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What is the AIS?

Role of the AIS

As Australia’s strategic high performance sport agency, the AIS is responsible and accountable for leading the delivery of Australia’s international sporting success.

Since 1981, the AIS has been the cradle of Australia’s national sports system — one that is recognised the world over for its ability to identify, develop and produce world, Olympic and Paralympic champions.

With international competition intensifying all the time, the AIS links sports investment to performance targets and provides world-class expertise and services — ensuring Australia’s current and emerging high performance athletes have access to the right support at the right time in their pursuit of excellence.

Australia’s high performance targets

The AIS works in partnership with national sporting organisations (NSOs), state institutes and academies of sport (SIS/SAS) and peak bodies (Australian Olympic Committee, Australian Paralympic Committee and Australian Commonwealth Games Association) to deliver international sporting success.

In 2012, the AIS outlined ambitious international performance targets:

Top 5 Olympics and Paralympics
Top 15 Winter Olympics and Paralympics
#1 Commonwealth Games
20+ World champions annual

In 2018, the AIS will reconsider performance targets as part of the AIS high performance strategy.

Our service offering to national sporting organisations

In order to deliver success under Australia’s Winning Edge, sports are taking full ownership and accountability of their programs.

The services we provide to NSOs to help achieve Winning Edge targets include:

  • sharper focus on true podium potential athletes with investment, resources and support
  • assistance to sports to optimise high performance planning and program delivery
  • innovation and applied research for performance gain
  • increased investment in coaches and high performance personnel
  • talent identification and athlete pathway initiatives
  • increased alignment and integration with our high performance sector partners.

How we operate

The AIS is renowned for producing world, Olympic and Paralympic champions by combining high performance expertise with world-class facilities and cutting-edge sports science/sports medicine services.

At the heart of the AIS’ success has been its sport programs and athlete scholarships.

However, under Australia’s Winning Edge that emphasis has changed:

  • The AIS now has responsibility for $100 million of high performance investment into sports to assist with the delivery of their programs aligned to their Winning Edge targets.
  • The AIS is now responsible for a consistent national approach to categorising athletes to track and manage athlete performance progress.
  • The AIS will no longer employ coaches or deliver athlete scholarship programs — these functions have been fully transferred to NSOs. As the lead high performance agency, the AIS seeks to collaborate with SIS/SAS and other partners to achieve Winning Edge targets.
  • A new national performance support approach is being implemented to tightly align AIS performance preparation, science and innovation with the pursuit of Winning Edge targets.
  • The AIS has increased investments in research and innovation and will play a new role to develop the best coaches and high performance leaders through the AIS Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership.
  • Through the AIS Sports Draft, the AIS has a renewed focus on unearthing Australia’s talent.

This will be delivered through five key business areas:

Performance Investment: providing reliable data at the right time and in the right way to inform the high performance investment decisions of the AIS.

Performance Excellence: providing a high performance consulting team that assists NSOs with strategy, high performance planning and program delivery to increase the likelihood of Australia achieving sustainable high performance success.

Athletes, Coaching and Leadership: implementing innovative and customised high performance system solutions to optimise athlete, coach and leader talent.

Performance Preparation: ensuring the right athletes get the right support at the right time by planning, coordinating and delivering expertise for prioritised NSOs and athletes.
Performance Science and Innovation: supporting innovative solutions for prioritised NSOs and promoting growth of new knowledge and expertise for high performance sport.

AIS key initiatives

The following key initiatives are part of Australia’s Winning Edge:

Mandatory Governance Principles
In March 2013 a list of mandatory sports governance principles were released, with the top-seven funded sports required to adopt the principles or place their funding at risk. The principles deliver a best practice administrative structure to help sport function at their peak.

A sharper, more robust national funding and accountability modelIn April 2013 the first funding allocations for sports — equating to approximately $100 million over the 2013–14 — were made under Winning Edge. Funding decisions were based on a rigorous and transparent assessment of each sport’s capability to deliver on Winning Edge targets.

Competitive Innovation FundIn April 2013 the AIS allocated up to $1.5 million a year for the Competitive Innovation Fund — an investment of $6 million over the next four years. The fund has been established to encourage innovation in high performance sport, including a greater commitment to investment in coaching related activities, sport specific projects and technology initiatives.

Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership
Established in June 2013, the Centre for Performance Coaching and Leadership aims to deliver world-best approaches to learning and development, formalise pathways for professional development, drive research and encourage innovation for up to 30 coaches and high performance leaders annually.

Sports Science Sports Medicine (SSSM) Best Practice Principles
Integrity in sport is paramount. Accordingly, the AIS developed five Best Practice Principles as a practical guide to assist boards and senior management of sporting organisations in performing their oversight function in relation to SSSM practices.


dAIS provides $12 million per annum to support athletes competing in Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games sports. dAIS supports over 650 athletes across 30 sports each year.

AIS Sports DraftThe AIS Sports Draft is the first of its kind, providing performance pathways for athletes with the potential to become an Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games champion.

Initially, the Sports Draft is focusing on boxing and judo. In the future it will expand to look at specific sport ‘clusters’ — such as paddling, running or paralympic sports — or take a theme-based approach by examining speed and power, target or acrobatic.

Research into Action FundIn September 2013 the AIS allocated $300,000 for the Research into Action Fund. This will contribute to transforming existing knowledge and/or expertise into applied outcomes that support Winning Edge targets.

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