Cairns Taipans welcome performance enhancing CQUni PhD students

15 September 2021

The CQUniversity Cairns Taipans NBL team has two new weapons for the 2021/22 season and beyond' with embedded CQUni Exercise and Sport Science scholars helping take athlete performance to the next level.

Data analyst Stephanie Shirley and strength and conditioning expert Rogan Bartlett will complete their PhDs with CQUniversity while working with the Taipans' as an extension of CQUniversity's Exercise and Sports Science Lab.

While originally slated as a single scholarship' both applicants showed a unique set of skills that could not be separated' and as such' the Taipans recognised the value in facilitating two positions.

Working under the supervision of Dr Joshua Guy' Dr Aaron Scanlan and Dr Nathan Elsworthy' both students will receive an industry Elevate scholarship funded by CQUniversity' as well as an additional tax-free salary by the Taipans to embed them in the team and assist with the strength and conditioning program.

Both will have additional project costs and conference support available to them – making it one of Australia's most desirable higher education opportunities in the field of sports sciences.

Taipans CEO Mark Beecroft said the successful scholars were of an extremely high standard' and it was a testament to CQUniversity's School of Health' Medicine and Applied Sciences as well as the club' that both are relocating from their respective cities to Cairns.

"We couldn't separate these two candidates – they had two distinct strengths. One had more experience in the field of data and analytics' while the other boasted broad strength and conditioning intel and experience. Both showed strong interest in the research that forms this program and saw the value in where this could take their respective careers'" he said.

"The club came to the realisations that if we want to be the best – we actually need both of these applicants to bring their unique set of skills to the table. Working under the supervision of Dr Guy – who is an integral part of our player welfare – we can provide a holistic approach not only to our strength and conditioning' but a comprehensive player monitoring program.

"This is a significant move for us as a club' but we know that these are three-year positions that will have a positive impact on our team performance while also providing a legitimate career pathway for CQUniversity students."

Mr Beecroft said this achievement was another pillar of the partnership between the Taipans and CQUniversity' that will only open more doors and opportunities for both organisations in the future.

"We obviously love the story between CQUniversity and the Taipans – the evolution of the partnership has just continued to grow and really become a flagship for the city of Cairns in terms of academia and sports.

"When we first joined forces' we threw a few concepts in the air and they have all come to fruition – a number of athletes and admin staff have studied at CQUniversity in some capacity' we have a world-class sports science lab embedded at Cairns Basketball that delivers their distinctive sport science degree and now this new PhD scholarship program.

"We are extremely grateful to Dr Guy' Dr Scanlan and Dr Elsworthy for their passion and commitment to the performance of the Taipans' all of which wouldn't be possible without Associate Vice President Jodie Duignan-George and her continued support. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with CQUniversity and are excited for the future."