Professor Brendan Burkett - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professor Brendan Burkett

Professor Brendan Burkett

PhD Qld.UT, MEng Qld.UT, BEng C.Qld., FIEAust.

  • Professor, Sport Science (Biomechanics)
  • School of Health and Behavioural Sciences
  • Sport and Exercise Science researcher
  • Program Coordinator, Diploma in Sport and Fitness
  • Director, High Performance Sport
  • Head Coach, Australian Paralympic Swim Team
+61 7 5430 2827
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Professor Brendan Burkett

Professor Brendan Burkett OAM interests focus on understanding human health and performance. Brendan’s qualifications include a bachelor and masters in engineering, a PhD in sport science, level 2 coach certification and accreditation as a level 2 sports scientist and high performance manager. These qualifications, in combination with Brendan’s experience as an athlete, create a practical and applied approach to solving human performance questions.

As a past international sports person Brendan was fortunate enough to represent Australia for 13 years as a swimmer and was the Paralympic Champion, World Champion, World Record holder, Commonwealth Games and Australian multiple medallist. Brendan has been privileged to lead the Australian team on several occasions, such as the Australian Team Captain for the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games, and as the Opening Ceremony flag bearer in Sydney 2000 – Australia’s most successful sporting team. Brendan is an inductee in the Sunshine Coast Sports Hall of Fame, Swimming Queensland Hall of Fame, and a ‘Sporting Legend’ in Queensland’s Sports Hall of Fame.

As a professional engineer Brendan worked on projects in Australia and overseas on the Oil Rigs in the North Sea. Brendan was the Institution of Engineers, Australia, Professional Engineer of the Year in 2000. Brendan is also a professional sport scientist (Level 2) and high performance manager with Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA).

Real-world experience has been attained as an Australian team member for the past 8 Paralympic Games and numerous world championships. This includes being an athlete at the 1988 Seoul, 1992 Barcelona, 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney games; and as a sport scientist at the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, 2012 London and 2016 Rio games.

The combination of sporting and professional achievements have been recognised as Brendan is the recipient of several awards such as Australia Day Sporting Awards, the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), and an Australian Sports Medal recipient. The impact of Brendan's research in human health and performance are demonstrated with research grants and publications in this discipline.

Selected Research Grants

Grant/Project name


Funding body & A$ value


Focus (of research grant)

Implementation of a pilot Adaptive Athletics Academic (AAA) Program at the University of Sunshine Coast Kean, B., Oprescu, F. Gray, M, Burkett B. Queensland Academy of Sport $90,000 2015-2017  
The roles of Aquatic Therapy in knee joint rehabilitation McKean, M., Sayers, M., Severin C., Burkett B Kirk Foundation $90,000 2014-2016  
The psychosocial benefits of aquatic-based exercise McKean, M., Verdonck, M., Scott, H., Burkett B USC/Kirk Foundation $90,000 2014-2016  
Prosthetic Protocols for Queensland Health Osseointegration Patients Berg, D., Frossard, L., Burkett, B Queensland Health $35,000 + $50,000 2013-2015  
High Performance Swimming Coaching Burkett B Queensland Academy of Sport, QAS $100,000 2015-2017  
Understanding and enhancing OzTag performance Hogarth, L., McKean, M., Burkett OzTAG Queensland $75,000 2014-2016  
Fitness in exercise (Postdoc) Burkett, B, & McKean, M NETWORK Industry; $400,000 2012-2015  
High Performance Paralympic Swimming Burkett, B. Swimming Australia; $1,250,000 2011-2015  
Asymmetry in Paralympic Swimming Burkett, B. Australian Institute of Sport and Swimming Australia; $90,000 2010-2013  
Fitness in exercise Burkett, B, and McKean, M NETWORK Industry; $90,000 2010-2012  
Structural muscle balance in fitness Burkett, B, and McKean, M Australian Institute of Fitness; $210,000 2009-2011  
Development and application of wearable micro technologies for the assessment of swimming performance and activity James, D., Thiel, D., and Burkett, B ARC Linkage Grant A$195,000. Industry partner: Queensland Academy of Sport (cash contribution A$120,000) 2009-2011  
Injury screening measurement and monitoring in health services (physiotherapy) Gabel, P., and Burkett, B. Commercialising emerging technology (COMET). A$85,000 2009  
Injury Screening Measurement and Monitoring Gabel, P., Burkett, B. AusIndustry R&D Start Program research grant of $200,000 2005-2007  
erformance enhancement of Australian Paralympic Swimmers Burkett, B Australian Institute of Sport and Swimming Australia $90,000 2005-2008  
Microtechnology for Human Health and Performance Burkett B Kirk Foundation $90,000 for PhD research 2006-2009  

Research areas

  • human health and performance
  • sports biomechanics
  • technology and software developments in human health and performance

Teaching areas

  • Biomechanics
  • Sports Coaching
  • Performance Enhancement

Brendan's specialist areas of knowledge include exercise science, biomechanics, sports coaching, performance enhancement

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18 Jun 2021

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