Location University of the Sunshine Coast, School of Health and Sport Science
App. deadline 31/12/2018
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Australian residents only

Paralympic athlete talent transfers; personal and environmental factors

The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) and the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC) are seeking a highly motivated and dedicated doctoral candidate to undertake a project in Paralympic Athlete Talent Transfer.


Background of the Project

Talent transfer is the targeted transference of athlete skills from one sport to another and provides an efficient solution towards increasing international medal success in both able-bodied and para-sport. Talent transfer can ‘fast-track’ athletes to the podium, avoid adolescent maturational issues, reduce athlete development time frames, and increase return by capitalising on investments already made in mature athletes. However, research regarding the talent transfer pathway is significantly limited, and restricted to the able-bodied context. Para-sport is inherently unique with para-athletes facing additional barriers and challenges towards achieving sporting success. Further research exploring the experience of talent transfer for para-athletes, and the factors that influence a successful talent transfer is therefore warranted within a Paralympic context.

The aim of this project is to explore the factors that influence para-athlete talent transfer in order to support and improve future transfers.

Under the supervision of Dr Bridie Kean (USC), Professor Brendan Burkett (USC), Dr Luke MacDonald (QAS), Lawrence Fabian (QAS), and Tim Matthews (APC), you will commence research exploring the personal and environmental factors that influence para-athlete talent transfer in different contexts, including experiences of international transfer para-athletes, Australian transfer para-athletes who received no formal support and those are currently in a structured program such as the Prospecting for Gold Talent Transfer program at the QAS. You will also explore and document the Australian para-sport stakeholder such as coaches and sports administrators. These findings will be used to inform the development and evaluation of a framework to guide future para-sport talent transfer processes.

The project will primarily be carried out between the USC Sippy Downs Campus and the QAS Nathan Campus, Qld. You will also have the opportunity to travel to the APC offices in Adelaide and Melbourne.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants will have a First Class Honours degree or equivalent in Occupational Therapy or Sport and Exercise Science, and should be eligible for an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) or equivalent. Qualitative research experience is desirable and those with a passion for sport are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must fulfil the PhD admission criteria for the University of the Sunshine Coast, including meeting English language requirements, and demonstrating an excellent capacity and potential for research. Demonstration of research ability through publication output in peer-reviewed international journals is desirable.


If the successful applicant has applied for, and is awarded an APA scholarship, they will receive a Research Training Program (RTP) living stipend rate of AUD$27,596 per annum (indexed annually, tax-free) accompanied by a QAS top-up scholarship of AUD$8,000 per annum (tax-free).

If the successful applicant does not hold an APA scholarship, they will receive a living allowance stipend rate of AUD$30,000 per annum (tax-free), and will be required to apply for an APA scholarship upgrade with each bi-annual application round. Once successful, this will be upgraded to the above award rate.

Please contact Dr Bridie Kean (bkean@usc.edu.au) or Dr Luke MacDonald (Luke.macdonald@npsr.qld.gov.au) for more information on the research project.

Please Note: Should this listing mention details of an available scholarship, it is your responsibility to confirm the specifics with the university / institute prior to applyiing. Terms and conditions are in some cases subject to change and are not always reflected immediately within listings.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Dr Luke MacDonald

Dr Bridie Kean