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Teesside University hosts international research conference

02 May 2019 @TeesUniNews

 

Researchers from around the world recently met at Teesside University to discuss the effects of mental practice on human brain function and physical movement, in the fields of sports performance, psychology and rehabilitation.

Pictured: Dr Adam Bruton (The University of Roehampton, UK), Dr Rob Hardwick (invited speaker, KU Leuven, Belgium), Dr Richard Ramsey (invited speaker, Bangor University, UK), Dr Dan Eaves (Teesside University, UK), Dr Cornelia Frank (Bielefeld University, Germany), Dr David Wright (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Pictured: Dr Adam Bruton (The University of Roehampton, UK), Dr Rob Hardwick (invited speaker, KU Leuven, Belgium), Dr Richard Ramsey (invited speaker, Bangor University, UK), Dr Dan Eaves (Teesside University, UK), Dr Cornelia Frank (Bielefeld University, Germany), Dr David Wright (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)

The Research in Imagery and Observation (RIO) Group holds its annual conference at different locations across Europe, with recent past conferences in Germany, Belgium and Ireland. This year delegates travelled to Teesside University from Mexico, Canada, Germany, Belgium and across the UK to discuss their research.

Dr Daniel Eaves, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at Teesside University was the lead organiser. He is currently one of four academics who co-lead the RIO group, which was established in 2006 to provide a forum for researchers to meet and discuss research in imagery and observation.

Professor John Dixon opened the conference at Teesside by explaining how the RIO group focus aligns closely with the research strategy of the School of Health & Social Care and the institution overall.

Dr Eaves said: 'RIO Group members are all working toward the same end goal, to further knowledge and scientific understanding of two types of mental practice; namely, mental imagery and action observation. The behavioural and neuroscientific research from our group shows these two forms of mental practice can improve sports performance and rehabilitation without physical practice.'

He added: 'It was great to see our local partners from Public Health South Tees engaging with academics who research ways to improve rehabilitation in stroke survivors and Parkinson’s disease patients. This allows practitioners to benefit from scientific discoveries and for academics to learn what is feasible in practice.'

The RIO event also enables early career researchers to present and discuss their work. Among them was Teesside University PhD student Jack Binks, who said: 'Students rarely get such a prestigious platform upon which to share their ideas with influential and established academics in the field.'

The behavioural and neuroscientific research from our group shows these two forms of mental practice can improve sports performance and rehabilitation without physical practice

Dr Daniel Eaves

Two other PhD students from Teesside University presented their research, including Jonathan Emerson and Matthew Scott, while Ryan Kenny chaired a symposium.

Among the guests was Dr Rob Hardwick, who is researching the neuroscience of human movement at KU Leuven in Belgium. He has fond memories of the first RIO group conference in 2006 and spoke of his pride in seeing the event evolve into a high quality international conference.

He said: 'Researchers working at all academic levels are able to share their ideas and it is really nice too to see how RIO enables PhD students to develop and gain experience.'

Gabriel Valadez, who travelled from Mexico’s National Institution of Rehabilitation, said: 'My interest is in stroke patients, so it has been a great experience and very interesting to hear such varied speakers sharing their research.'

Dr Eaves said: 'It was so rewarding to see my PhD students delivering high quality research presentations alongside international guests, such as Dr Shaun Boe, who attended with his five students from Dalhouise University in Canada.'

This research aligns with the grand challenge theme of health and well being and is part of the research undertaken by the following two research centres: Centre for Public Health research and Centre for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Sports Science