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School of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Adelaide
SA 5005
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Telephone: +61 8 8313 5460
Facsimile: +61 8 8313 4367

Sports Engineering

Australia's First Sports Engineering Program

Sports Engineering is an ambitious new program, and an Australian first, that combines mechanical engineering, physiology, bio-mechanical and sports engineering subjects to develop new technologies for sporting applications. Students will also develop a knowledge of human physiology and its relationship to sport and exercise. The fourth year includes a major sports engineering project, including the opportunity for industry sponsorship, where students may work on real problems for an industry client. Graduates will analyse and develop more efficient sports equipment, and will be at the forefront of sporting performance developments. The broad range of skills of the fully accredited Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Sports) also enables graduates to work in more traditional mechancial industries.

Sports engineering problems may include the design of new soccer ball which behaves more consistently wherever it is struck or a  real-time force measurement and telemetry system that records the forces generated during each rowing stroke. The need for sports engineers is driven by the shortage of personnel with multi-disciplinary skills to develop new technologies for elite sports. Sports engineers also make strong candidates for managing multi-disciplinary teams of scientists, engineers and physiologists working in the sporting field.

What is a Sports Engineer?

Sports Engineers are Engineers who are working in the field of Sport. They are typically involved in the following activities:

  • Equipment design: designing and building new equipment based on the requirements of athletes. e.g. racing wheelchair design
  • Lab experiments and testing: measuring the behaviour of equipment, athletes and their interaction in a controlled environment. e.g. measuring football boot traction
  • Computational modeling: simulating the forces acting on athletes and their equipment (Finite Element Analysis) or simulating the airflow around equipment (Computational Fluid Dynamics). e.g. football aerodynamic analysis
  • Field testing: recording the behaviour of sports equipment in a match environment. e.g. high-speed video recording of tennis players hitting the ball
  • Working with governing bodies: assessing the effects of rule changes or understanding injury risks.
  • Working with athletes: working together to improve their performance

What is a Sports Engineer, Sports Scientist and Biomechanist?

Sports Engineer: designs, develops and tests sports equipment and sports participants using the application of engineering and scientific principles

Sports Scientist: uses the application of scientific principles to the study of sport involving biomechanics, physiology, psychology, etc often with the objective of improvement in performance or prevention of injury

Biomechanist: can be a sports scientist or a sports engineer: study of forces and the effect of forces on living things

How do I become a Sports Engineer?

Information for prospective students about the Sports Engineering degree program is available at:


Want to know more or contact us?

For further information about the Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Sports) please follow this link:

For prospective industry or research collaboration please consult our flyer, or contact Dr Paul Grimshaw or Dr Paul Medwell.