympic and Commonwealth Games since 2000.
Professor Pelly says caterers at large-scale events face a challenge in providing appropriate food choices to athletes competing in sports as varied as weightlifting, gymnastics and sprinting.
“Administrators need to cater for athletes of different sizes, ages, genders, but they also have to take into account religious beliefs, dietary requirements and cultural factors,” Dr Pelly said.
Professor Fiona Pelly is the Discipline Leader in Nutrition and Dietetics at UniSC.
She is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, and a Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia and Sports Dietitians Australia. She is the current president of global group Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise and Sport.
How can sports journalists shape the world of Olympic and elite sports? How can athletes use media opportunities from the Games to propel their careers? Our academics offer valuable insights into the challenges and rewards of this complex industry and its critical role in shaping the future of sport.
Dr Peter English is a Sports Journalist and Senior Lecturer in Journalism. His chief research area is sports journalism, with an emphasis on its journalists, content, and social media.
He has contributed research and commentary on the past two Olympics in Japan and South Korea. Locally, he is part of the Sunshine Coast Legacy Plan Community Reference Group, and the Sunshine Coast 2032 Communications committee.
Dr David Fleischman is a National Collegiate Athletic Association athlete and Senior Lecturer in Marketing. A former competitive swimmer in the United States, Dr Fleishman has led UniSC research that surveyed Olympians and Paralympians and other elite Australian athletes to find factors that both facilitate and inhibit the successful transition into post-sport careers. More on his study into what drives post-sport success for athletes here.
David researches and publishes primarily in the field of services marketing, with a focus on the service experience of consumers and the resulting marketing implications connected to outcomes like well-being. He has worked collaboratively on funded projects with organisations such as the Australian Institute of Sport, Queensland Academy of Sport, Sunshine Coast Council and UniSport Australia.
Sport biomechanics Mark Sa
Associate Professor Mark Sayers has an extensive background in the biomechanics of team sports, technique analysis, and the development of sports specific speed and power.
Dr Sayers has been a consultant biomechanist and coach for several national and international high profile sporting bodies and is recognised internationally for his work on the key skills in the sport of rugby union.
He was the biomechanist and special skills coach for the New Zealand All Blacks between 2000 and 2001 and again from 2004 to 2008 and has been credited as being a key aspect of the team’s success over the past 10 years.
Dr Sayers has over 60 peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, has authored or co-authored 8 book chapters, and has presented at more than 30 national and international conferences.
Exercise Science (motor control)
Dr Rob Buhmann researches hamstring strain injury, transcranial magnetic stimulation, electrical stimulation of muscle, sports medicine.
Rob's PhD research investigated the neuromuscular function of the hamstring muscle group following hamstring strain injury. Before completing his PhD, Rob also worked as a strength and conditioning coach in Australian professional soccer.
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