Faculty of Business and Law

Sport Innovation Research Group

Sport Innovation Research Group Launch

Melbourne Arena not only hosted the launch of the 2019/20 NBL Season on Thursday October 3, but also saw the launch of the Swinburne University Sport Innovation Research Group.

While Melbourne United and the newly formed South East Melbourne Phoenix took the court in a thrilling inaugural ‘Throwdown’ match, solidifying a new cross-town rivalry, the research group shared in the excitement of the game and presented their vision to university and industry partners.

Under the leadership of Director Dr Adam Karg and Associate Professor Emma Sherry, the Sport Innovation Research Group is an internationally recognised team that creates and facilitates high-quality, industry-shaping research collaboration for the benefit of both researchers and partner organisations. The group is supported by Research Associates Dr Tim Breitbarth and Dr Kathy Wilson and Post-doctoral Research Fellow Dr Kasey Symons as well as PhD candidates and other researchers. 

The launch event included attendance by 38 sport industry organisations on the night, including leagues, national and state sporting organisations, agencies and consultancies, teams, and government departments involved with sport.

The night was an opportunity to thank current partners while celebrating key research projects that are already underway and hold conversations about what is next while introducing the foundation members of the group.

The Sport Innovation Research Group aims to develop a collective approach for sport-focussed research, by increasing further collaboration within the university - with opportunities to integrate with the Iverson Health Institute, Exercise and Sport Science, and areas of expertise spanning data science, social network analysis, sport technology, and the Swinburne Innovation Precinct. The group is also focussed on capitalising on a network of international partners and universities around the areas of sport and innovation.

Dr Adam Karg said on the night, "For us, this group is primality about impact, and how the work we do can positively impact organisations like those in the room, and help them drive innovative solutions for the collective groups served by the sport sector."

The challenge was then extended to attendees on the night to provide an answer to the question: "What is the biggest challenge facing your sport organisation or the sport industry and how can research potentially help you address this question?"

This directed discussion on the night into the challenges and opportunities facing the sport industry to guide to an innovative, industry shaping research agenda moving forward.

Current partners of the group include the Australian Football League and its clubs, the Australian Government Department of Health, the Australian Leadership Index, Commonwealth Secretariat, KlipSports, National Rugby League, Peninsula Leisure, Tennis Australia and the Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Regions and Precincts.

The research group is focussed on a range of current projects, primarily in two areas; Sport Consumer Equity and Innovation and Social Policy and Innovation in Sport.

The first spans Sport Consumer Equity and Innovation with projects helping and supporting organisations to build brands and experiences that attract, service and retain customers across the professional sport and leisure services contexts. Projects around segmentation, behaviour prediction and assessing sponsor and brand Integration in digital content represent other current engagements.

Work in the area of Social Policy and Innovation in Sport include evaluation of Pacific Sports Partnership Programs, a review of the Australian Sport Diplomacy Strategy and assessment of the collective impact of sport policy on Sustainable Development Goals. Industry partnered projects are also supporting the measurement of the social impact and social return on investment of sport league and club programs, in particular for indigenous and multicultural communities.

Additional collaborations - including work with Swinburne’s Australian Leadership Index in September to demonstrate how sport organisations contribute to the greater or public good – exemplify opportunities to develop unique insights to support the sport industry via research partnerships.

The group will close out the 2019 year with further breakfast and public lecture events, including a China Sport Exchange event in December.