The mission of RECOVER is to produce breakthrough research, which leads to better outcomes after injury, especially when caused by road traffic crashes.

It is only through ongoing research that it will be possible to develop more effective treatments to lessen the physical and psychological suffering that can arise following injury.


RECOVER’s history dates back to the early 1990’s, when the then Queensland Insurance Commissioner, Mr Graham Hughes, pursued his ambition to invest in research aimed at improving road safety and recovery after a road traffic crash. His vision and determination led to the Motor Accident Insurance Act, which the Queensland Parliament passed on September 1, 1994. This important Act established the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) and guaranteed funding for road safety, injury rehabilitation and medical research. In 1996-97, two centres were established: The Centre of National Research on Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine (CONROD) (renamed RECOVER Injury Research Centre in 2016), and the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland (CARRSQ).

Both centres are funded by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission, which is a government regulatory authority responsible for the ongoing management of the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) scheme in Queensland. Since the commencement of the Motor Accident Insurance Act, the Commission has emphasised research initiatives in accident prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Mr Neil Singleton is the current Insurance Commissioner.

Mr Hughes was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from The University of Queensland for his central role in conceiving and establishing CONROD. Mr Hughes was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of the University from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for his central role in conceiving and establishing CARRSQ. In 2004, he was appointed Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to research initiatives into road accident prevention, trauma treatment and rehabilitation, and public administration of insurance and workers’ compensation.

Structure and research

CONROD evolved from a school centre based at The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine, into an increasingly influential research organisation spread over two Universities and three campuses. The centre was formally established in 1997, through a partnership between the Motor Accident Insurance Commission, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and The University of Queensland. In 2000, Griffith University became a research partner of CONROD, adding increased depth and breadth to the research conducted at the centre.

Since its inception, CONROD was involved in research, educational and service activities in five key areas, namely: acute trauma-care; injury rehabilitation; health economics and health systems; the psychology of traumatic injury and recovery; and vocational and community reintegration.


Professor Rod McClure was Director of CONROD from 1997 to 1999. Professor Bellamy was appointed Director in 1999 and led the centre for 13 years. Professor Justin Kenardy, a leading expert in the psychology of traumatic injury, led the centre from 2012 to 2014. Emeritus Professor Gwendolen Jull, a world-leading researcher in the evaluation and management of neck pain, took on the Interim Directorship from 2014-2015. Professor Michael Sullivan, a renowned expert in the psychology of pain and disability, was Director of the centre in 2016. He is now based at McGill University, Canada, however, he continues to be associated with the centre as an Honorary Professor. Professor Deborah Theodoros is the current Director and is a world leader in the field of Telerehabilitation.

Through the years, other leading researchers at CONROD included: Professor Michele Sterling, Professor Heidi Zeeman, Professor Elizabeth Kendall, Professor Luke Connelly and Professor Kevin Tetsworth.


CONROD was renamed RECOVER Injury Research Centre in 2016.

In 2017 a new contract was negotiated between The University of Queensland and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC). The new contract includes structural and governance changes, which came into place from September 1, 2017. RECOVER is now located exclusively at The University of Queensland, sitting within the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, and will focus its research, educational and service activities in three key areas:

  • Improving the delivery and availability of evidence-based services
  • Designing better therapies
  • Facilitating return to pre-injury function

RECOVER continues to produce breakthrough research which leads to better outcomes after injury, especially when caused by road traffic crashes. 

RECOVER is associated with another major research activity called the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Recovery Following Road Traffic Injuries.