Available Category 1 PhD projects - Humanities, education, psychology, music, business, law & social sciences

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Chief Investigator

Project title

Project description

Preferred educational background

Professor Andrew Neal

a.neal@psy.uq.edu.au

Redesigning work for crew operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft

The aim of this project is to identify how work roles should be designed for crew operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). Industry expects that the introduction of higher levels of automation will reduce operational costs by enabling the crew to operate more than one RPA at a time. The current project examines the safety and effectiveness of different types of work designs for these systems. The primary outcome will be a set of recommendations regarding the design of work roles for the crew operating next-generation RPA systems. Expected benefits include improvements in safety and cost-effectiveness of next-generation RPA systems.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of organisational psychology and/or human factors would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of psychology and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Dr Jack Lam

j.lam@uq.edu.au

Life events and trajectories of later-life loneliness

The PhD project will be part of an ARC DECRA, which examines loneliness from a longitudinal and life course perspective. The DECRA project will investigate whether the experiences of different life events may render older Australians more susceptible to a sustained path to increased loneliness and isolation. It will also will innovate by moving the analysis beyond the individual level, incorporating characteristics across households and neighbourhoods. The student will work closely with the advisory team to discuss the details of the PhD project, which will sit within the scope of the DECRA.

An additional top-up scholarship of $5,000 is available to the successful applicant. The successful HDR candidate will also qualify to be a student member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, which qualifies them to apply for travel grants of up to $6,000 and attend professional development courses.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of life course theory or methods, sociology, economics or demography would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of social sciences, particularly in sociology, and/or ageing/gerontological issues and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of quantitative analysis of longitudinal, survey data, or experience in quantitative analysis and modelling in Stata, R, or equivalent software is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Associate Professor Ian Hardy

ian.hardy@uq.edu.au

Beyond global discourses of data: Storying learning in schools

We seek a student interested in working as part of a broader research group focusing on the myriad ways in which teachers and educators in schools and school systems generate and engage with forms of data relevant to student engagement and learning in schooling settings. This could relate to any and all aspects of students' engagement and learning, including from enrolment through to graduation. This could also relate to how data are developed and generated systemically, including the various data infrastructures (hardware; software; e-networks) used to support the development, generation and engagement with data on the part of students, teachers and parents.  Prospective students may wish to focus on issues of data in relation to early childhood, primary schooling and/or secondary schooling. 

Students with an interest in comparative and international education are encouraged to apply.

We also encourage Indigenous students to apply who may be interested in working in Indigenous settings and/or undertaking an Indigenous focus as part of the study. 

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of how schools generate and engage with data, and how data are understood in other national and international contexts would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of education and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of qualitative methods and globalization processes is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Thomas Suddendorf

t.suddendorf@psy.uq.edu.au

Gaining control of the future: The cognitive development of foresight

Foresight, our capacity to think about the future, is a hallmark of human cognition and key to our dominance on the planet. We can travel mentally in time and adjust behaviour in light of what we foresee; assessing opportunities and risks, pursuing skills and knowledge we anticipate will be useful, and plotting a path to future success and happiness. This project aims to contribute to a better understanding of how young children begin to develop foresight and control over the future.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of developmental psychology and research on mental time travel would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of cognitive development and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of comparative and evolutionary psychology is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Dr Bryan Mukandi

b.mukandi@uq.edu.au

Seeing the Black Child

At the heart of the broader project in which this PhD position sits is the idea that “mainstream” service providers and policy makers generally don’t understand and see Black children in the way that those children are seen in their own communities. That community knowledge has the potential to shift service provision and policy approaches in transformative ways. 

There is an opportunity for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander researcher to conduct a PhD project on care for Indigenous children within urban Indigenous communities. Care here can be understood in a variety of forms, but the areas of greatest focus in the broader project are: education; health and wellbeing; interface with the justice system; and family or care arrangements. The research is interdisciplinary, and the PhD applicant can pursue either an empirical or theoretical project. Qualitative projects that engage with community and draw directly on community knowledge and experience will be considered highly. Similarly, experience working in urban Indigenous communities, particularly with children or on projects related to Indigenous children, will be looked on favourably.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. You may also be eligible for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Scholarship.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of the Indigenous community controlled sector would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of public health, education, social services, Indigenous studies, law, politics or philosophy and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of government programs directed at Indigenous children is highly desirable.

The broader project is working with the Indigenous community organisation, Inala Wangarra. Familiarity with the organisation, and an established relationship with its management, board, and the Inala Indigenous community would be advantageous.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Virginia Slaughter

vps@psy.uq.edu.au

How do humans learn to imitate?

Imitation is fundamental to being human; it is one of ways that people connect with and learn from each other. But where does the ability to imitate come from?  Currently there is no clear answer to that question.  For decades it has been supposed that imitation is inborn, but recent research based here at UQ as well as internationally, indicates that is not likely.  Rather, it appears that human infants initially acquire the ability to imitate during the first year of life .  This PhD will investigate the learning experiences and neural (mirroring) mechanisms that engender infants' ability to imitate.   The project will involve testing infants (ages 1 - 24 months) and possibly preschool aged children.  PhD candidates will utilise a unique combination of EMG and behavioural observations of infant/child behaviour in experimental paradigms. The new knowledge arising from this research will clarify the origins of our uniquely human sociality. The outcomes should also enable earlier identification of certain developmental problems and provide novel avenues for intervention.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Psychology.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of human development and cognitive neuroscience would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of psychology and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Dr Susannah Chapman

susannah.chapman@uq.edu.au

The Emergence of Brand Name Fruits in Australian Agriculture

This project will explore the rise of brand name fruits within Australia's food sector. There is a long history of branding in the marketing of horticultural crops, but in recent years branding practices have shifted alongside changes in intellectual property law and agricultural supply chains, with consequences for how people produce and interact with food crops. This project will investigate the rise of brand name fruits in Australia and its relationship to emerging relations of food production and/or consumption, including novel forms of commodification, audit, marketing, and signification.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of ethnographic and historical methods, food systems research and/or intellectual property studies would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, or a related field and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of science and technology studies, agricultural history, or critical legal studies is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Guy Wallis

gwallis@uq.edu.au

Sensorimotor adaptation in simulated reality

We are looking for a PhD student to join a team investigating learning in sensorimotor control with a focus on understanding the strengths and limitations of current head-mounted VR systems. Whilst keeping half an eye on research translation, this project will focus on the neuroscience of immersive technolgies. Answers will be framed by current knowledge in fields including sensorimotor neuroscience, human physiology, sensory processing and motor control. COVID-19 permitting, this project will also offer an extended stay in Germany to harness some of the world's leading motion-base techlogy systems housed at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of human behavioural testing, training, statistical analysis, computer programming and engineering would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of experimental psychology, visual neuroscience, motor control, engineering, computer science and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of human behavioural testing (experimental psychology), computer science (creating 3D immersive environments), data analysis (Matlab/Python) and statistical analysis (Matlab/SPSS etc.) is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Jill Wilson

wilsonj@uq.edu.au

Theoretical framework for elder abuse to guide social work practice

This project aims to  develop a theoretical framework to assist heath social workers to effectively assess and intervene in elder abuse. Elder abuse damages trust, increases health costs and hastens death. The proposed framework uses personal construct theory and builds on the perspectives of older people, social workers and a panel of key authors.

Research has focued on undertnding the broader social context, characteritics of alleged abusers, family relationhp and the isolation of older people.  Social work practice is drawn from generic models, with limited evalaution, and findings are not linked to older  people's experiences, or to the characteristics of the practice context. This rsearch will be done in four stages:

  1. developing standardised case scenarios from a  range of perspectives
  2. analysing ocialwork reponses to case scenarios
  3. developing a theoretical framework
  4. testing the framework with practitioners 

A HDR scholar would have some choice of topic. Suggestions are focusing on older people with impaired capacity, on older people in regional areas, or particular subgroups of older people.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of working with older people, particularly in health settings, would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of social work and theory development and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of elder abuse is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Dr Zoe Staines

z.staines@uq.edu.au

Policy and program responses to unemployment in remote Australia: considering alternatives to workfare

This PhD scholarship is part of an ARC DECRA project, which explores the effects of changing employment and social security administration policies (including 'welfare to work' or 'workfare' policies) in remote Australian communities. These policies, which include the current Community Development Programme (CDP), predominantly affect Indigenous Australians and have not yielded positive outcomes to date. The project seeks to produce empirical evidence regarding the impacts of these policies, as well as the potential impacts of future alternatives (for example, alternatives to workfare, such as a Basic Income or Job Guarantee). The PhD student would work closely with their advisory team to negotiate the details of their own specific project, which relates to and sits within the scope of the DECRA.

The successful applicant would enrol through the School of Social Science.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. You may also be eligible for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Scholarship.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of welfare-to-work or 'workfare' policy approaches, including jobseeker 'activation' and welfare conditionality, and/or alternatives such as basic income or job guarantee would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of Sociology, Social Policy, Criminology and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Julie Henry

julie.henry@uq.edu.au

Reducing social frailty in late adulthood

An exciting opportunity is available to work with an outstanding multidisciplinary team working in the fields of cognitive ageing, frailty, social neuroscience and allied health. The project focuses on social frailty, one of the most troubling and potentially devastating threats to healthy adult ageing, referring broadly to lack of social support or social engagement. This PhD project will provide the first test of how age-related changes in the abilities that allow us to perceive, interpret and process social information drive resilience and risk for this important threat to healthy ageing, and then leverage these data to create a training tool that directly targets those abilities identified as being most strongly linked to social frailty. The supervisory team integrates the skills and expertise of psychologists in the fields of geropsychology/developmental psychology (Prof. Henry and Dr. Sarah Grainger), social psychology (Prof. Bill von Hippel, and A/Prof. Eric Vanman), as well as clinicians working in the fields of geriatrics (Prof. Ruth Hubbard), allied health (Prof. Liisa Laakso), and neuroscience (Dr. Daniel Schweitzer).

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Psychology.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of psychology, and in particular cognitive ageing or social neuroscience, would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of psychology or related discipline and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2023. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Deanna Kemp

d.kemp@smi.uq.edu.au

Privately-commissioned public inquiry processes in large-scale mining projects

This PhD project is part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant based out of UQ on privately-commissioned public inquiry processes in large-scale mining projects. These types of inquiries have been commissioned and sponsored by global extractive companies on a voluntary basis following public allegations of environmental impacts and human rights abuses, including impacts on Indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights. This particular type of inquiry holds potential for breakthrough research on deep-seated issues, but little is known about their governance and whether they actually drive industry change. 

This ARC Linkage Project will investigate the value of these inquiries for different stakeholder groups, and draw lessons for future inquiries. The research is a multi-party collaboration between UQ, Australian National University (ANU), Denver-based global mining giant, Newmont Corporation, and international non-government organisation, RESOLVE, based in Washington DC.

The research question motivating this project is: How can privately-commissioned inquiries drive meaningful change in the global extractives sector? The project will focus on understanding which structures and procedural approaches generate which types of change across different stakeholder groups. The project aims to undertake comparative analysis between government-commissioned and company-commissioned inquiries, examination of different types of privately-commissioned inquiries and case studies, and the production of guidelines, principles or pre-conditions that may assist different parties to decide how to initiate, invest in or engage in these processes.

The Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) is seeking a PhD student to conduct and coordinate some of this work. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to contribute to scholarly publications and a public set of end-user focused outputs – such as a set of guidelines or recommendations as to how the industry, and other stakeholders, might approach these inquiries in the future. The student will be integrated in to the project team and will focus on defined and achievable components of the project including: (i) surfacing lessons from public commission of inquiry, and (ii) analysing industry case studies. This will offer the student a unique opportunity to develop their skills in applied, industry-facing, integrated mixed methods research with a team of leading global experts and practitioners.

The candidate will benefit from the applied research environment at UQ’s Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) in the Sustainable Minerals Institute (SMI), a world-leading research institute. They will also collaborate with the Institute of Social Science Research (ISSR) as well as the applied work of industrial inquiry practitioner and disaster scholar Andrew Hopkins from the Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Arts and Social Sciences. 

The research will be based at CSRM. The Centre focuses on the social, cultural, economic and political challenges that occur when change is brought about by mineral resource extraction and contributes to industry change through independent research, teaching and by convening and participating in multi-stakeholder dialogue processes. The student will work closely with the CSRM research team, which consists of leading global experts in mining and resettlement, community relations, governance, agreements, development, cultural heritage, human rights, Indigenous peoples, mine closure, conflict and gender. They will be working in a strong and diverse student community of PhD and HDR students from across the world, with an opportunity to collaborate with other SMI Centres and the wider University.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of the extractives industry and/or the global extractives sector would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of social sciences and applied research methods and the potential for scholastic success.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Professor Karen Nankervis

k.nankervis@uq.edu.au

“We need to talk”: Social and ethical dialogue around genomics and disability

“We need to talk”: Social and ethical dialogue around genomics and disability is a major Medical Research Futures Fund (MRFF) project grant in relation to the ethical, legal, and social issues related to genomics in health care. This MRFF funded project aims to a) articulate the ethical, social and legal issues of genomics for people with disabilities and their families; and, b) implement a collaborative, co-design model to inform the design and conduct of human genetic research as well as genomics policy, research, education and practices.

This research project will provide a voice for people with disabilities and their families with a key focus on the impact of genomics on the identity of people with disabilities and their presence in society. An understanding of the impact of genomics on the lives of people with disabilities is similarly beneficial for scientists, clinicians and policy makers who will be included in this project.  A shared understanding and dialogue to bring together these critical perspectives of the ethical, social and legal aspects of genomics is a critical activity of this project.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of working collaboratively across disciplines and stakeholders, working with people with disabilities, and translation of research into practice would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of social sciences, specifically in relation to disability, and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of lived experience of disability is highly desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Dr Nathan Evans

nathan.evans@uq.edu.au

Beyond Response Time and Choice: Understanding Changes of Mind in Decisions

Seeking applicants for a scholarship to undertake a PhD position with Dr Nathan Evans as part of a recently funded ARC DECRA project, which focuses on response time models of human decision-making. The project aims to provide novel experimental insight into how people change their minds during decisions, through identifying the cognitive architecture that reflects the behaviour that we observe from people. The project provides a substantially deeper understanding of the cognitive decision process and how it changes over time, as opposed to previous research focusing on only the final response that people make. The expected outcome is a comprehensive understanding of the human decision process through cognitive models that provide an accurate reflection of this mental process.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Psychology.

Applications are invited from domestic and international students with first class honours (or equivalent) in Psychology, or disciplines related to computational modelling such as computer science or statistics. Desirable experience, in no particularly order, includes:

  1. conducting experimental research,
  2. writing experimental code in JavaScript or Python,
  3. performing advanced computational modelling techniques (e.g., Bayesian hierarchical models),
  4. writing analysis code in R, preferably in base R,
  5. a very basic knowledge of C, and
  6. writing scientific literature.

Please note that the successful applicant will not necessarily have experience in all of these areas, though a willingness to develop these skills during the PhD program is desirable.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.

Associate Professor David Pritchard

d.pritchard@uq.edu.au

Ancient Athens at War

This category-1 PhD position will launch a stunning research career. This opportunity is open to all-interested students anywhere in the world. It is fully funded. The total value of this ARC-generated position is 152,000€ / £127,000 / $AU253,000.

You will join a large international team of leading Greek historians under the direction of Professor Ian Worthington (Macquarie University [Sydney]) and Associate Professor David M. Pritchard (The University of Queensland [Brisbane]). Our project is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC). The project (grant no. DP200101253) aims to transform our understanding of ancient Athens from c. 630 to 321 BC.

As the Chief Investigators of this ARC project we are especially looking for a first-rate doctoral researcher to study Athenian politics and warfare before 508 BC. This would be your chance to adjudicate the famous Frost–Van Wees debate and to write the book on archaic Athens. We would also be interested in considering research proposals about politics and warfare in Athens after 508 BC.

This is a truly international search. There are no citizenship restrictions on applicants. The basic requirement is a BA Hons or MPhil in Ancient History or Classics. Formal training in classical Greek and a reading knowledge of French and/or German would be big advantages. You will write your PhD thesis under the direct supervision of David Pritchard at the University of Queensland in Brisbane (Australia).

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2021. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.