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Cliff, Dylan Dr

Senior Lecturer

  • Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Early Start Research
  • School of Education

Overview


Dr Dylan Cliff is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His area of expertise is in children’s movement behaviours, including physical activity, sedentary behaviour, electronic media use and sleep. He aims to promote healthy levels of movement behaviours among children by enhancing our understanding of how movement behaviours interact to influence children’s development. This understanding can inform policies and practices that support children’s movement behaviours. 

Dylan has been awarded over $41 Million in competitive funding and published more than 120 peer-reviewed journal articles that have been cited more than 7,800 times. He has a h-index of 42. 

Dylan currently leads the Sleep and Activity Database for the Early Years (SADEY), funded by an Australian Research Council. This is an international project to unite researchers globally to develop an analyse a pooled database of young children’s movement behaviours and health and development outcomes. He is also a Chief Investigator on the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. This centre includes six Australian universities (UOW is one of these) and 33 academic and industry partner organisations from Australia, Europe, Asia and America as they embark on a seven year, transdisciplinary research program that involves experts from education, health and digital and social connectedness. 

Dylan was also a leadership group member for the development of the Australian 24-hr Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (birth to 5 years), and for the Australian 24-hr Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People (5 to 17 years).  


Research Interests

Current research projects include:

  • The use of compositional data analysis to understand how physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep interact to influence health and development in young children. 
  • The influence of electronic media and the surrounding context (duration, timing, type, co-use, etc) on health and development in young children. 
  • An intervention study to support the implementation of physical activity and screen time guidelines in Outside School Hours Care (OSHC).

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Dylan’s research focuses on supporting children’s development and health through investigating movement behaviours such as physical activity, sedentary behaviour and use of electronic media. This began with his PhD, which was part of an NHMRC-funded childhood obesity treatment trial, where he examined the effects of an after-school physical activity program on physical activity, fundamental movement skill competency, and electronic media use. He subsequently received two post-doctoral research fellowships from the National Heart Foundation to investigate children’s “sitting” or sedentary behaviour, and how this may influence health and development independent of participation in physical activity. He also received an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) investigating the influence of physical activity and electronic media use on cognitive and psychosocial development in preschool children. He has led and contributed to a number of other projects focused on improving the measurement of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour which have received funding from the ARC and National Heart Foundation. He teaches in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the School of Education.

    Dylan has co-authored over 80 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, edited book chapters and government reports.

    Dylan has led and contributed to research supported by $4.5M project funding from government (3 ARC grants and 1 NHMRC grant), industry (4 Heart Foundation grants), and internal sources (UOW).

Available as Research Supervisor

Available for Collaborative Projects

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Impact Story


  • This project was commissioned by the NSW Department of Education in 2016 to evaluate a change in school classroom design moving from traditional rows of desks to a Flexible Learning Space (FLS) design which accommodates a variety of furnishings to meet the needs of different pedagogical approaches of teachers and learning styles of students. This project has benefited the NSW Department of Education by providing feedback to teachers, executives and directors regarding the effect of FLS on children’s learning, time on task, engagement and collaboration. At an organisational level, the research provided constructive infrastructural design advice and addressed teacher concerns regarding the practical implications of a pedagogical approach which encouraged students to be co-creators of their learning experience using collaboration, independence and experiential learning in an environment where students are free to move around the classroom. Children benefitted through a more actively engaged approach to their learning which resulted in more positive classroom interactions and a reduction in sitting time, resulting in improved health and wellbeing.

Available as Research Supervisor

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Understanding the Association Between Neighbourhood Green Space Quality and Prosocial Behaviour Across Childhood and Adolescence
    Doctor of Philosophy 24-hour movement behaviours across the primary-secondary school transition: Associations with physical and psychosocial health in preadolescent children Chong, Kar-Hau
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Influence of Coach Feedback on the Motivation and Development of Primary School Sport Participants Wilsmore, Brent
    Doctor of Philosophy Using experiential learning for children's healthy nutrition and movement Varman, Sumantla
    Doctor of Philosophy Adherence to international 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines (physical activity, sleep and screen time) and associations with physical and cognitive development in young children in Ethiopia Tugu, Chalchisa Abdeta

Outreach Overview


  • My professional service activities include the following:

    Editorial Board Member: International Journal of Environmental Research in Public Health (2020-ongoing)

    Associate Editor:
    Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (2014–2018)

    Peer Reviewer: ARC Discovery (2014-2017) and ARC Future Fellowships (2012-14), Diabetes Australia (2015), Healthway WA (2016), Scottish Chief Scientist Office Research Grants (2016), and NHMRC project grants (2012-2015). Peer reviewer for international journals including (selected): Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Obesity, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

    Grant panel: Assistant Chair, NHMRC Project Grant GRP (2016).

    Community Committee member: Shellharbour Local Government Area Communities for Children (2016-present). In this role I advise on evidence-based community approaches to improving developmental and health outcomes among disadvantaged and Aboriginal children.  

    Advocacy: I co-authored a report chapter on sedentary behavior in the National Heart Foundation’s advocacy document: Blueprint for an Active Australia.

    Research Ethics: Executive Member and Advisor, UoW Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee (2018-).

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Physical & Health Education, University of Wollongong, Education 2004 - 2008
  • B.E. in Physical & Health Education, Education, Honours I 2000 - 2003

Top Publications


Research Overview


  • Dylan’s research focuses on supporting children’s development and health through investigating movement behaviours such as physical activity, sedentary behaviour and use of electronic media. This began with his PhD, which was part of an NHMRC-funded childhood obesity treatment trial, where he examined the effects of an after-school physical activity program on physical activity, fundamental movement skill competency, and electronic media use. He subsequently received two post-doctoral research fellowships from the National Heart Foundation to investigate children’s “sitting” or sedentary behaviour, and how this may influence health and development independent of participation in physical activity. He also received an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) investigating the influence of physical activity and electronic media use on cognitive and psychosocial development in preschool children. He has led and contributed to a number of other projects focused on improving the measurement of children’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour which have received funding from the ARC and National Heart Foundation. He teaches in both the undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the School of Education.

    Dylan has co-authored over 80 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, edited book chapters and government reports.

    Dylan has led and contributed to research supported by $4.5M project funding from government (3 ARC grants and 1 NHMRC grant), industry (4 Heart Foundation grants), and internal sources (UOW).

Selected Publications


Investigator On


Impact Story


  • This project was commissioned by the NSW Department of Education in 2016 to evaluate a change in school classroom design moving from traditional rows of desks to a Flexible Learning Space (FLS) design which accommodates a variety of furnishings to meet the needs of different pedagogical approaches of teachers and learning styles of students. This project has benefited the NSW Department of Education by providing feedback to teachers, executives and directors regarding the effect of FLS on children’s learning, time on task, engagement and collaboration. At an organisational level, the research provided constructive infrastructural design advice and addressed teacher concerns regarding the practical implications of a pedagogical approach which encouraged students to be co-creators of their learning experience using collaboration, independence and experiential learning in an environment where students are free to move around the classroom. Children benefitted through a more actively engaged approach to their learning which resulted in more positive classroom interactions and a reduction in sitting time, resulting in improved health and wellbeing.

Advisees


  • Graduate Advising Relationship

    Degree Research Title Advisee
    Doctor of Philosophy Understanding the Association Between Neighbourhood Green Space Quality and Prosocial Behaviour Across Childhood and Adolescence
    Doctor of Philosophy 24-hour movement behaviours across the primary-secondary school transition: Associations with physical and psychosocial health in preadolescent children Chong, Kar-Hau
    Doctor of Philosophy (Integrated) Influence of Coach Feedback on the Motivation and Development of Primary School Sport Participants Wilsmore, Brent
    Doctor of Philosophy Using experiential learning for children's healthy nutrition and movement Varman, Sumantla
    Doctor of Philosophy Adherence to international 24-hour movement behaviour guidelines (physical activity, sleep and screen time) and associations with physical and cognitive development in young children in Ethiopia Tugu, Chalchisa Abdeta

Outreach Overview


  • My professional service activities include the following:

    Editorial Board Member: International Journal of Environmental Research in Public Health (2020-ongoing)

    Associate Editor:
    Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport (2014–2018)

    Peer Reviewer: ARC Discovery (2014-2017) and ARC Future Fellowships (2012-14), Diabetes Australia (2015), Healthway WA (2016), Scottish Chief Scientist Office Research Grants (2016), and NHMRC project grants (2012-2015). Peer reviewer for international journals including (selected): Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Obesity, International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Pediatrics, American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

    Grant panel: Assistant Chair, NHMRC Project Grant GRP (2016).

    Community Committee member: Shellharbour Local Government Area Communities for Children (2016-present). In this role I advise on evidence-based community approaches to improving developmental and health outcomes among disadvantaged and Aboriginal children.  

    Advocacy: I co-authored a report chapter on sedentary behavior in the National Heart Foundation’s advocacy document: Blueprint for an Active Australia.

    Research Ethics: Executive Member and Advisor, UoW Social Sciences Human Research Ethics Committee (2018-).

Education And Training


  • Ph.D. in Physical & Health Education, University of Wollongong, Education 2004 - 2008
  • B.E. in Physical & Health Education, Education, Honours I 2000 - 2003
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