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
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|
- human health and performance
- sports biomechanics
- technology and software developments in human health and performance
- Sports Coaching
- Performance Enhancement
Brendan's specialist areas of knowledge include exercise science, biomechanics, sports coaching, performance enhancement
In the newsUSC Newsroom
Study to find what drives post-sport success31 August 2021
Olympians and Paralympians returning from Tokyo will be among more than 400 elite Australian athletes to be surveyed as part of research to find factors that both facilitate and inhibit the successful transition into post-sport careers.
Spartans swimmers named on Tokyo Games squads18 June 2021
Outstanding performances by five USC Spartans swimmers at this week’s national trials in Adelaide have earned them places in the Australian teams headed for the Tokyo Games.