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 Jolanda Jetten

j.jetten@psy.uq.edu.au

Breaking with the Past: Responding to the Challenge of Identity Change

The world around is in constant flux. Some of these changes are gradual but others are more sudden, changing society in dramatic ways. What such more dramatic changes such as Brexit, terrorist attacks, the Global Financial Crisis, the fall of the Berlin wall, and, more recently, the Australian bushfires 2019/2020 and COVID-19 have in common is that these are all events that involve social identity change. That is, communities or nations changed (at times overnight) in their shared perception of “who we were”, “who we are now” and “who will we be in the future”. Psychologically speaking, this is immensely impactful whereby some see change as an opportunity and others see it as a threat. When seen as a threat, identity change can damage well-being and it is clear that if change is not managed well that it is associated with increased depression, stress, anxiety, but also with early death and enhanced suicide rates. What is more, badly managed societal change can trigger social unrest because it divides communities, creates political tensions, and these have the potential to undermine community and national cohesion. In extreme cases, identity change may cause the fragmentation and collapse of communities and this forms a fertile ground for radicalization.

The challenge of coming to grips with change in a rapidly changing world is at the forefront of concerns within organizational, educational, community and national contexts. By developing and testing an integrated theoretical framework explaining how and when identities determine successful adjustment to change, the research will advance knowledge. It represents a paradigm shift in looking at change through the lens of identity change informing strategies for successful coping with change.

The role of PhD student is to undertake research as part the ‘Breaking with the past: Responding to the challenge of identity change’ project funded by the Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Scheme. The project should focus on advancing our understanding of factors that promote successful adjustment to collective-level change.

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 social identity approach and demonstrated ability to apply social identity theorizing to advance the understanding of social phenomena would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of social psychology or a related field 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.

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.

Associate Professor Mark Nielsen

m.nielsen@psy.uq.edu.au

To imitate or innovate: A new look at children's social learning

Children learn many important things by copying others. But how do we best facilitate this where it’s culturally appropriate or encourage innovation to support more general learning? This developmental psychology project aims to provide answers, using novel experiments and comparisons of different cultural groups to show how children acquire skills while becoming valued community members. The following are key objectives of the project:

  • To discover the factors that determine if, when learning to do something new, young children will persistently copy actions shown to them by adults (i.e., imitate) or develop their own solutions (i.e., innovate).
  • To establish how, when learning, children respond to conflicting functional and conventional information and how their learning strategies change if there is a cost associated with following one type of information.
  • To identify how children respond to contrasting learning contexts, especially if learning functional and conventional information is different when the models appear live or on a screen (e.g., tablet)

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 social learning theory and cross-cultural psychology 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.

A background or knowledge of child development 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.

Associate Professor Derek Arnold

d.arnold@psy.uq.edu.au

Novel psychophysical paradigms for examining predictive coding in vision.

Human vision is shaped by predictive signals in the brain. Despite a century of speculation, we do not know how this interplay is implemented - particularly during natural viewing. In this project, we will look to establish and validate new psychophysical protocols for investigating predictive coding in human vision. Experiments may involve natural viewing of video input while eye tracking, and EEG recordings and analyses of datasets. While some experiments have been planned, it is anticipated that the successful applicant will develop new ideas and experiments on the general topic of predictive coding in human vision, in partnership with Associate Professor Arnold.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Psychology.

The candidate should have a 1st class honours degree in Psychology, and evidence of a sustained research interest in human vision and cognitive neuroscience. Some evidence of programming and data analysis skills would be preferable - particularly relating to EEG datasets. MATLAB programming skills would be optimal, in conjunction with Psychtoolbox and or the ViSaGe stimulus generator. Training will be provided in these skills as needed.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 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 Aude Bernard

a.bernard@uq.edu.au

Where migrants go: A study of immigrant’s post-arrival moves in Australia

Migration within Australia is a key driver of economic, demographic and social change. Recognising the growing diversity of immigrants, including the rapid rise in temporary migration, the project aims to establish the geographical and occupational trajectories of different migrant groups after arrival in Australia. It seeks to improve understanding of the incidence, spatial patterns and drivers of migrants’ movement within Australia and the sociodemographic impact on regions and individuals. As part of this project, the PhD student will work on developing subnational projections of immigrant groups.

A first class Honours, Master or equivalent with a background Geography, Demography, Epidemiology, Population studies or related discipline. Experience in quantitative analysis and modelling and sound knowledge of R, Stata or equivalent.

*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.

Dr Chris Hay

chris.hay@uq.edu.au

Origins of Live Performance Subsidy in Australia

This PhD will form part of a broader project on live performance subsidy between 1949 and 1975, as part of an ARC DECRA. The PhD candidate will have scope to design their own PhD topic within this broader project.

The project seeks to examine the pre-history of live performance subsidy in Australia, broadly construed as the period between the Guthrie Report in 1949 and the establishment of Whitlam’s Australia Council for the Arts in 1975. Within this period, the project focusses on the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, the first organisation tasked with distributing government funding in order to establish a national performance culture. The project argues that understanding the architecture of the first attempts at live performance subsidy can help address the contemporary crisis of arts funding in Australia.

Potential topics include:

  • The Trust’s efforts to support dance, the decline of the Borovansky Ballet and the establishment of the Australian Ballet;
  • The history of the Elizabethan Theatre building in Sydney as a synecdoche for the wider challenged faced by the Trust; or
  • The supplanting of the Arts Council of Australia and the various National Theatre movements in favour of the Trust.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Communication and Arts.

The successful applicant will have an Honours degree or equivalent background in drama, theatre studies, Australian studies, or history.

*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.

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.

Dr Elin Charles-Edwards

e.charles-edwards@uq.edu.au

Understanding the dynamics of temporary migration in Asia

Rapid progress through the demographic transition in most Asian countries has resulted in migration becoming the leading agent of demographic change in the region. However, the dynamics of movement, both permanent and temporary, remain poorly understood. This PhD project will explore the dynamics of temporary migration both within and between selected countries of Asia. The project will draw on a range of secondary data sets including census microdata and large scale surveys to conceptualise temporary mobility and develop robust metrics for its measurement. The project will yield fundamental knowledge of the scale, timing and patterns of temporary population mobility in Asia.

Applicants should hold a research-based Honours or Masters degree in a relevant field such as geography, economics or demography and have experience in quantitative analysis and modelling in R, Stata or equivalent software. The role would suit an individual with enthusiasm for discovery and dissemination of research. Authorship of publications or other evidence of independent research an advantage

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 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 Deborah Brown

deborah.brown@uq.edu.au

Towards Closure on the Animal Pain Debate

This project aims to address the question about which animals feel pain by framing multiple current debates into a single narrative focused on the fundamental principle in evolutionary biology that structure determines function. This project is significant because the question as to whether or not an animal (such as a fish or octopus) feels pain is highly contentious across both science and philosophy and arguments are plagued by simplistic anecdotes and poor analogies. The ramifications of this confusion for animal welfare and food security are considerable. Expected outcomes include the development of shared principles of reasoning and structural constraints on the attribution of pain that promise to move the debate towards consensus.

Required: degree/major in Philosophy; Desirable: degree/major in Biological Sciences.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2020. 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 Marco Faravelli

m.faravelli@uq.edu.au

Experiments in Political Economics

The PhD candidate will work on experiments in political economics under the supervision of the advisory team. S/he will develop and learn to use different experimental economics methods related to lab, online and field experiments. By the end of the PhD, the candidate will be capable of working independently and be an autonomous and integral part of the research team.  

Master/Honours degree in economics.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2020. 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 Paul Spee

p.spee@business.uq.edu.au

and

Dr Anna Jenkins

a.jenkins@business.uq.edu.au

High-impact entrepreneurship: routine formation, process and outcomes

Innovation-led growth will take an increasingly central role in Australia’s economic development. To foster such growth requires an in-depth understanding of high-impact entrepreneurship. To achieve this understanding the research adopts a practice-based approach to gain in-depth knowledge of what entrepreneurs actually do in the process of creating high impact new ventures. As an outcome, how routines are formed and developed to establish and sustain the creation of high-impact new ventures are uncovered; making significant contributions to core areas of management and entrepreneurship research, while providing sound guidance to entrepreneurs, industry and policy makers about the process of creating high impact new ventures.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Business.

Honours or Master’s degree or equivalent

*This project is available until December 2019 unless a suitable candidate is found prior.

Professor Peter Renshaw

p.renshaw@uq.edu.au
Digital mediation of children’s interaction with the more-than-human world

Contemporary society is saturated with digital devices that are transforming children’s play activities, their social relationships and their interactions with the "natural" world. This project investigates how children deploy digital devices to interact with the "natural" world and how this influences their literate practices, emotional engagement and identities. These issues are investigated longitudinally across countries, Australia and Finland, and in relation to key contextual issues of social class, material conditions, and pedagogical approach. Through a children's learning commission on how to use digital devices sustainably, children become researchers of how to mitigate the effects of human activity on the "natural" world.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Education.

Bachelor Honours or eligible Masters degree in Education

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2020. 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 Rebecca Olive

r.olive@uq.edu.au
Understanding ecological sensibilities in recreational lifestyle sport

This research aims to understand environmental attitudes and behaviours that emerge through participation in recreational lifestyle sports. Linking the growth of lifestyle sports in Australia and the recent research focus on oceans, this research will highlight how surfers, ocean swimmers and other ‘bluesports’ participants develop relationships to, and produce knowledge about, oceans and coasts. It is interested in everyday cultural practices relating to ethical consumption, including through social media, and will provide key insights for bluesports communities to enable them to make better choices about their attitudes and practices relating to sustainable oceans and coasts. 

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences.

Cultural Studies, Environmental Humanities, Leisure Studies, Sociology of Sport, Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates are encouraged to apply.

Please contact the Chief Investigator to check on this project's availability.

Professor Murray Phillips

m.phillips@uq.edu.au
Pride, Resilience and Identity: Reimagining Aboriginal Sport History

This project aims to investigate the links between sport, community and identity in Aboriginal communities in Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory during the twentieth century (with a focus on Cherbourg, La Perouse, Redfern and Yuendumu). A focus will be on how and why communities, both individually and collectively, engaged with sport, and the meaning of sport in these communities.

The successful applicant will enrol through the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences.

An Honours degree or equivalent background in history or Indigenous Studies.

Please contact the Chief Investigator to check on this project's availability.