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Loughborough researchers to collaborate with leading Universities in Australia

Researchers at Loughborough University have reached an agreement to work closely with colleagues from both the University of Sydney and the University of Queensland.

The new global collaborative working relationship is led by Dr Anthony Papathomas and Dr Stacy Clemes (both School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences) and will allow all institutions to share ideas, knowledge, and expertise.

Dr Papathomas will connect with Associate Professor Paul Rhodes, a clinical psychologist within the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. Prof Rhodes offers a unique skillset as a critical clinical psychologist with a focus not simply on individual deficits/vulnerabilities, but on the wider social and cultural spaces patients inhabit.

Dr Papathomas explained the importance of the collaboration: “Mental health in sport is certainly now front of mind but we know much less than we think.

“Approaches to date have been couched in medicalism, for example identifying symptoms and counting how many athletes have them. It’s a narrow, conservative scientism that ignores the wider experience of mental illness. Paul’s experience as a researcher and therapist practicing a more culturally informed clinical psychology is helping us to understand athlete mental illness differently.”

Associate Professor Paul Rhodes added: “This collaboration has, and will continue to be very fruitful, supporting the development of innovative approaches to sport and mental health beyond the mainstream.”

Dr Clemes has partnered with Associate Professor Nick Gilson from the University of Queensland. In line with Dr Clemes’ own research, Dr Gilson is currently undertaking a programme of research looking at the effectiveness of an exercise tailored intervention for truck drivers.

“This relationship will bring together the top two ranked Sport and Exercise Schools in the world,” said Dr Clemes.

“Due to the nature of their occupation, long-distance truck drivers are exposed to many health-related risk factors.

“As a consequence, they have been identified as working within one of the most hazardous professions in terms of health risks. At Loughborough University and at the University of Queensland, led by Dr Nick Gilson, we are conducting research designed to promote the health of truck drivers.

“Through this collaboration, we hope that we can strengthen further the effectiveness of our interventions targeting driver health through our shared expertise and learning from our research conducted to date.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 22/82

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022, and 10th in both the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.