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Injury prevention


Most injuries requiring hospitalisation in Australia happen as a result of falls, car crashes, sporting and recreational activities, interpersonal violence and in work settings. Our injury prevention program is committed to preventing injury and promoting optimal rehabilitation.

We're researching and developing strategies to:

  • modify human behaviour
  • define policy that encourages appropriate responses within industry and the community.

Our injury prevention researchers work in a variety of fields including:

  • psychology
  • public health
  • human movement studies
  • exercise science
  • neuroscience
  • optometry
  • epidemiology
  • road safety
  • medical physics
  • information technology
  • biomedical and civil engineering.

Sub-program committee

Earlier this year the injury prevention sub-program committee was established, and is led by Professor Graham Kerr. The sub-program committee works to create links with areas of similar research within our program, our institute, our university and with external groups to expand our research capacity, improve access to funding and ensure that research is translated into practice.

Sub-program leaders

Each sub-program leader provides valuable knowledge and expertise from their field of research. They have a keen interest in furthering research and collaborations in their respective areas and organise development meetings of interested people throughout the year. This group represents the diversity of interests in injury prevention at QUT, and also forms the executive committee of the injury prevention program.

The committee is involved in:

  • decision making
  • developing the program
  • identifying major priorities
  • promoting our research within IHBI and through extensive partnerships with professional and broader communities.

The sub-programs and leaders are:

Adjunct Associate Professor Simon Smith
Child and adolescent injury
Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur
Dr Kerry Armstrong
Sports and recreation
Dr Anthony Shield
Technology, simulation and automation
Professor Andry Rakotonirainy
Workplace and occupational safety
Professor Jeremy Davey


The injury prevention program has successfully evolved into a number of groups and centres. The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q), established as a joint initiative between the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and QUT, operates within the program and has become fully self-sustaining.

The program will continue to build groups, such as the sleep and neuroscience group, to strengthen our capabilities as a leading program at IHBI and to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between researchers.


Evidence of research quality

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) 2015 scores:

  • 5 (well above world standard) -
    • Human Movement and Sports Science (FOR 1106)
  • 3 (at world standard) -
    • Psychology (FOR 1701).

ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) evaluates the quality of research undertaken in Australian universities against national and international benchmarks.

Developing new researchers

Research students
Early career researchers

Publication output


Unique count
High quality
Author weighting
High quality

Research income

2011 total
$5,628,463 (funding split)
$22,253,983 (funding split)

Key grants

  • Advanced Driving Simulator - Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities scheme (ARC LIEF)
  • Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland - Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC)


International linkages

  • UK
  • USA
  • Indonesia
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • France

Cross-disciplinary engagement

  • Psychology
  • Counselling
  • Information technology
  • Clinical sciences
  • Addiction
  • Social work
  • Sleep therapy


Ergon Energy challenge: work related driving intervention

Dr Darren Wishart, Mr Bevan Rowland
Ergon Energy Corporation Limited, $60,000
The 'CARRS-Q Work Related Road Safety Program: The challenge to change' is designed as a commercial research behaviour change intervention program. The intervention program has a primary aim of improving the work related road safety of organisational drivers. This program encourages participants to explore some of the dangers associated with driving for work in conjunction with examining their own driving behaviour within their own organisational setting. The program culminates with an overall evaluation of the impact of the intervention on work driving safety.

Quad bike-related injuries in Queensland

Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur, Dr Angela Watson, Dr Jesani Catchpoole
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, $46,620
This project provides a comprehensive summary of the quad bike-related injury pattern and trends in Queensland, highlighting in particular those that occur in a work/farm context as distinct from a recreational context.

Recreational quad bike-related injuries in Australia: patterns and contributory factors

Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur, Dr Angela Watson, Dr Jesani Catchpoole
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, $38,501
This study examined factors involved in cases that occurred in a recreational context and those incidents which involved children. An understanding of such factors will provide important insights which may inform future work in relation to potential safety campaigns.

Integrating technological and organisational approaches to enhance the safety of roadworkers

Professor Narelle Haworth, Associate Professor Herbert Biggs, Associate Professor Andry Rakotonirain, Dr Mark King, Mr Martin Peelgrane, Mr James Ulyate, Mr Bob Overall, Ms Susie Bridle
Queensland Government - Department of Transport and Main Roads, $75,000
This multidisciplinary project will enhance the safety of roadworkers by providing practical and theoretical contributions to inform and provide direction at industry and academic levels for developing effective interventions/strategies to improve safety in road construction.

Enhancing workforce health at Downer Mining

Professor Tony Parker, Dr Cynthia Cliff, Ms Carol Bowman, Dr Charles Worringham, Dr Ian Stewart, Associate Professor Herbert Biggs, Dr Michael McDonald, Mr Shaun Smith
Downer EDI Mining, $2,145,319.05
A seven-year health program that aims to review the current occupational health and safety (OHS) systems and practices, develop a whole of company framework for OH management, implement intervention strategies targeted to health and injury priorities, and achieve measurable and sustainable health outcomes.


Category 1 projects

Improving postural stability and reducing falls risk in people with Parkinson's disease using textured insoles: a randomised controlled trial

Professor Graham Kerr, Professor Keith Davids, Dr Sandra Brauer, Dr Anna Hatton, Professor Ewald Henning
NHMRC Project Grant, $997,781.45
In this project we propose to undertake a randomised controlled trial to determine the efficacy of textured insoles to improve postural stability during standing and walking in people with Parkinson’s disease over an extended period of time.

Improving gait by way of plantar tactile stimulation: a randomised controlled trial of the effects of prolonged wear of textured shoe insoles in people with multiple sclerosis

Dr Anna Hatton, Professor Sandra Brauer, Professor Graham Kerr, Professor Keith Rome, Dr John Dixon, Mrs Katrina Williams
Multiple Sclerosis Research Australia Project Grant, $120,000
The benefit for people affected by MS is that this study could lead to the development of a new treatment technique, specifically an inexpensive, easy-to-administer shoe insole, which could help towards improving mobility and independent living.

Integrating technological and organisational approaches to enhance the safety of roadworkers

Professor Narelle Haworth, Professor Herbert Biggs, Professor Andry Rakotonirainy, Dr Mark King, Mr Martin Peelgrane, Mr James Ulyate, Mr Bob Overall, Ms Susie Bridle
ARC Linkage Project, $583,926
This multidisciplinary project will enhance the safety of roadworkers by providing practical and theoretical contributions to inform and provide direction at industry and academic levels for developing effective interventions/strategies to improve safety in road construction.

CoopEcoSafe: a new cooperative, green and safe driving system

Professor Andry Rakotonirainy, Professor Hesham Rakha, Dr Patricia Delhomme, Professor Narelle Haworth
ARC Discovery Project, $443,758
Road transport plays a vital role in our economy but generates huge costs in road trauma and greenhouse gases. Eco-driving has been trialed as a cost-effective approach to reducing fuel consumption, but little research has examined its effects on safety. This research brings together disciplines of road safety, psychology and engineering to address the fundamental question: How can mobility be greener while being safer?

Protecting young people from harm and injury: investigating the utility of a risk and protective framework

Emeritus Professor Mary Sheehan, Adjunct Professor Victor Siskind, Dr Lisa Buckley
ARC Discovery Project, $348,243
Injury is the main cause of young people's deaths and reducing it is a national priority. This research systematically evaluates an injury risk-taking school intervention which achieved significant reductions in injuries in its pilot trial.

Reducing aggression on our roads: testing a comprehensive model of aggressive driving

Adjunct Professor Barry Watson, Dr Alexia Lennon, Professor Narelle Haworth, Professo Ray Bingham
ARC Discovery Project, $301,263
High risk behaviours play a major role in road crashes that kill between 1400-1600 Australians annually and which cost Australia $17 billion each year. Aggressive driving increases crash risk and many Australian drivers report being a victim or perpetrator of driver aggression. This project will test a comprehensive model of driver aggression to allow better evidence-based decision-making and more informed design of interventions to reduce it.

Using self-report data to predict crash risk: how accurate is it and how can it best be used?

Associate Professor James Edwin Freeman, Adjunct Professor Barry Watson, Dr Anders af Wahlberg
ARC Discovery Project, $262,183
This comprehensive study will critically examine the accuracy and usefulness of self-report data to describe and understand driving behaviours as well as predict crashes. The project is the first national or international study of its kind, and the results will inform road safety interventions designed to reduce crashes and improve road safety.

Treating insomnia co-morbid with obstructive sleep apnoea: a randomised controlled clinical effectiveness trial

Adjunct Associate Professor Simon Smith, Professor R Douglas Mcevoy, Professor Leon Lack, Dr James Douglas, Associate Professor Nick Antic, Associate Professor Peter Catcheside, Dr Ching Li Chai-Coetzer, Professor Julie Ratcliffe, Dr Stephen Quinn
NHMRC Project Grant, $261,152.72
The NHMRC-funded COMISA trial is a multi-site randomised control trial to determine the benefit of CBT for insomnia in patients with sleep disorders.

Enhancing knowledge about the role of human factors enforcement practices and legislation in Australia and China to inform development of culturally-specific speed managment strategies reduce road trauma

Dr Judy Fleiter, Adjunct Professor Barry Watson
NHMRC Australia-China Exchange, $383,454.16


Evaluating and developing the evidence-base and data mining approaches to strengthen the consumer product safety system in Australia

Associate Professor Kirsten Vallmuur, Dr Kirsten McKenzie
ARC Future Fellowship, $771,480
Recent work commissioned by the Government to investigate the consumer product safety system has identified problems in the efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of the system, the lack of national uniformity and lack of available data to support an early warning system. This study will evaluate the evidence-base and develop new data mining methods to support early identification and surveillance of product-related injuries, which will facilitate a stronger evidence base to inform policy and prevention initiatives to avert and reduce the incidence and severity of product-related injuries.

Mothers' sleep in the postpartum period: effects on safety-sensitive tasks

Dr Kerry Armstrong, Ms Janelle Mackenzie
NHMRC Public Health Postgraduate Research Scholarship, $64,227.67
In the months following the birth of an infant, mothers often report feelings of sleepiness due to their caregiving responsibilities. Sleepiness is associated with reduced neurobehavioural performance, and in turn, driving while sleepy is associated with elevated crash risk. Thus, the concern is that mothers may be at increased crash risk when driving during the postpartum period. This program of research involved assessment of mothers’ sleep, sleepiness, and driving during the postpartum period.

Risky gadgets to the rescue: designing personal ubicomp devices to foster safer driving behaviours in young males

Dr Ronald Schroeter
ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, $405,614
This study will pioneer research to explore the following hypothesis, which has not been explored to date: Providing safe, driving-related and pleasurable stimuli through digital technologies in the car can replace the urge for risky driving behaviours in young male drivers.


Evidence of impact

  • Interlock drink driving program
  • Under the Limit program
  • Fleet safety services
  • Health monitoring and injury prevention in the mining industry
  • Development of deep brain stimulation techniques in Parkinson's disease and orthostatic tremor
  • Informing policy and interventions to reduce mortality and burden of disease associated with injury, including road accidents and workplace safety

Research enquiries

IHBI research enquiries

Contact us to find out about research and discovery at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI).