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Southern Cross joins QBE Insurance and LeapForward to improve personal injury rehabilitation

A personal using a stretch band under supervision of clinician


7 June 2023

Improved outcomes in personal injury rehabilitation are at the heart of a new research initiative led by Southern Cross University.

The University has joined QBE Insurance and award-winning technology start-up LeapForward to co-fund scholarships for two PhD candidates whose projects will provide a critical examination of best practice in goal-setting throughout rehabilitation.

Recipients Jack Sargeant and Grace Redden have begun their projects and are based at the University’s Gold Coast campus.

“The opportunity to investigate goal-setting within personal injury rehabilitation perfectly aligned with my interests,” said Jack, who studied Psychological Science with Honours and Exercise Science at Southern Cross University.

“I am excited to work alongside QBE and LeapForward to make meaningful change within the industry.”

Grace attained Honours in Exercise Science and has been working as a sports scientist in the National Rugby League’s academy system.

“When I saw this opportunity to pursue a topic that would draw upon my personal work experience and passions, I was in,” Grace said. “I am eager to develop my experiences and pursue my passions in this field of research.”

Grace Redden and Jack Sargeant PhD candidates
PhD candidates Grace Redden and Jack Sargeant at the Gold Coast campus.

“These PhD projects should enable us to provide new options which ultimately enhance the personal injury rehabilitation journey.”

Initiative leader Associate Professor Christian Swann said the two projects build on previous goal-setting research within the Faculty of Health at Southern Cross University. 

“We are excited to be partnering with QBE and LeapForward. They both share our desire to improve best practice in goal-setting, and these PhD projects should enable us to provide new options which ultimately enhance the personal injury rehabilitation journey,” said Associate Professor Swann.

Founder and CEO of LeapForward, Ms Libby Roberts, said the group had looked extensively at the science behind goal-setting.

“Goal-setting as a means of challenging and changing maladaptive thoughts and behaviours is one of the foundations of the LeapForward program,” she said. “The evidence has shown us that SMART goals do not work for everyone. In fact, it can be incredibly demotivating when you fail to achieve the goals you have set.

“We are delighted to be working with the teams from Southern Cross University and QBE on this research into a new approach to goal-setting, in particular how it could facilitate better recovery outcomes for those on claim for an injury.”

QBE’s Australia Pacific General Manager – Managed Fund Claims, Ms Rachel Elmes, agreed.

“Cultivating resilience is at the core of our purpose at QBE and we believe that this initiative will enable us to contribute towards a more resilient future for those impacted by personal injury,” said Ms Elmes.

“This relationship is a testament to our commitment towards making a positive impact in the lives of people affected by injury. By supporting research in this field, we are taking a step forward in ensuring that the best practices are identified and implemented to help individuals achieve their goals and regain control of their lives.”

The initiative aligns with the new Physical Activity, Sport and Exercise Research (PASER) theme at Southern Cross University, and the projects are expected to be completed in 2026. 

Media contact

Sharlene King, Media Office at Southern Cross University +61 429 661 349 or