Health behaviours, psychology and health promotion – Corneel Vandelanotte

Get to know Corneel Vandelanotte

Do well in research and you not only get noticed by the CQUni community; you also get respect.

Healthy behaviours at Work, Rest and Play; Psychology and Well-being; Public Health and Health Promotions – Professor Corneel Vandelanotte

Personal experience

In 2004, I completed a PhD in Physical Education at Ghent University in Belgium. My PhD was on the development and evaluation of a computerised and individualised intervention for increasing physical activity and decreasing fat intake. After moving to Brisbane in 2005, I started working at the Cancer Prevention Research Centre (University of Queensland).

In 2009, I moved to CQUniversity, and I’m currently a Professorial Research Fellow and NHF-funded Future Leader Fellow. I am leading the Physical Activity Research Group which is part of the Appleton Institute, and I am also leading the 10,000 Steps Australia Project (which has attracted over 355,000 members from all over the world and has over 50,000 app downloads to date).

This is going to sound cliché, but I chose CQUniversity for its people. I came here to work with Professor Kerry Mummery because of his inspiring and innovative ideas in my area of research. Unfortunately, he left pretty soon after I arrived (though he continues to be a valuable mentor for me). But by then I was hooked; CQUni has always been very supportive of my research endeavours and has treated me very well.

I also supervise several post-doctoral researchers and help them secure their own externally-funded fellowships, and I’ve recently been appointed Academic Lead – Research Impact and Engagement within the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences at CQUniversity.

Research at CQUniversity: Healthy behaviours at Work, Rest and Play; Psychology and Well-being; Public Health and Health Promotions

CQUniversity conducts high quality research in a number of areas that relate to health behaviours, health psychology and health promotion. For example, CQUniversity is well known for its research on sleep and biological rhythms, physical activity, human-animal interactions, community and disaster resilience, gambling and addictive behaviours, human factors and safety science.

Undertaking postgraduate studies in these areas guarantees that RHD students will be collaborating within teams of world-renowned researchers. This means they will be conducting innovative research at the cutting edge which will provide them with the best possible start to their own careers.

It’s great to be able to work with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable experts in their field, covering a range of different topic areas with demonstrated significance and relevance to health and wellbeing. I’ve learnt that if you do well in research, you not only get noticed by the CQUni community, you also get respect, which is not a given in some other Australian universities.

CQUniversity has over 20 campuses across Australia, from big metropolitan areas to rural and regional areas, which means you can live in an area that best suits your lifestyle. The cost of living and traffic congestion are considerably lower outside the capital cities.

Current research and career highlights

My research focuses on web-, app- and tracker-delivered and computer-tailored interventions for improving health behaviours. The research takes a population health approach to behaviour change, and is focussed on the development and evaluation of innovative, affordable and effective health behaviour change interventions that can reach large numbers of people.

Securing my first NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) Project Grant as lead investigator of nearly $1million would probably be my biggest career highlight. These grants are very prestigious and competitive, and usually only awarded to renowned research professors over 55 years of age on average, so it was a big thing to secure one 5 years ago when I was still an early career researcher aged 33.

Another thing I’m pretty proud of is having supported early career researchers at CQUni to secure their own NHMRC funded post-doctoral fellowships. We’ve secured three already in our group, which is kind of unprecedented, and I’m sure there will be more to follow.

If I wasn’t conducting research, I think I would be sailing a yacht around the globe.

Read more about our current research in the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences.