The research programme SMARTmovements adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the scientific study of human movement and its effect on functioning, health, societal participation and quality of life.
The aim of SMARTmovements is to conduct high-level scientific research to 1) develop fundamental theory and knowledge in the human movement sciences, 2) improve understanding of fundamental concepts in the separate applied fields of human movement sciences, 3) provide the foundation for a high quality teaching programme committed to the education and training of the next generation of human movement scientists and professionals, and finally 4) contribute to society through innovation of delivery and practice, and technical innovations in the medical, behavioural and sport sciences.
Description of the Programme
Research within SMARTmovements is dedicated to the scientific study of human motor behaviour and its optimisation throughout the lifespan. Motor behaviour is viewed as the output of an on-going interaction between perceptual, cognitive and motor processes, and the social, technical and physical context in which they occur. Methods originating from the behavioural sciences, physics, physiology and neurosciences create an inter/multidisciplinary approach. The fundamental goal of SMARTmovements is to understand the physical and psychological processes underpinning human movement and how processes such as motor learning, development, training, ageing, and recovery affect the neuromotor system throughout the entire lifespan. This knowledge is pursued in relation to (and intends to contribute to) healthy ageing, sports performance, and rehabilitation, in order to enhance and optimise human movement, functioning, health, participation and quality of life throughout every stage of the lifespan.
This multidisciplinary approach is studied in a variety of individuals focusing on typical development and ageing, to special populations such as those with motor and cognitive disorders, injury or trauma, and (elite level (disabled)) athletes. A number of different scientific approaches are employed including biomechanics, neuromechanics, anatomy, physiology, (neuro)psychology, motor control, pathology and epidemiology. SMARTmovements researchers study a broad repertoire of motor activities, including but not limited to physical activity, gait, balance and stability, manual dexterity, sport competition, individual sporting actions, and wheeled mobility.
The Research within SMARTmovements focuses on five key themes: the perceptual-motor mechanisms underpinning gait, balance and fall prevention; the influence of physical activity on cognition, and physical and mental fitness; characteristics of performance and expertise; optimisation of performance and functional recovery; and motor learning, development and neuromuscular control of perceptual motor skills. These five themes form the central topics that run across each of three research groups:
Motor Function, Cognition and Healthy Ageing
Focuses on understanding the psychological, physiological and social consequences of movement, in particular the relationship between movement, lifestyle, and the physical and mental condition and resilience of elderly people.
Rehabilitation and Functional Recovery
Focuses on understanding and effectiveness of diagnosis, treatment, assessment and adaptive technologies, in children and adults with impairments that hinder normal motor and day-to-day functioning.
Sport, learning and performance
Focuses on the relationship between physical and cognitive aspects of motor learning and performance in recreational and professional sports, and how these can be adapted to optimise performance.