Investigating the placebo effects of treatments for elite athletes has been the fuelfor study for Phil Bellinger. And it is set to take him to Amsterdam to showcasehis research on an international stage.

The Applied Sports Science PhD candidate’s research entailed a study in whichhe gave cyclists a placebo supplement that had no effect on their performance.

However he managed to convince the cyclists that this ‘supplement’ wouldimprove their performance.

“I was able to show that simply believing in a novel and exciting performance enhancingtreatment can produce improvements in performance regardless of
introducing a real treatment effect,” says Phil.

To his delight, the abstract of his research was accepted for an oral podiumpresentation this month at the 19th Annual European College of Sport ScienceCongress, one of the most well recognised sports science and medicalconferences in the world.

“I am so excited to be selected for the Congress in Amsterdam in July, and amreally looking forward to this brilliant opportunity to get my work out there amongstthe worldwide leaders in sports performance research.”

A young scholar travel grant

Phil also received some further good news this month, when he learnt he hadbeaten more than 200 other hopeful PhD candidates to receive a young scholartravel grant worth $3000. Run by a major sponsor of the conference – theGatorade Sport Science Institute (GSSI), one of the major research centres in theworld for performance nutrition research, Phil says the money will come in handyfor meeting and networking with some of the leading nutrition and sportperformance researchers in the world.

Originally from Tasmania where he achieved a first class honours award inExercise Science from the University of Tasmania, Phil says he was keen tomove up to the Gold Coast. “I knew Griffith had a great reputation for SportScience so I was really happy when I got accepted for the PhD.

“It has been brilliant undertaking research at the Griffith Uni Sport Science Lab,and I am very grateful that they had enough faith in me to also award me a
scholarship for my studies.

“Moving from Tassie wasn’t an easy move as I effectively had to start all overagain, building up a whole new network of people whom I could trust and who
could assist me with my work.”

A keen cyclist himself, Phil says one of the first things to do when he moved to theGold Coast, was get involved in the local cycling scene.

“It was important for me to build up a rapport with a new group of athletes withwhich to work with.”

Now Phil is looking forward to starting a new study in high intensity intervaltraining which aims to further improve track cycling performance with a

“At this stage, my career ambition is to work as a sport scientist and assist eliteathletes in optimising their performance.”

With Amsterdam on his agenda, it looks like Phil is on the right track.