If you’re an undergraduate student with a strong academic record, a Vacation Research Scholarship is a great way to explore a future career in research.

UniSA's Vacation Research Scholarships offer an opportunity to work closely with our experienced researchers at one of our world-class institutes or centres. These short-term (four to eight week) scholarships are open to domestic students from all universities and are an ideal way to build on your academic knowledge. Working with our researchers, you’ll be able to broaden your research capabilities in a specialised project and gain insight into a career in research.

Benefit from UniSA's world-class research across a diverse range of fields, offering you the opportunity to focus on your chosen research topic in a professional environment.

Further your knowledge and real-world experience across specialised areas such as health, science or engineering, all while growing your professional network along the way. Find out more about the available Vacation Research Scholarships in your area of study below.

Project and Application details for the 2021 Vacation Scholarship round will be updated in early August 2021.

Application closing date: 18 September

How to apply

Explore vacation research scholarships 

  • yoga-meditation Allied Health & Human Performance minus-thin plus-thin

    In addition to the list of projects below, the following staff are willing to accept vacation students. Please contact them directly to discuss possible project opportunities.

    Saravana Kumar is interested in improving the quality and safety of health care through teaching and research. His evidence-based practice, implementation and health services research crosses a range of disciplines including allied health, public health, nursing and complementary and alternative medicine.

    Dr Maarten Immink is currently offering research project experiences in the area of skill acquisition. The projects will develop your understanding of the neural, cognitive and motor basis of expert skill performance.

    Dr Carmel Nottle has several projects with animals as the central theme which students can be involved in. These include analysis of data on activity in cats that is currently being collected, as well as looking at other literature related to this field.

    Dr Janette Young focuses on pets and human health research, as well as older people and community engagement.

    A/Prof Steve Milanese performs research that focuses on the impact of sport and physical activity on the well-being of returned service personnel and first responders. This research helps support the Invictus Pathway program.

    Dr Jocelyn Kernot is interested in the promotion of mental and physical well-being for adults and children. Examples include: a mental well-being program run through rural football clubs; a sensory based intervention in an inpatient mental health service and programs/resources addressing the social-emotional needs of pre-school and primary school children.

    Mr Shayne Chau conducts research within the fields of medical imaging, radiography and computed tomography.

    Allied Health & Human Performance

    • Stakeholder feedback about hosting WHS student placements minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Final year physiotherapy students conduct small work health and safety projects in industry. The last review of this nature was undertaken by the Chief Investigator over a decade ago so it is timely to revisit this topic. There is little information about such placements in the literature.

      Aim: To gain placement host feedback about student WHS project activities in industry. Method: Qualitative approach, interviews with up to 10 host industry partners to explore their experiences of hosting WHS placements involving final year UniSA physiotherapy students.

      Thematic analysis. Outcome: Gaining host placement feedback about student activities on site will help inform future placement activities and may help with sustainability of the projects.

      Contact person: Dr Rose Boucaut

      Apply now

    • An oral history of prominent occupational health physiotherapists in Australia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Physiotherapists are important stakeholders in global health care provision. One sector of practice pertains to worker health. This sector has grown in Australia since the mid 1980s when new occupational health and safety legislation was introduced providing opportunities to prevent and manage work injury.

      Contact person: Dr Rose Boucaut

      Apply now

    • Health behaviours and patient-reported outcomes in cancer survivors minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will use data from a cohort of 500 cancer survivors (breast cancer, colon cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma). Baseline assessment in 2013-14 involved collection of sleep quality/duration, sedentary time and physical activity (assessed with an accelerometer), clinical, demographic and lifestyle factors, and patient-reported outcomes (health-related quality of life, fatigue, depression, cognitive functioning and unmet needs).

      Follow-up data was collected in 2017. Potential projects include investigating determinants of sleep quality, body image concerns, and/or health behaviours such as resistance training.

      Contact person: Dr Terry Boyle

      Apply now

    • Augmented reality technologies to improve health outcomes: a systematic review minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Vacation scholars will be taught how to undertake a systematic review of randomised controlled trials using gold-standard Cochrane methodology.

      The topic explores augmented reality technology as a means to improve health outcomes, which will provide a broad evidence base for future technology-based interventions. As use of technological interventions in health are also growing rapidly, this systematic review will provide the vacation scholar with a broad topic area that increases the likelihood of relevance in their future work.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Kristin Chahhoud

      Apply now

    • Gender bias in pain research: How far have we come and how far do we have to go? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Despite 70% of chronic pain patients being female, 79% of animal studies published in PAIN in the 1995-2005 period included male subjects only (Mogil & Chanda 2005).

      In 2007, the International Association for the Study of Pain released a consensus report on studying sex and gender differences in pain, highlighting that females need greater representation in research studies on pain (Greenspan et al. 2007).

      This project will review papers published in PAIN to answer three questions – what was the participant gender balance in human pain research prior to 2007? What has this gender balance been since the consensus statement was released in 2007? And how much further do we need to go before participant gender equality is achieved?

      Contact person: Dr Jane Chalmers

      Apply now

    • Sport leadership and team dynamics among team sport athletes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In particular, there are two studies the scholarship will support: (1) examining the relationship between sport leadership and team/group dynamics, as well as (2) the measurement of teamwork in athletes.

      The first study already has ethics approval and is an international collaboration. If COVID-19 restrictions allow, the placement will involve the student recruiting soccer teams from around South Australia to participate in the study, as well as in-person data collection (a personal car is required for this placement).

      The second study will involve students completing an ethics application for submission, and depending on timing of ethics approval, include participant recruitment as well. This study is also an international collaboration, and may involve close communication with the lead author (in the UK).

      Contact person: Dr Alyson Crozier

      Apply now

    • Do repeat sessions of brain stimulation give better response? A systematic review minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Brain stimulation is a novel method to enhance stroke recovery. This treatment is thought to work by enhancing neuroplasticity within the cortex. While some studies show promising results, others do not.

      One reason may be that previous studies have only applied a single session of treatment. Despite much research in this area, it is not clear whether repeated sessions lead to greater stroke recovery. This systematic review will investigate published literature to address this question.

      Contact person: Dr Brenton Hordacre

      Apply now

    • Software development using GitHup minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Genetic variation in response to the environment is fundamental in biology, i.e. genotype-by-environment interaction (GxE). However, existing methods are computationally demanding and infeasible to handle biobank-scale data.

      We have recently developed an efficient method, GxEsum, for estimating GxE based on GWAS summary statistics, which can be applied to complex traits and diseases with a large sample size. We would like to implement GxE model in user-friendly software, using GitHup or R package.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Hong Lee

      Apply now

    • Identifying the after-school active recreation needs of children with autism minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Opportunities for children with autism to be involved in after-school active recreation continues to be limited. Consequently, many children with autism develop sedentary behaviours that are more difficult to alter in later life resulting in poorer health outcomes.

      This project involves working with a sport for development organisation to collect and analyse interview data from parents of children with autism regarding the potential of developing after-school active recreation/sport programs.

      Involvement in this project would provide a student with the opportunity to further develop their research skills as well as provide valuable assistance with the creation of active recreation and sport options for children with autism (and their parents).

      Contact person: Dr RIchard McGrath

      Apply now

    • Choice and control for people with acquired brain injury: A systematic review and meta-synthesis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The research team received funding from the Lifetime Support Authority to explore the meaning and experience of choice and control for people with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injury.

      Both head injury and spinal cord injury impact significantly on the ability of a person to be able to continue to engage in the life they knew prior to injury. Previous research has indicated that health professionals who enable and empower people to gain control over their own life by exercising choices facilitate improved participation.

      As part of this project, we commenced a systematic review focusing on qualitative research exploring choice and control for people with acquired brain injury. The review worked through the stages of screening arriving at 30 papers for critical appraisal and data extraction/synthesis. As the searches were conducted in 2016, the student would need to re-run the searches and then take the lead in critical appraisal, data extraction and synthesis with support of the supervisory team (Assoc Prof Shylie Mackintosh, Dr Michelle Guerin, Dr Gisela van Kessel, Dr Caroline Fryer) .

      The anticipated product is submission of a manuscript to a relevant peer review journal. A similar review has just been published about choice and control following spinal cord injury.

      Contact person: Dr Carolyn Murray

      Apply now

    • Qualitative study to help us determine what people want from a wellbeing self-help website minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In the latter half of 2020 we will be conducting interviews with GPs and the general public to identify what they want from a wellbeing self-help website. We will then be designing the website and asking participants to test this website and provide feedback.

      There is an opportunity for a vacation student to help us with a variety of tasks, which will give them some experience in literature reviews and qualitative methodologies. The vacation student may help with writing up some of our findings (e.g. literature reviews), help us set up and conduct more interviews (e.g. sending out materials to participants, note-taking), and potentially analyse some of the interview data (for a 4th year student).

      Tasks will depend upon the progress of the overall project by November, the student’s existing research skills and their interests. All activities will be conducted under close supervision and training.

      Contact person: Dr Gemma Skaczkowski

      Apply now

    • Simplifying medication use in older people minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: People who live in residential aged care facilities often have complex medication regimens and most require assistance from nursing staff with medication-taking. This project will involve identifying opportunities to simplify medication use in older people.

      Contact person: Dr Janet Sluggett

      Apply now

    • Co-design of a play-based intervention to improve the social play skills of children who have experienced trauma minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project extends Dr Shelley Wright’s previous work in examining the playfulness and social play skills of children who have experienced trauma.

      In developing co-designed interventions, children who have experienced trauma are not always able to articulate their intervention needs, therefore, their parents or carers/foster carers may be able to advocate on their behalf because they understand the child’s needs and the needs of the family.

      Consequently, this project seeks to engage the active participation of parents and foster carers in the design of a play-based intervention to improve the social skills of children who have experienced trauma. Drawing on a co-design approach is important because it seeks to understand users’ experiences, builds trust and helps to develop a mutually beneficial resource.

      Contact person: Dr Shelley Wright

      Apply now

  • data-line-chart Business minus-thin plus-thin


    • Value of events: impacts beyond the short-term economic impact minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Events are now used for a range of economic and social impacts. While economic impacts have been used to determine their success, previous research and feedback from local councils highlights the need to examine the impact of events on community development, placemaking and wellbeing. This study aims to investigate this topic, by partnering with three SA councils, surveying residents and business, and conducting focus groups.

      Findings will be formulated to assist councils in developing community-focused events strategy that will maximise benefits of events for local residents and businesses.

      Tasks to be undertaken by scholar:

      • Literature review on the topic of the social impacts of events, placemaking and place attachment.
      • Participation in conducting focus groups as a research team
      • Qualitative data analysis: the student will be trained to conduct the analysis


      Writing of literature review, method and results for a conference paper on the topic, if the scholar is interested. This will provide the student an opportunity to co-author a conference paper.

      Contact persons: Dr Sunny Son & Dr Chris Krolikowski

      Apply now

    • ‘Piece of cake’: exploring nutrition quality of meals in food relief catering services minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Nearly 5 million Australians experience food insecurity every year, and many reach out to food relief agencies for help. Anecdotal evidence suggests that meals offered by food relief agencies are usually of poor nutritional quality (i.e. unhealthy).

      Yet, the positive emotional impact of a hearty meal, or, even a piece of a cake, when a person is in a vulnerable situation cannot be underestimated.

      Hardly any research has objectively documented the nutrition value of meals provided by food relief agencies. This project will develop and test in the real social café an auditing tool for documenting the range and nutrition quality of meals and snacks offered in a food relief catering setting. It will assist the food relief sector in developing better menus for their catering services.

      A student scholar will join our multi-disciplinary group of researchers who work very closely with the food relief sector.

      The student will get training in collaboration with industry, questionnaire design, primary data collection, literature analysis, and academic and industry-focused writing, and get to develop their own small project, as a part of a larger research stream. Importantly, the student will get an opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause – eliminating hunger in Australia.

      Contact person: Professor Svetlana Bogomolova

      Apply now

    • Enhancing service quality in food relief minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Food relief sector services the needs of ~ 5 million Australians every year. The largely volunteer workforce and inherited ‘grass routs’ operations means that the quality of the service to the end-clients is lacking, which is particularly challenging given the vulnerable circumstances of the clients.

      In food relief services, meeting and exceeding client expectations could make significant impact on long-term client outcomes: their self-esteem, confidence, mental health ¬– all contributing to clients’ chances of existing food insecurity towards better quality of life.

      The knowledge developed in this project will assist the food relief sector in developing practical training manuals and monitoring tools for improving the quality of service for food relief clients.

      A student scholar will join a multi-disciplinary group of researchers who work very closely with the food relief sector.

      The student will get training in collaboration with industry, questionnaire design, primary data collection, literature analysis, and academic and industry-focused writing, and get to develop their own small project, as a part of a larger research stream. Importantly, the student will get an opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause – eliminating hunger in Australia.

      Contact person: Professor Svetlana Bogomolova

      Apply now

    • Putting death in its place: infant mortality in Colonial Tasmania (John Wilson & Martin Shanahan) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Environmental factors play a crucial part in determining people’s well-being. The media and academic literature regularly note the relationships between the urban geography and a host of measures such as health, crime and education.

      From the basic need for shelter to more nuanced information relating to infrastructure and social organization, the built environment frames the opportunity set available to individuals over their life-course. It also provides insights into their relative wealth, economic activity, and can provide information on factors impacting health and longevity.

      The successful candidate will use existing large data bases of people and properties in Tasmania covering 1840 to 1920. They will assist in the linkage and analysis of these data, gaining experience in econometric analysis and spatial mapping. The initial focus will be on linking infant mortality with geographical location, enabling the urban-rural disadvantage to be assessed over time.

      The research is part of a larger project currently in preparation for an ARC linkage application.

      Contact person: Dr John Wilson  

      Apply now

    • Social impact of creative participation in the arts: In the time of COVID-19 minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project aims to measure the social impact of the participation in an online creative workshop of artists from No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability and Korea Disability Arts and Culture Centre. Promoting social connections among participants, this technology-facilitated workshop was proposed as an intervention to mitigate the downside effects of social distancing and isolation as a response to the global health crisis.

      The project investigates how the online creative workshop stimulates positive change for individual participants with different disabilities and cultural backgrounds, currently experiencing an unprecedented distressing time restricting social contact.

      The social impact of participating in the online creative workshop on individuals will be measured by key outcomes and predetermined indicators of change to be agreed by consultation with all parties involved in the project.

      Tasks to be undertaken by the student scholar include:

      Literature search and review of the theories of social impact of participation in the arts and cultural activities; the role of the arts and culture in the time of COVID-19; the role of technology in promoting accessibility and social connections in the time of COVID-19; different measures and models for capturing social impact of the arts.

      Contact person: Dr Boram Lee 

      Apply now

    • Working together towards ‘zero hunger’: understanding volunteer motivations in food relief services minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Hunger is a big challenge globally, but even in Australia, there are ~ 5 million Australians who experience food insecurity every year. Volunteers are the driving force behind nearly 2,500 charities that currently provide food relief services, yet only 40% are able to meet the demand.

      Gaining a better understanding of who are food relief volunteers and what drives them to donate their time and effort to help others is critical.

      The knowledge developed in this project will assist the food relief sector in attracting more volunteers by better meeting their needs and offering the support and training they need. This will improve the quality of the sector’s workforce, ultimately facilitating better services to people in need.

      A student scholar will join our multi-disciplinary group of researchers who work very closely with the food relief sector. The student will get training in collaboration with industry, questionnaire design, primary data collection, literature analysis, and academic and industry-focused writing, and get to develop their own small project, as a part of a larger research stream. Importantly, the student will get an opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause – eliminating hunger in Australia.

      Contact person: Professor Ian Goodwin-Smith

      Apply now

  • pharmacy-medicine Clinical & Health Sciences minus-thin plus-thin

    In addition to the list of projects below, the following staff are willing to accept vacation students. Please contact them directly to discuss possible project opportunities.

    Prof Richard D’Andrea and Dr Sheree Bailey conduct research within the filed of Haematological malignancies: acute myeloid leukaemia and myeloproliferative neoplasms, genetics, molecular biology, drug development.

    Clinical & Health Sciences

    • Taste masking of anthelmintic drug by polymer carrier system minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Anthelminthic drugs are safe and effective for treatment against schistosomiasis in humans including adults and children. A drawback is its intensive bitter and metallic taste, which is often accompanied by poor compliance with oral
      dosage forms, especially for children.

      The purpose of this research is to mask their intensely bitter taste. Taste masking will be optimized by complexing the drug with polymers in different ratios. Drugpolymer complexes will be tested for drug content, in vitro taste in simulatedsalivary fluid (SSF) of pH 6.2, and molecular property. The complex that would not release the drug in SSF will be considered for further study.

      Contact person: Dr. Ankit Parikh and Prof Sanjay Garg

      Apply now

    • Development and characterisation of a long-acting intramuscular injection minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Frequent parenteral administration for chronic treatment usually results in poor patient compliance. A long-acting injection is a good solution to the problem and is known to make it convenient for the patient. A long-acting intramuscular injection formulation will be optimized in this project.

      The analytical method for the drug using HPLC will be developed and validated. An evaluation model for its in-vitro release profile will be established. The major challenge for this project is the simulation of real-life conditions for the in-vitro drug release assessment.

      Contact person: Prof Sanjay Garg and Dr May Song

      Apply now

    • Treating reactive oxygen species with novel theranostic agents minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The aberrant proliferation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been linked with numerous diseases including neurodegenerative disorders, cancer and several mitochondrial diseases. It is the ability of ROS (when over produced) to exert devastating damage, by means of oxidative stress on key cellular components such as proteins, lipids, DNA and organelle membranes, that makes them an important therapeutic target.

      The emerging field of theranostic agents offer medical science new systems where diseases can be detected and treated simultaneously.

      This project aims to synthesise novel theranostic agents which can detect and simultaneously reducing excessive ROS production in diseased cells. The project will incorporate synthetic medicinal chemistry and analytical techniques as well as cellular biology work which will be conducted in collaboration with the research group of Associate Professor Sally Plush and Shandon University (China). 

      Contact person: Dr Shane Hickey

      Apply now

    • Graphene quantum dot cation sensors minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The monitoring of essential metal ions, such as Ca2+, Zn2+ and Mg2+, and toxic metals such as Hg2+, has critical implications for both the medical and environmental fields. Host-guest chemistry is fundamental to cation recognition and a range of known cation chelators have been reported. In order to detect the binding event, many researchers attach a chromophore capable of eliciting a measurable fluorescent signal.

      Graphene quantum dots (GQDs) are graphitic water-soluble materials which are inherently luminescent and have found use as biosensors. In this project, a series of cation chelating groups will be appended to a GQD framework and evaluated for their cation sensing capabilities.

      Contact person: Dr Martin Sweetman and Dr Shane Hickey

      Apply now

    • Flow cytometry-based bio-tools and water quality monitoring minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Flow cytometry is a powerful platform that collects fluorescence data from thousands of individual cells per second! When a tube of cells is loaded into a flow cytometer, the cells travel in a fluidic stream through a flow cell. As a cell passes through the flow cell, lasers excite any fluorophores in the cell. Scientists can make a cell fluoresce by fluorescently-staining cellular proteins or structures. The cytometer records the fluorescence profile of each cell, which provides a powerful overview of the cell populations within the loaded sample.

      There are two projects on offer in the flow cytometry lab: fluorescent protein bio-tool generation or water quality monitoring.

      Fluorescent proteins can be detected by flow cytometry or microscopy. They have a wide-ranging application in cell biology. We would like to establish a FRET-flow (FRET = fluorescence resonance energy transfer) protocol in the flow lab. FRET allows for the detection of closely interacting molecules. It occurs when the wavelength of light emitted by fluorescent protein A is of a wavelength that excites fluorescent protein B causing protein B to fluoresce. This phenomenon can only occur if A and B are very close together. Using flow cytometry for this technique will allow for high-throughput screening of molecular interactions in drug or library screening.

      Water quality (bacteria) is routinely monitored using solid agar medium. The advantages for using flow cytometry are a >1000x increase in sensitivity, analysis performed in a single tube and you can collect cells of interest for downstream study. In addition to bacteria in the water supply, flow cytometry can also be used to detect viruses and microplastics. This project will aim to establish a protocol for monitoring water supplies from site-collection to flow analysis. For example, monitoring samples from the River Torrens, and rain-water tanks.

      Contact person: Dr Bradley Chereda

      Apply now

    • A retrospective study of adverse events in older people – results from the ReMInDAR trial minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Safe and effective medication management for older residents remains to be one of the major challenges in Australian aged care facilities.(1) Whilst age is positively correlated with prevalence of chronic diseases, number of co-morbidities, and increased medication use,(2) age-related pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics changes lead to variations in drug effects due to altered drug-bioavailability, increased drug sensitivity and decreased drug regulatory mechanisms.(3) In Australia, the highest users of medications are older people in aged care facilities with an estimated average of seven medications prescribed.(4) The proportion of patients seeing general practitioner who experienced an adverse medication event was estimated to be 10% in Australia, no significant decline was observed across ten years.(5)

      Increased use of medicines is known to be a powerful predictive for adverse events and it can lead to poor health outcomes in older people. (2) (4, 6)

      The World Health Organization (WHO) defines adverse drug reaction (ADR) as a reaction which is noxious and unintended, and which occurs at doses normally used in man for prophylaxis, diagnosis, or therapy of a disease, or for the modification of a physiological function.(7) An adverse event (AE) is “a medical occurrence temporally associated with the use of a medicinal product, but not necessarily causally related”.(7) AEs can occur anywhere: in hospitals, long-term care settings, and outpatient settings, which can in turn increase morbidity and associated health care costs. Prevention of many serious AEs is possible and a necessary function of health professionals. 

      The Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Center, University of South Australia has completed the Reducing Medicines Induced Deterioration and Adverse Reactions (ReMInDAR) trial that was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

      In this study, a trial of 12-month pharmacist service was undertaken for residents randomized into intervention groups, in contrast to the usual care (control group) with an aim to reduce medicine- induced deterioration, frailty and adverse reactions in older people living in aged care facilities.(8) Data assessing medication use and clinical observations during the trial from eligible aged care residents were collected on starting from Jan 2019 and until July 2020. A total of 252 older people across 11 aged care facilities located in South Australia and Tasmania were enrolled in the trial.

      Aim: The ReMInDAR trial has successfully assessed the medicine- induced deterioration, frailty and adverse reactions in older people, however a detailed analysis and identification of AEs is yet to be conducted. Understanding the prevalence of AEs and relevant factors, including medication use in aged care residents by identifying and reporting, is necessary to provide safe and efficient care for our most, yet most valuable people. Hence, our study will be provide an extent and nature of AEs for older people enrolled in the ReMInDAR trial.  

      Method: The proposed study will retrospectively analyse the AEs reported for older people enrolled both in the intervention and control groups of the ReMInDAR trial.

      The AEs will be categorized using the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) –Medical Dictionary of Regulatory Authorities (MeDRA) database which identifies different system-organ classes and terms.(9)

      Information regarding patient general data (age, gender, height, weight), suspected AEs were recorded at the time of visits at baseline, 6 and 12 months. Moreover, information relating to description of the event, onset date vs stop date of occurrence of events, outcome of events, treatment received), suspected medication (name, indication, start date vs stop date, dose, frequency, route of administration), medical history (past vs present), concomitant medications, and any other relevant history, including the pre-existing medical conditions will be extracted from medication and health care records of each participant enrolled in the ReMInDAR trial.

      Data analysis

      Descriptive statistics will be employed to report demographic characteristics of our participants.  The characteristics of AEs will be compared using Chi-square tests for categorical variables, Mann-Whitney U tests for ordinal variables, t-tests for continuous variables, as well as regression analysis for correlation between AEs and medication use.

      Expected outcomes: Our study will provide comparison data in regards with the extent, and nature of AEs for older people enrolled in the ReMInDAR trial.

      Contact person: Dr Gerel Dorj

      Apply now

    • Characterisation of leukaemic cell lines to determine if tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy promotes clonal expansion of mutant clones minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Most patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia are successfully treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitor drugs, which target the causal BCR-ABL1 gene fusion. Without treatment all patients die within a few years of diagnosis and some patients require more potent drugs to inhibit the leukaemic clone. However, the more potent drugs are associated with high rates of cardiovascular disease. A recently identified cardiovascular risk factor is clonal haematopoiesis, where mutations in specific genes confer a selective growth advantage and alter the function of immune cells.

      The mutations increase inflammatory responses and contribute to atherosclerosis. Higher mutant clone size is associated with higher risk. In healthy people, the size of the clonal haematopoiesis clone remains low and stable over many years. However, in leukaemia we have observed rapid clonal expansion and dominance of clones at the start of therapy during rapid clearance of leukaemia, and during therapy in remission.

      These dominant clones may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly in patients treated with more potent drugs. Furthermore, the BCR-ABL1 inhibitor drug may facilitate the rapid clonal expansion of the mutant clones. We aim to test this theory using cell line models by CRISPR/Cas9 methodology.

      The student project will involve optimisation of the cell line model, which involves leukaemic cell lines where BCR-ABL1 has been added.

      The optimisation steps involve

      1. Confirming BCR-ABL1 expression in U937/MIGp210 and THP1/MIGp210 cell lines by western blot and quantitative PCR.
      2. Define the growth rate of U937/MIGp210 vs U937/MiGr1 and THP1/MIGp210 vs THP1/MIGR1 by a proliferation assay (tryphan blue - cell counting every 2 days for 7 days).
      3. Test imatinib sensitivity on U937/MIGp210 and THP1/MIGp210 using a viability assay (live/dead cell counting using Tryphan blue) and MTS assay (Promega).
      4. Test Puromycin sensitivity and toxicity on U937/MiGr1 and THP1/MIGR1 (cell count using Tryphan blue).
      5. The student will learn how to design CRISPR guide – SS oligonucleotide for 3 genes: DNMT3A, TET2 and ASXL1.

      Techniques that the student will learn include: DNA/RNA/protein extraction; quantitative PCR; western blot; cell culture; growth/viability assay.

      Contact person: Dr Susan Branford

      Apply now

    • Smart materials that control digestion: a new generation of anti-obesity formulations minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: A range of new hybrid materials based on inorganic, lipid and polymeric nanoparticles with engineered porosity will be synthesised and characterised physico-chemically. Their performance in controlling gastro-intestinal digestion and absorption will be determined in vitro. 

      The optimal systems will form the basis of novel anti-obesity medicines.

      Contact person: Professor Clive Prestidge

      Apply now

    • Smart nanocarriers to overcome the global challenge of bacteria hidden in biofilm minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Bacteria can “hide” within biofilm based communities and become tolerant to antibiotics.  Novel nanocarriers will be used to address this significant challenge and advance the development of medicine for infectious disease.

      Contact person: Professor Clive Prestidge

      Apply now

    • Getting each patient the right treatment, the first time, every time minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Only about 60-80% of ovarian cancer patients respond to the standard first line of chemotherapeutic treatment. However, the majority of patients relapse and will need to be treated with a different chemotherapy. In addition 20-40% of patients do not respond at all to treatment, meaning they have some form of intrinsic resistance. However, although we know the exact probability of response within a cohort, we are not very good in predicting on an individual level which patient will respond to which treatment.

      To predict patient’s response to therapy before the treatment starts is an area of unmet clinical need and absolutely crucial to improve patients’ outcome. We have established a novel platform to be able to test chemotherapy response of these spheroids as a predictor for patients’ response. This is a unique capability with the potential to personalize patients’ treatment and improve their long-term outcome.

      To be able to translate this laboratory based capability into the clinic, we need to not only provide robust data, but also make sure the new testing platform can be integrated into routine workflows.

      Contact person: Dr Manuela Klinger-Hoffmann and Professor Peter Hoffmann

      Apply now

    • Visualising the iceberg: optimising prefractionation strategies to improve plasma biomarker discovery minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Plasma is the liquid component of blood and is often used to ascertain an individual’s health status.

      The high complexity and wide abundance of proteins in plasma provide analytical challenges when biomarkers for human diseases are sought, as they are often present in low abundance. Strategies to improve the detection of low abundance proteins include sample depletion, enrichment and prefractionation. Sample prefractionation (where the sample of interest is separated into multiple samples by chromatographical principles) is becoming widespread as sample loss is minimised.

      The aim of this project is to assess and optimise several prefractionation protocols (high pH reversed-phase chromatography and electrostatic repulsion-hydrophilic interaction chromatography) for biomarker development in plasma samples but will begin with the separation of standard protein and peptide samples. The developed methods will be combined with high-resolution/accurate-mass spectrometry (MS) with and without a field asymmetric ion mobility source to potentially improve the detection of low abundant proteins.

      Students will participate in the collection and interpretation of results, including possible journal publications.

      Contact person: Dr Clifford Young, Dr Mark Condina and Professor Peter Hoffmann

      Apply now

    • Optimising a glycoproteomic workflow for formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Glycoproteomics is a subfield of proteomics which identifies, characterises and quantitates proteins and peptides that have complex sugars (glycans) attached.

      These proteins, known as glycoproteins, play an important role in cellular immunity, cell adhesion, regulation of protein translation and protein degradation. Alterations in the expression of glycan structures and compositions have been reported, resulting in disease progression of multiple cancers and cellular infection of viruses, such as HIV and COVID-19.

      The aim of this project is to develop an optimised sample preparation method that produces comprehensive coverage and confidence of a glycoprotein standard using mass spectrometry. It is then envisioned that formalin-fixed paraffin embedded gynaecological cancer tissues (cervical, endometrial, ovarian and vulvar) will be applied to this optimised protocol to better understand the biological differences between each cancer.

      With this workflow optimised, a potential biomarker or therapeutic target for gynaecological cancers may be discovered leading to future clinical applications. The student will participate in collection and interpretation of results, including possible journal publications.

      Contact person: Dr Matthew BriggsDr Clifford Young, Dr Mark Condina and Professor Peter Hoffmann

      Apply now

    • Advanced bioengineered models of the placenta and its dysfunction during preeclampsia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Preeclampsia affects 5-8% of pregnancies and is associated with placental and endothelial dysfunction. The precise mechanisms which trigger, and lead to these dysfunctions vary widely and are not well understood.

      Bioengineered in vitro culture models provide a dynamic and more physiologically relevant environment for cells, compared to conventional 2D cell culture. In this project bioengineered models of the maternal-fetal interface will be used to study the function and dysfunction that occurs in normal pregnancy and preeclampsia, respectively.

      Contact person: Dr Marnie WinterProf Benjamin Thierry and Dr Tina Bianco-Miotto

      Apply now

    • New discoveries in cancer minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The growth and spread of cancer is dependent on an ability to access the blood supply. To do this, cancer cells not only promote blood vessel sprouting (angiogenesis) but also form vessel-like structures themselves (vasculogenic mimicry (VM)). Our published work has identified new VM targets in breast cancer, melanoma and pancreatic cancer (Martini et al Sci Rep, 2020; Tan et al, Oncotarget, 2016; Tan et al Clin Trans Immunol, 2017). A better understanding of how blood vessels promote tumour growth will provide new treatment options for patients with cancer.

      Techniques: Cutting edge imaging technology will be used alongside cell culture, surface antigen expression by flow cytometry, protein detection by Western blot, in vitro blood vessel forming assays, gene expression by real time PCR and immunohistochemistry of human biopsies.

      Contact person: Professor Claudine Bonder

      Apply now

    • Investigating the biology of diabetes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Pancreatic islet transplantation is an emerging cure for Type 1 Diabetes but success is limited by death of insulin producing beta cells post-transplantation. Investigating the fundamental biology of how diabetes develops is key to developing new treatments and a cure.

      To this end, we have previously published that there is a vital cross-talk between the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and the local blood vasculature and investigating this cell-cell interaction underpins our interest in this disease (Rojas-Canales et al Diabetes 2017; Penko et al, Cell Transplantation 2015; Peiris et al, Diabetes 2014).

      Techniques: Cutting edge real time imaging technology will be used alongside cell culture, surface antigen expression by flow cytometry, protein detection by Western blot, gene expression by real time PCR, small animal models of diabetes, immunohistochemistry of human tissue samples and functionalised biomaterials.

      Contact person: Professor Claudine Bonder

      Apply now

    • Investigating bacterial resistant surfaces for implanted medical devices minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Bacterial colonisation and biofilm formation can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections initiating at the site of implanted medical devices (Khatoon et al, Heliyon 2018). Medical device-related infections carry a heavy cost to society fiscally, in reduced quality of life and premature mortality.

      The thin polymer film we have developed, to coat a range of implanted medical devices, is particularly effective at preventing the attachment of proteins and cells (Burzava et al, ACS Applied Bio Materials 2020). This has led to its application in vascular stents and grafts where it reduces device triggered thrombosis.

      We are now beginning to investigate this coating for its ability to prevent the attachment and colonisation of bacteria and, therefore, its ability to prevent biofilm formation. The approach will involve looking at both the passive action of the surface to prevent the bacteria from attaching and also the option of binding bioactive molecules to the surface that act to kill or deactivate the bacteria.

      Techniques: Bacteria culture, fluorescence staining, fluorescence imaging, generating polymer coated surfaces, simple chemical techniques for attaching bioactive molecules, interpreting chemical surface analysis, collating data and presenting results.

      Contact person: Dr Eli Moore

      Apply now

    • Nano-formulation of kinase inhibitors through hydrophobic ion pairing minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Kinase inhibitors target specific intracellular pathways and are actively being investigated towards better cancer therapy. However, kinase inhibitor therapy is associated with serious and dose-limiting side effects. The formulation of kinase inhibitors within nanomedicine is a promising approach towards improving their therapeutic index.

      The student will work closely with PhD students at the Future Industries Institute/ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio and Nano Science to optimize the formulation of various kinase inhibitors within PLGA nanoparticles targeted to cancer tissues. He/she will be exposed to advanced formulation principles as well as biological evaluation within cancer organoids.

      Contact person: Professor Benjamin Thierry

      Apply now

    • Development of a blood micro sampling/processing cartridge for point of care diagnostic of preeclampsia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: We have recently developed a prototype of a point of care preeclampsia diagnostic technology (read more in the Herald Sun). This is significant as the condition is the direct cause of death for over 500,000 infants and 76,000 pregnant women, mostly in  low resource countries.

      Despite its significance and global prevalence, effective diagnosis of preeclampsia remains a challenge and our technology based on solid-state sensing nanotechnology can measure blood biomarkers with very high sensitivity.

      An integral part of decentralized testing for preeclampsia is the ability to accurately sample and process finger-prick blood without using any of external equipment. We are developing a blood sample processing device using 3D printing. The summer vacation student will be involved in the optimisation of the platform, working closely with a research team at the Future Industries Institute/ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio and Nano Science.

      Contact person: Dr Duy Tran, Professor Benjamin Thierry and Dr Clare Whitehead

      Apply now

    • Optimising CAR-T cell therapy for glioblastoma minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Glioblastoma is the most common and lethal form of malignant brain tumour. Our team aims to develop a novel approach to glioblastoma treatment which harnesses the power and specificity of the immune system to specifically target cancer cells, using Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell technology.

      This approach is already showing enormous promise in the treatment of some forms of leukaemia but has not yet been widely adopted for the treatment of solid tumours such as GBM.

      The CAR-T cell technique uses killer T cells from the patient’s own blood, which are ‘re-directed’ using genetic engineering techniques to specifically recognise molecules on the surface of tumour cells. This allows the killer T cells to unleash their armoury of toxic molecules onto tumour cells, while leaving healthy cells alone. Our team is developing CAR-T cell therapies for glioblastoma, and the student will have the opportunity to be involved in laboratory-based testing and optimisation of this therapy.

      Contact person: Dr Lisa Ebert

      Apply now

    • Improving the therapeutic use of vancomycin in patients undergoing haemodialysis treatment minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Vancomycin is an essential antibiotic for the treatment of the “superbug” methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); however, despite long-term use of vancomycin, the best treatment practice for the use of this vital antibiotic in the haemodialysis population remains largely empirical.

      This project will be based within the Pharmacy Department, Royal Adelaide Hospital and will involve the review of vancomycin management in patients receiving haemodialysis treatment. This work will form a component of a larger research project that aims to establish optimal dosing and therapeutic drug monitoring practices for vancomycin in this patient population.

      Contact person: Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange

      Apply now

    • Cells in space: Investigating the role of lysosomes and autophagy in 0 g minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Lysosomes are critical to the function of every cell in the human body.

      These dynamic organelles mediate the adaptation of cell metabolism to environmental cues. Lysosomes are fundamental to the degradation and recycling of cellular material and participate in a multitude of cellular processes such as signalling, cell adhesion, gene regulation, immunity, migration and plasma membrane repair.

      Lysosomes are also essential for autophagy which maintains cell response to stressors, removal and recycling of cellular compartments and are critical to overall immune function. Disruption to lysosomal function can therefore significantly affect cell homeostasis and impact tissue and organ function ranging from neurodegenerative disorders to cancer.

      Extreme environments such as space significantly alter human physiology and induce disease phenotypes similar to those observed during aging, such as bone atrophy, sarcopenia, accumulative oxidative stress and diminished immune function.

      The critical roles performed by the endo-lysosomal system may therefore be implicated in altered physiology during spaceflight and onset of pathophysiology in this extreme environment.

      This project will utilise simulated 0 g environments to investigate the role of endosomes and lysosomes in the development of disease pathogenesis utilising cell spheroids and organoids.

      Contact person: Dr Ian Johnson

      Apply now

    • Trafficking in cancer minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Endosomes and lysosomes are directly involved in the critical processes of energy metabolism, cell division and intracellular signaling and may therefore have a direct role in cancer pathogenesis.

      This project will investigate molecular motors involved in endosome-lysosome trafficking and their role in prostate cancer pathogenesis to find new biomarkers for diagnosis/prognosis and potential therapeutic targets.

      Contact person: Dr Ian Johnson

      Apply now

    • The role of extracellular vesicles in fetal-maternal communication minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The ability of cells within our body to communicate with each other is vital throughout pregnancy. A lack of the right type of communication after conception can lead to pregnancy pathologies such as recurrent implantation failure and repeated miscarriage.

      One of the ways in which cells communicate is by the secretion of signalling molecules and genetic material packaged into small membrane bound particles called extracellular vesicles. In this project, we will be investigating whether vesicles produced by mouse blastocytes can reprogram immune cells to protect the semi-foreign embryo rather than respond destructively toward it.

      Techniques involved include blastocyte culture, vesicle counting using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis, immune cell assays, cell surface marker expression by flow cytometry, and gene detection by qPCR.

      These studies will contribute to understanding the role of cell communication during implantation, and aid the discovery of interventions to increase successful pregnancies in those women that suffer recurrent implantation failure or early miscarriage.

      Contact person: Dr Natalie Foot and Dr Kerrilyn Diener

      Apply now

    • A systematic review on the use of intermittent fasting and intermittent energy restriction to achieve health benefits and weight loss minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Intermittent fasting has become popular for weight loss but data assessing the benefits is relatively limited. The aim of this project is to review the literature on the long-term use of intermittent fasting as a strategy for weight loss

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Jennifer Keogh

      Apply now

    • Drug-eluting implants for the treatment of osteoporosis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Osteoporosis is a disease resulting in reduced bone strength that significantly increases the risk of broken bones. Osteoporosis can be caused by a number of factors and is particularly prominent in older people, with 70% of those over the age of 80 being affected.

      Currently, osteoporosis is treated with bisphosphonates that have to be taken orally each day over long periods (3+ year) to be effective. Some of the major drawbacks with bisphosphonates taken orally is their very low bioavailability (~0.6%), which means that large doses need to be consumed, and they can cause esophageal ulceration and cancer. Furthermore, patient compliance can be an issue, as with any oral medications that requires frequent doses.

      To avoid these problems, this project aims to develop a drug-eluting implant, that can provide sustained release of bisphosphonates at the target location over a period of 6+ months. For more details please contact Dr. Blencowe.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Anton Blencowe

      Apply now

    • 3D printing for the manufacture of drug eluting implants and stents minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: 3D printing has emerged as an advanced manufacturing technique that has revolutionized numerous industrial sectors. In the medical and pharmaceuticals sectors, 3D printing offers the potential to develop new prosthetics, implants, and many other technologies that will pave the way for advances in regenerative medicine, drug delivery and personalized treatments, tackling current health care challenges.

      A unique feature of 3D printing is that it allows the manufacture of complex structures not obtainable through other manufacturing techniques, as well as the potential for personalized drug delivery systems.

      This project aims to develop novel drug eluting implants and stents that provide temporal and spatial control over drug delivery for the treatment of medical conditions such as cancer, providing more efficacious and safer delivery of therapeutics with reduced systemic side-effects. For more details please contact Dr. Blencowe.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Anton Blencowe

      Apply now

    • pH Responsive Delivery Systems for the Intracellular Delivery of Therapeutics minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Many types of cancer evade normal cell death cycles by switching their energy production from oxidative phosphorylation to glycolysis.

      This project aims to develop a thermoresponsive, therapeutic delivery system that can reverse this process, and involves the development of polysaccharides systems for the targeted delivery of glycolysis inhibitors that target the metabolism of cancer cells. The thermoresponsive polysaccharides are designed to allow the controlled and sustained delivery of glycolysis inhibitors when injected close to solid tumours.

      The potential outcome of the project is a novel and safer approach to the treatment of multi-drug resistant cancers that are not treatable using traditional chemotherapeutic agents. For more details please contact Dr. Blencowe.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Anton Blencowe

      Apply now

    • Saving native wildlife from introduced predators minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Invasive species, such as feral cats, pose a tremendous threat to native Australian species and reintroduction programs. Various methods to eliminate feral cats before reintroduction of native species have been trailed with limited success, due to the cats’ preference for living prey rather than baits. When species, such as quolls, are reintroduced they are naïve to their predators and are an easy target for cats.

      Generally, it only takes a few feral cats to rapidly wipe out the reintroduced population before they have a chance to breed and establish a colony in the area. Therefore, the aim of this project is to develop innovative new implants that can be used to save native wildlife. For more details please contact Dr Blencowe.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Anton Blencowe

      Apply now

    • Biocompatible and orthogonal coupling chemistries minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There is significant scope for the development of new coupling chemistries that proceed rapidly at low temperatures, don’t require complex precursors or catalysts, and are specific to particular functionalities.

      The project will involve the development of a new type of coupling chemistry based on Diels-Alder chemistry. The aim will be to optimise the system to proceed rapidly in water, without the addition of catalysts.

      The coupling strategy will be used to conjugate biofactors to surfaces for guided cell growth, tag delivery devices with probes, and build 3D tissue engineering scaffolds capable of encapsulating cells. For more details please contact Dr. Blencowe.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Anton Blencowe

      Apply now

    • Development of pH-responsive polymeric micelles for ovarian cancer drug delivery minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynaecological cancer, resulting in over 150,000 deaths globally per year. To improve the efficacy of pharmacological treatment and reduce adverse effects, anti-cancer drugs can be loaded into nanoparticle carriers such as polymeric micelles.

      This project aims to develop a pH-responsive polymeric micelle platform for the intracellular delivery of anti-cancer drugs. It will involve the synthesis of polymer precursors and investigate the attachment of different functional groups on pH-responsivity, drug encapsulation and micelle disassembly.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Anton Blencowe and Cintya Dharmayanti

      Apply now

    • Identifying how a non-coding RNA influences tumour-promoting characteristics of cancer fibroblasts minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: We have discovered that a specific RNA species, a non-coding RNA, is differentially expressed in fibroblasts that promote breast cancer progression, relative to normal mammary fibroblasts. 

      Contact person: A/Prof Michael Samuel

      Apply now

    • Determining the role of Rho-ROCK signalling in regulating macrophage biology during CRC progression minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: We have discovered that intestinal cancers secrete a chemotactic molecule that facilitates the recruitment of tumour-associated macrophages into the cancer microenvironment. Interestingly, this is enhanced by Rho-ROCK signaling, but in a non-canonical way that is independent of its role in regulating the actin cytoskeleton.

      This project seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying the induction of chemotaxis by ROCK activated intestinal cancers.

      Contact person: A/Prof Michael Samuel

      Apply now

    • Identifying how a non-coding RNA influences tumour-promoting characteristics of cancer fibroblasts minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Cancer-associated fibroblasts exhibit a distinct gene expression program compared to normal tissue fibroblasts from which they are thought to arise. We have discovered that a differentially expressed non-coding RNA may underlie a significant proportion of these changes.

      This project seeks to understand how non-coding RNAs influence CAF physiology.

      Contact person: A/Prof Michael Samuel

      Apply now

  • art Creative minus-thin plus-thin


    • Data visualisation through craft-based artefacts minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The project will investigate visual representation of data using crafts materials and processes to create objects by hand as a response to issues of human impact on biodiversity and ecosystems.

      Contact person: Dr Andrew Welch

      Apply now

    • The changing roles of urban and regional planners in times of public sector deregulation minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In an era of declining capacities of public authorities, many planning tasks are being performed not by government agencies but by private sector companies or consultancies.

      This project will seek insight into the changing labour market of graduates from Australian urban and regional planning programmes, and on the implications of 'outsourcing' of planning tasks for planning for the benefit of society as a whole. The project will also review the skills and competencies which urban and regional planners require in a changing labour market.

      Contact person: Professor Stefanie Dühr

      Apply now

    • Cities in a post-pandemic world: a review of urban planning practices to enable physical distancing and a transition to healthy cities minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The Covid-19 pandemic has once again shown the importance of good urban planning that is able to address the needs of all groups of society and that offers flexible approaches to the use of urban spaces. With many people working from home during the pandemic and physical distancing rules enforced in many countries, the urban environment in residential areas has received more attention and more use than it had in decades.

      Access to quality green spaces, wide pavements and safe cycling paths have been valued more than before, and many cities around the world have reacted with pop-up bicycle lanes and changes to street layouts to facilitate healthy mobility.

      The aim of this project is to undertake a desk study of international urban practices in democratic nations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to identify examples where short-term responses to physical distancing requirements have already prompted a more fundamental review of city planning principles.

      Contact person: Professor Stefanie Dühr

      Apply now

    • 50 years of JamFactory minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Searching through physical and digital archives dating back to the mid 1970s to compile accurate timeline data and comprehensive lists relating to the history of JamFactory in advance of the organisation’s 50th anniversary in 2023.

      Contact person: Professor Susan Luckman

      Apply now

    • Dynamic Digital Human Mannequins in Virtual Reality for ergonomic design and development minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Designing environments for human fit is challenging as the designers need to simultaneously consider a wide range of busy shapes and sizes. Current software solutions (Jack, Human) provide the means to build accurately sized Digital human Mannequins (DHMs), and the means to pose them and simulate human motion and activity.

      However, these tools are cumbersome to use and it is very difficult to manipulate the DHMs to reflect realistic poses. We have conducted some early work with manipulating DHMs in VR with biomechanics specialists who have indicated that this would be an ideal tool for their ergonomics development and evaluation.

      The project is to develop DHMs in unity, working with designers and biomechanics specialists to develop a range of dynamic DHMs that can be used by designers in VR to simulate human poses for the purpose of design for human fit and ergonomics.

      Contact person: Dr Peter Schumacher and Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Visualising urban heat islands using augmented reality sandbox technology minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will bring an Urban Heat Island forecast model into a more interactive visualisation tool, employing a system known as Augmented Reality (AR) Sandbox. Combing with the latest research results of Urban Heat Island modelling and developments in AR technologies, the student will work with an interdisciplinary team of researchers to Visualise, analyse and forecast models of Urban Heat Island effects employing the AR Sandbox system.

      The AR Sandbox displays of a dynamic and tangible topographic map can be utilised in various landscape architecture, and urban planning and design projects. The AR Sandbox has been found to have numerous merits in support of visualisation, collaborative planning and design, decision-making, communication and participant engagement, particularly when it was used in climatic exposure studies such as flood and sea level rise simulations, and any other natural and environmental interactions with 3D spatial data (Millar et al., 2018; Petrasova et al., 2015).

      Contact person: Dr Ning Gu & Dr Aida Eslami Afrooz

      Apply now

  • classroom-teacher-present Education Futures minus-thin plus-thin

    In addition to the list of projects below, the following staff are willing to accept vacation students. Please contact them directly to discuss possible project opportunities.

    Dr Amy Farndale conducts research within the fields of early childhood literacy, bilingualism and Indigenous Languages.

    Education Futures

    • Early career teacher retention, alternative education minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Little is known about the induction phase for new teachers who are employed in complex alternative education settings. This study investigates the ways in which the contextual and interpersonal experiences of early career teachers influence how they navigate, respond and adapt to their daily work.

      Moreover, this project examines the school-based contextual factors that support early career teachers to be effective and thrive.

      This vacation scholarship would suit students in the field of Education. The scholarship holder would contribute to this project by assisting with a range of activities including reviewing literature and/or policy documents and data analysis using qualitative methods.

      The scholarship holder will have opportunity for immersion in the Research in Education and Social Inclusion’s research culture and receive research training and mentorship from the project’s Chief Investigators, Dr Marnie Best and Associate Professor Anna Sullivan.

      Contact person: Dr Marnie Best

      Apply now

    • Intercultural understanding, professional experience, teacher education, identity work, ‘East-meets-West curriculum’ minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The aims of the longitudinal research (2017-2020) are:

      • To investigate the professional placement experiences of our domestic pre-service teachers (PSTs), teaching in four of the Shanghai Xiehe schools;
      • To examine how the Chinese and Expatriate teachers teaching at Shanghai Xiehe schools play their role as ‘host mentor teachers’ to the Australian PSTs; as well as, impacting on how our PSTs develop inclusive and differentiated pedagogies to meet the diverse needs and backgrounds of students (e.g. diverse socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicity, and English Language acquisition).


      Following the initial interview analysis of both the Chinese and Expatriate teachers conducted at the four schools in Shanghai, and focus group discussions and individual journals of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 Australian PSTs; the research team has identified some initial themes with regard to the impact of ‘East-meets-West’ Pioneer initiatives in the four Shanghai schools.

      So the student researcher will assist in analysis of data and/or literature review in the field of the international professional placement experiences of pre-service teachers (PSTs) and how such international placement experiences impact their development in intercultural, inclusive and differentiated pedagogies to meet the diverse needs and backgrounds of our Australian culturally diverse students.

      Contact person: Dr Hannah Soong

      Apply now

    • School exclusionary policies and practices and their impact minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project examines how and why Australian schools use exclusionary practices such as suspensions and exclusions to manage student behaviour. Although exclusionary practices are intended to help students change their behaviour they are often used as a quick fix to remove students who disrupt the ‘good order’ in schools and threaten others’ safety.

      Research shows that exclusionary practices can negatively impact on children’s health, wellbeing and academic achievement and are directly associated with entry into the juvenile justice system. Evidence from the US also suggests that these practices are disproportionately applied to minority groups, including students from different racial or cultural backgrounds, students with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.

      Despite the widespread use of exclusionary practices in Australian schools, very little is known about the policy and political frameworks that guide these practices, how extensively they are being applied across states and territories, or what alternatives might work better.

      The vacation scholarship holder will contribute towards answering these questions by collating and reviewing literature and/or policy documents, performing quantitative analysis of state and territory data, and assisting in developing a series of short briefing papers to communicate key findings.

      The scholarship holder will have the opportunity to engage with experienced researchers in the Research in Education and Social Inclusion (RESI) research concentration and will receive training and mentoring from Dr Neil Tippett and Associate Professor Anna Sullivan.

      Contact person: Dr Neil Tippett

      Apply now

    • Muslim learners experiences in Australian public schools minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Evidence suggests that Muslim learners have negative experiences in the form of bullying, racism, Islamophobia and not belonging.

      This project seeks to explore the broader experiences of Muslim learners to determine positive and negative experiences. The undergraduate research assistant will be involved in literature review and learn about research methodologies for this type of research.

      Contact person: Prof Mohamad Abdalla

      Apply now

  • criminal-mugshot-prisoner Justice & Society minus-thin plus-thin

    In addition to the list of projects below, the following staff are willing to accept vacation students. Please contact them directly to discuss possible project opportunities.

    Dr Kerrilee Lockyer is currently offering research project experience in language/discourse of branding and marketing, persuasive language/discourse, social media discourse, professional discourse/communication, and organisational discourse/communication.

    Fiona O’Neill (Supervisor) focuses on applied linguistics and language/s in professions and organisations.

    Juliette McIntyre conducts research within the fields of international law and human rights.

    Siobhan Banks is looking for students to help her conduct research in the sleep and chronobiology laboratory, Behaviour Brain Body Research Group (BBB). A range of project possibilities are available from literature reviews, data collection and data analysis. Topics include sleep loss, circadian rhythms, fatigue countermeasures, caffeine, cognitive performance, stress and health.

    Justice & Society

    • Investigating how cognition changes in late-adulthood minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There are a number of projects students can be involved with.  They are detailed below, but please do get in touch for further details.  Students can work on one or multiple projects, all of which are underway. 

      Activities generally include participant testing, learning how to collect cognitive and psychophysiological measurements, study logistical planning, data entry, literature reviews, and pilot testing.  Along with the project-based work, students will be immersed in a research environment, participating in laboratory meetings (CAIN Lab and BBB Research Centre), training events and attending seminars.

      1. Identifying how social cognition changes in adulthood.
      2. Investigating how blood pressure variability is related to cognition in late-adulthood.
      3. Determining cognitive trajectories in older adults undergoing cardiovascular surgeries.
      4. Co-designing a wellbeing training program with older adults.

      A/Prof Hannah Keage is happy talk to students about their own project ideas too.

      Contact person: A/Prof Hannah Keage

      Apply now

    • Measuring tanning behaviours in Australian adults minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will involve analysing data collected on tanning behaviour in summer and winter in a sample of Australian adults to determine the reliability of recall throughout the year.

      This is part of a program of research exploring motivations to tan despite the associated skin cancer risk.

      Contact person: Dr Amanda Hutchinson

      Apply now

    • Language(s) & counselling: investigating the development of interprofessional language practices in counselling minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This applied linguistic research addresses an end-user problem identified by STTARS and experienced by counsellors and interpreters in their work of supporting clients recovering from trauma in resettlement.

      The study will focus on interactional strategies developed by counsellors and interpreters to:

      (1) mediate understandings and

      (2) build interprofessional relationships and expertise in counselling interactions involving different linguistic, cultural and knowledge repertoires.

      Participation will be voluntary and UniSA HREC ethics approval will be obtained.

      Data will be collected through video & audio interviews with four counsellors and four interpreters to elicit their perspectives on their language practices and collaborative expertise. A narrative inquiry approach will be taken to analyse data.

      Findings will be returned to the organization in a brief report, a presentation to STTARS staff, and a professional learning video resource collaboratively developed with STTARS (who will provide video & editing support). 

      Contact person: Fiona O’Neill 

      Apply now

    • Optimising cognitive performance during watch keeping schedules minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will involve work in the sleep and chronobiology laboratory to collect data (neuro-behavioural performance, sleep, physiological) from a study investigating different shift work schedules.

      Students will be involved in all aspects of the study from participant recruitment, data collection to analysis. Students will also undertake a small literature review.

      Contact person: Professor Siobhan Banks 

      Apply now

    • Reducing sleep inertia with reactive countermeasures minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The last three years has seen a drive to draft legislation is an manner that is directly readable by machines. This approach has been developed in NZ and is being explored in NSW and other Australian jurisdictions.

      The core idea is that the ‘coded’ rule may have co-primacy with the natural language version of the legislation, so that it can be authoritatively and decisively interpreted and applied by AI systems. This approach raises fundamental issues of jurisprudence and public law that have not been adequately considered: See CSIRO Wants Our Laws Turned into Computer Code. Here's Why That's a Bad Idea.

      This project will involve the student assisting in conducting a literature review to outline practices of ‘law as code’, and to help identify the core public law and jurisprudential principles that may limit the use of this practice.

      The student will then be involved in drafting the resultant academic article.

      Contact person: Dr Joe McIntyre

      Apply now

    • Parliamentary scrutiny of rules of court minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: ‘Rules of Court’ – quasi-legislative instruments created by the judicial branch of government – occupy a unique constitutional position. The power to enact such rules is commonly sources both in the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, and in explicit statutory authority.

      However, under that latter source these rules are subject to Parliamentary oversight and, potentially, disallowance. This created conceptual and constitutional issues regarding the protection of the integrity of judicial proceedings, and the maintenance of the separation of powers.

      This project will explore the purpose and limits of Parliamentary scrutiny of the rules of courts, drawing on cases studies from WA, SA and other comparative jurisdictions.

      The student will assist in conducting a review of existing cases and literature, drawing on historical and comparative sources. The student will then be involved in drafting the resultant academic article.

      Contact person: Dr Joe McIntyr

      Apply now

  • buildings-city STEM minus-thin plus-thin


    • AI-based intelligent payload management to enforce civil emergency services minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project is to develop an idea for an intelligent payload to be integrated with a high-altitude platform. The payload should support sensing, sense making, dissemination or communications to augment failed or non-existent national critical infrastructure during times of civil emergency (for example, bushfires, floods, cyclones, earthquake etc.).

      The host platform is assumed to be a commercial latex meteorological balloon that has been modified to increase it endurance and perform basic station keeping – perhaps as part of a multi-platform constellation.

      Design Requirements are as follows:

      1. Platform assumed to operate at approximately 80,000 ft and be kept at that altitude and within a 50km diameter position.
      2. Endurance is 5 hours. The demonstration payload will not consume power from the balloon platform.
      3. Payload mass is <4kg.
      4. The payload compute platform (for sensor/communication interface and processing of payload data) will preferably be an Nvidia Jetson Nano (see www.core-electronics.com.au for information about the development platforms). This consumes 10W of DC power at full compute load.
      5. The focus on this activity is software implementation of an artificial intelligence/machine learning based solution.

      Contact person: Dr Annie Liang

      Apply now

    • Development and validation of wireless temperature monitoring system for surgical bone drilling minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Bone drilling is a fundamental process to achieving the anchoring strength and stability of an implant. However, excessive heat in drilling causes death of bone cells and tissue, thus negatively impacting the healing. Currently, the drilling outcome relies upon surgeon’s experience and reaction. In other words, surgeons are completely blind of in-situ heat generation.

      Accurate measurement and monitoring of bone drilling temperature is thus of paramount interest for surgeons to better gauge and understand in-situ drilling behaviour, and accordingly, adjust surgical planning, if necessary. This is even more crucial as remotely operated robotic surgery is growingly employed in hospitals worldwide.

      The present project will focus on developing a surgical drill with capability of measuring and wirelessly monitoring drill tip temperature in bone drilling.

      The project will leverage the innovative use of 3D printing to fabricate accurately the metal drill prototype to install a temperature sensor. A modular on-board electronic system with a wifi module will be integrated into rotary drill bit to wirelessly transfer temperature signal to a receiver unit embedded in a remote device (e.g. PC, mobile, reader) for monitoring. The performance of the system will be validated via in vitro bone drilling experiments.

      The finding of the project will empower surgeons to develop a better surgical planning, which will deliver an improved patient outcome. 

      Contact person: Dr Mohammad Uddin

      Apply now

    • Measuring metal contamination in mangroves near a coastal smelter minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Mangrove forests are an important component of the marine ecosystem in the South Australian gulfs. Significant stands are found surrounding the lead and zinc smelter at Port Pirie, which has been releasing metals into the marine environment for the last 130 years.

      As part of a larger project addressing how contaminants are affecting the Upper Spencer Gulf, this project will help measure contamination in mangroves and estimate the total loads of metals sequestered within sediments (and trees) in mangrove stands.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Craig Styan

      Apply now

    • Development of ecotoxicology tests for metal exposure from dredging minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Industrial developments have contaminated parts of the Upper Spencer Gulf with metals, particularly areas around ports. The ever-increasing size of ships, however, means deeper channels may soon need to be dredged in some of these areas – a process which will re-liberate metals currently sequestered in sediments back into the marine environment, potentially impacting broader areas outside of the channel. 

      This project will contribute to work our group does developing ecotoxicology assays to assess the potential impacts of metals on marine invertebrates and algae, helping to assess what the impacts of future dredging might be.

      Most assays we use in our lab focus on reproduction and early development in marine invertebrates and algae, but we are also interested in developing survival assays for benthic invertebrates and colonial groups like bryozoans and ascidians.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Craig Styan

      Apply now

    • Developing protocols for remote operated vehicle (ROV) surveys of coastal infrastructure minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Jetties are iconic in South Australia and important economically in regional areas as a focus for recreational fishing and coastal tourism.

      By providing hard surface underwater jetties are effectively artificial reefs, albeit often harbouring different assemblages to adjacent areas of natural reef. While jetties create habitat, probably attract fish and are important for people, their wider ecological role(s) in nearshore coastal systems are not well understood.

      Resolving this requires better understanding of what lives on/near jetties and how this varies spatially and temporally. Normally we would use divers to collect such data, but diving is expensive and sometimes hazardous, so we are looking at whether we could instead monitor using remotely operated vehicles (ROV).

      We have a small observation-class ROV, underwater cameras and can access a range of jetties. This project would help collect pilot data develop survey protocols and assess different sampling strategies (effort, transect length, taxonomic resolution etc.) for monitoring ecological changes across jetties.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Craig Styan

      Apply now

    • Improving eHealth literacy in global health crises minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Much research is needed to understand individuals' information behaviours in global health crises, including their abilities to discern good versus bad information from various information sources (traditional mass media, digital, interpersonal, etc).

      Based on such an understanding, we can then develop interventions to improve individuals' health literacy, which must include eHealth literacy in today's world, that is, the ability to access, assess, and use digital health information to make informed decisions. This is important in global health crises such as COVID-19 where information flow via social media is especially overwhelming and rapidly evolving.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Tina Du

      Apply now

    • Detecting misinformation and disinformation during global health crises minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In rapidly developing situations, misinformation due to inaccurate descriptions or interpretations of the situation and deliberately falsified disinformation are easily generated and spread quickly. 

      This project will explore: (a) how to assist people with the use of trustworthy social media information while avoiding misinformation/ disinformation, and (b) how to automatically detect and stop the spread of misinformation/disinformation on mass media and social media.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Tina Du

      Apply now

    • Getting more from less: Improving sample preparation and mass spectrometry approaches for low abundant protein samples minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The ability to prepare high quality protein samples is an important process in the discipline of proteomics. Filter Aided Sample Preparation (FASP) is a method where cells/tissues are processed in a single reactor vessel to efficiently and consistently produce protein samples for mass spectrometry analysis.

      The aim of the project is to develop optimised sample preparation protocols that produce samples highly representative of their protein content. After this prerequisite has been demonstrated with standard protein samples, it is envisaged that cancerous cell lines and tissues will also be processed, where the problem of low abundant proteins are a major issue in the field.

      The developed method will be combined with high-resolution/accurate-mass spectrometry (MS) with and without a field asymmetric ion mobility source to assess the proteome depth of coverage. Students will participate in collection and interpretation of results, including possible journal publications.

      Contact person: Dr Clifford Young, Dr Mark Condina and Professor Peter Hoffmann

      Apply now

    • Developing new methods to track the authenticity and provenance of seafood to combat seafood fraud minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: As global demand for food increases, so does the need to find reliable and sustainable sources of food. Seafood is an increasingly important source of food and high-quality protein, but it is also the most traded food product in the world and highly susceptible to fraud. Identifying the provenance and authenticity of seafood will empower authorities to combat seafood fraud and meet consumer expectations for safe and socially and environmentally responsible food.

      Recent examples of food adulteration in Australia, such as honey and milk products, further highlight the need for better analytical strategies to efficiently detect food authenticity and provenance.

      For this project we will adopt cutting-edge mass spectrometry (MS)-based approaches to obtain unique signatures of seafood products and to assess authenticity and/or provenance, based on the protein composition of samples.

      To trial the technology, you will work with leading experts in both marine biology and proteomics.  You will participate in sample collection and preparation, and acquisition and analysis of mass spectrometry results.

      Contact person: Dr Zoe DoubledayDr Clifford Young and Dr Mark Condina

      Apply now

    • Model lateral load on pile foundation minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Research will be conducted to investigate the performance of pile foundation under static and cyclic loading. The aim of this research is to develop a constitutive model to predict the performance of the pile and the reaction at the soil-pile interface.

      The cyclic model will be also developed to replicate the earthquake loading condition and cyclic behaviour of such structure.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Mizanur Rahman and Dr Khoi Nguyen

      Apply now

    • Model the behaviour of layered soils minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Conventional soil test often tests the shearing behaviour of only one soil to predict the field potential failure. However, natural soils deposit in layers, which is often overlooked in experiments. A research will be conducted to investigate the behaviour of layered soil under different loading conditions.

      To have deeper understanding about soil particle interactions, a discrete element method will be used.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Mizanur Rahman and Dr Khoi Nguyen

      Apply now

    • Model the earth pressure balance shield tunnelling – a DEM approach minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The research will be conducted to investigate the performance of the earth pressure balance (EPB) shield tunnelling. The stress-strain response of the surrounding will be examined by discrete element method. The stress-strain response will be captured at the monitoring area.

      Furthermore, the effect of muck discharge on the ground response will be also studied.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Mizanur Rahman and Dr Khoi Nguyen

      Apply now

    • Investigating NLP techniques for ontological coding of medical diagnoses from clinical notes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Typical NLP techniques struggle with short, ungrammatical texts with high degrees of variation, but there are some areas where such texts are common.

      Clinical Notes are one such area as Doctors may write short notes about a diagnosis with countless variations in the use of terms, acronyms, and possibly misspellings in attempt to be brief. This poses a challenge when performing analytics and reasoning that incorporates such data, as accounting for the amount of variation is difficult within the primary task. To resolve this, the records must be coded consistently using a coding scheme, or ontology.

      To account for the variation, the coding must be done manually , which is time consuming, error prone, and impossible to incorporate into automated analytics pipelines; therefore, it becomes necessary to provide automated coding of the records, which leads back to the original problem.

      In this project the student will investigate approaches to automatically coding short clinical notes with ontological categories specifying the associated diagnosis. The student will be expected to apply basic natural language processing techniques, such as tokenisation and stemming, text analytics as well as machine learning techniques, such as clustering and neural networks.

      The student will need to first investigate the data set and ontology manually before applying different techniques in various combinations to try to identify a suitable approach to coding short clinical notes with their ontological category. This work will be performed using Python and its data science libraries.

      The results of this project will assist in the analysis of health data for Precision Health as well as have applications to other domains, such as machine maintenance records for industry.

      A basic project plan is outlined as follows:

      • Weeks 1-3: will be spent familiarising with some relevant literature, the data set, and the python tools, and identifying possible technique combinations to investigate: this will include the creation of a baseline experiment using only the simplest automated techniques;
      • Weeks 4-7: each subsequent week would run a new experiment on one of the combinations of techniques and compare against the baseline and other approaches
      • 1 week is set aside for writing up the final report detailing the experimental methodology, the combinations of techniques, and the experimental results.


      This project will be carried out in the AI and Software Engineering Laboratory and has applications to the Industrial AI Research Concentration.

      Contact person: Dr Matt Selway

      Apply now

    • Spaceborne distributed synthetic aperture radar minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is an airborne or spaceborne remote sensing technique that synthesises the effect of a large-aperture physical radar for imaging remote targets on a terrain at high resolutions.

      NASA space shuttles for example are equipped with this kind of radar. The simplest SAR has a pair of collocated transmitter and receiver. Increasing the number of receivers and mounting the receivers on separate platforms (e.g., multiple drones) provides the advantage of jamming resistance and enhancing target recognition capability – this is known as the multistatic configuration.

      The multi-input multi-output (MIMO) configuration is another possibility, where every pair of transmitter and receiver is deployed on a separate platform, and there are multiple pairs. Both configurations fall in the category of distributed SAR.

      The aims of this project are to firstly investigate the practical feasibility of spaceborne (i.e., satellite-carried) distributed SAR by performing an extensive review of the literature, and secondly to develop a simulator implementing some basic SAR functionality in MATLAB. For the simulator, MATLAB has the Phased Array System Toolbox and sample code that are readily applicable.

      Through this project, the High Achiever Vacation Research Scholar will develop highly sought-after skills in SAR and signal processing. Australian citizenship is NOT required.

      Contact person: Professor Kutluyil Dogancay and Dr Yee Wei Law

      Apply now

    • Portable chemical sensors for environmental monitoring minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Portable devices are transforming the way we understand and respond to the world around us. At the microscale, lab-on-a-chip chemical sensors are non-invasive high-performance chemical monitoring devices, which can be networked to map an environment.

      This summer project will investigate a lab on a chip device that is suitable for monitoring water quality markers (chlorine and pH) without human intervention for months. The results will reflect real-world samples and aims to be a fully integrated device, with on-board electronics.

      The project is particularly suited to students with an interest in chemistry, advanced manufacturing and/or electrical engineering.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Craig Priest

      Apply now

    • Nano optical sensors for picolitre spectroscopy minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Portable devices are transforming the way we sense the world around us. Increasingly nanoscale phenomena are being integrated into powerful lab-on-a-chip sensors to improve sensitivity, selectivity, and sensor footprint.

      This summer project will investigate new applications of a novel nanofluidic spectroscopy cuvette developed at UniSA.

      The cuvette requires picolitre samples (one billionth of a mL) and will be used to validate its sensing performance for target analytes. The project is particularly suited to students with an interest in chemistry, physics, or advanced manufacturing.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Craig Priest

      Apply now

    • Mapping arsenic contamination in the Victorian Goldfields: 150 years of gold mining legacy minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Since the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1851, approximately 2400 tonnes of gold has been recovered, which amounts to almost 2% of world production. However, geothermal processes that lead to gold deposition, also deposits arsenic, which is toxic to humans and the environment.

      Recovery of gold resulted in the release of arsenic into the environment and widespread arsenic contamination at legacy mine waste disposal areas. Although a number of studies have determined variable arsenic concentrations surrounding legacy gold mines, further examination of surface soils in the Victorian goldfields is required to understand the impact of arsenic on human health and the environment.

      This study will quantify the concentration of arsenic and other potentially toxic elements in surface soils. A second aim of this study is to establish the relationship between the concentration of potentially toxic elements and their bioavailability in humans by assessing elemental dissolution in simulated gastrointestinal solutions.

      Results of this study may be used to develop remediation strategies to reduce human exposure to legacy contaminants.

      Contact person: Dr Farzana Kastury and Assoc Prof Albert Juhasz

      Apply now

    • Reducing childhood exposure to lead and other potentially toxic elements in smelting impacted and agricultural soil minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Lead is a well-known neurotoxin, negatively affecting childhood neurological and cognitive development. Incidental ingestion of surface dust during hand-to-mouth activities in children living near lead smelters often exhibit high blood lead levels, which is a biomarker for lead absorption and toxicity. Another significant lead exposure pathway is ingestion of food grown in agricultural land near lead smelters, for example, wheat.

      A promising approach to reduce childhood lead exposure is treating soil to immobilize lead in-situ. Using this method, the chemical form of lead may be changed from a readily bioavailable form to a less mobile form, thereby reducing lead absorption from the gastro-intestinal tract. In addition to lead, this remediation strategy may also immobilize arsenic, which is commonly found as a co-contaminant in lead contaminated soil.

      This study will optimize a treatment strategy for lead immobilization in residential and agricultural soils. Results of this study will be used to develop field trial protocols to test the efficacy of the remediation strategy in the near future.

      Contact person: Dr Farzana Kastury and Assoc Prof Albert Juhasz

      Apply now

    • Enhancing reusability of building components and decision support by digital means minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Concerns over quality and performance of in-use building components are often major hurdles for their reuse. Employing digital means to support identifying, tracking, monitoring and managing building components not only provides capabilities to evaluate their physical fitness for reuse, but also opens up opportunities to add different kinds of services for further quality and performance assurance.

      The current Cloud-BIM-RFID model developed under the ARUP-funded project provides means to track, retrieve and manage data that covers material, manufacture, supply chain handlings, as well as the records of installation, on-site maintenance and recovery for extended use. While such data is useful in establishing the profile of the building components to inform decisions for reuse, it falls short of supporting assessment on reusability.

      The data stored and managed on the current digital platforms does not provide information on the physical conditions and the structural health of the components which are often affected by their in-situ working environment and degrade over time.

      For both reusability assessment and quality assurance purposes, it is essential for the Cloud-BIM-RFID data platform to expand its capability with a mechanism for capturing and incorporating dynamically monitored data to reflect material strength, structural integrity and other mission and quality critical measures.

      This requires the platform to have additional functions to integrate data from RFID and from other sensing devices to better support decision making for reuse and asset management.

      To this end, the student to be involved in this project is expected to:

      • Investigate options for material-based, embeddable and inexpensive sensors for monitoring structural health and operating condition data (e.g. humidity, temperature, deformation, cracks, etc.);
      • Investigate mechanisms and interfaces for data conversion and transmission in digital format compatible with Industry Foundation Classes; OR
      • Investigate an evaluation model and recommendation mechanism in the platform for reusability assessment and rating.


      Contact person: Dr Ke Xing and Professor David Ness

      Apply now

    • Development of a 3D printed blood microprocessing unit for point-of-care biodiagnostics minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: We have recently developed a point of care diagnostic technology based on nanoscale solid-state sensors that can measure blood biomarkers with very high sensitivity.  An integral part of point-of-care diagnostics is the ability to accurately sample and process finger-prick blood without using any external equipment.

      The student will work closely with a team of Post-doc and PhD students at the Future Industries Institute /ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio and Nano Science to optimize the design and fabrication of a blood microprocessing unit. He/she will be exposed to additive manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing and high-resolution injection molding.

      Contact person: Professor Benjamin Thierry, Dr Duy Tran and Dr Clare Whitehead

      Apply now

    • Improving gold leaching kinetics of refractory ores minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Gold remains highly valued precious metal with its applications including medicine, jewellery, dentistry, art, coinage and electronic devices. Under economic hardship, the gold mining industry provides strong financial support to host nations. Till date, ways of increasing gold leaching rate using environmentally friendly reagents have been sorted with no global success.

      The dissemination of gold in complex, refractory mineral ores presents significant challenges in gold leaching processes. In this project, the gold leaching rate of selected industry-relevant reagents will be investigated with the aim of improving the gold leaching kinetics.

      This project forms part of a global effort towards developing benign, cost-effective gold hydrometallugical extraction route for industrial application.

      Contact person: Dr Richmond Asamoah and Professor William Skinner

      Apply now

    • Improved froth flotation pulp chemistry predictive model development minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In mineral processing, froth flotation separates valued minerals (chalcopyrite, auriferous sulphides) from waste/gangue mineral phases, concentrating the valued minerals for downstream processing. During flotation process, the pulp electro-chemistry is critical to maximising performance.

      With ever-decreasing metal grades in addition to complex current resources, smarted froth flotation predictive methods for higher returns are required. Recent development of machine learning and data analytics algorithms provide great opportunity for predicting flotation pulp chemistry and making smarter decisions. In this project, pulp chemistry predictive models would be developed with the aim of improving the flotation response and better process optimisation.

      This project forms part of the South Australian Premier’s Research and Industry Fund Research Consortia Program aimed at applying Industrial Internet of Things, advanced sensing, data analytics and machine learning to improve mining operations, mineral processing and recovery.

      Contact person: Dr Richmond Asamoah & Professor William Skinner

      Apply now

    • Acoustic signals of different ore breakage mechanisms minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Ore grinding forms an essential part in mineral processing, liberating the valued minerals at optimum particle sizes for downstream concentration and extraction. The grinding mills also represent single highest energy consuming unit compared with other unit operations in the mine, due partly to the limited detection and control of ore breakage mechanism.

      In this project, acoustic signals, measured during grinding operations, will be correlated with the grinding mechanism to aid in detecting mechanistic changes and controlling operating conditions towards obtaining unique product characteristics in a cost-effective manner.

      This work forms part of the South Australian Premier’s Research and Industry Fund Research Consortia Program aimed at applying Industrial Internet of Things, advanced sensing, data analytics and machine learning to improve mining operations, mineral processing and recovery.

      Contact person: Dr Richmond Asamoah and Professor William Skinner

      Apply now

    • Economic impact of the Flight School on the Mawson Lakes Precinct minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project is part of a bigger research project on the Mawson Lakes Precinct by a diverse group of academics from three different Academic Units (Business, STEM, Creative) and in collaboration with City of Salisbury.

      You will be required to undertake research in December 2020 and January 2021 to investigate the economic impact of the flight school at Parafield Airport on the suburb of Mawson Lakes. Suggested methods are: desk research, a survey and face-to-face interviews with UniSA Aviation Students.

      The idea is to map residential addresses against spending behaviour of aviation students leading to a clearer picture of the economic impact the flight school has on Mawson Lakes.

      Contact person: Dr Mirjam Wiedemann and Dr Ke Xing

      Apply now

    • Algorithms to encapsulate liquids in 3D printed materials minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project aims to find methods of multi material 3D printing that will allow printed liquids to be enclosed in printed cells. Initially the project focus will investigating software algorithms and physical geometries that are suitable to support these types of operations.

      The work will be done in conjunction with the Future Industries Institute to provide support for the materials aspects of the project.

      Students will be given access to a range of 3D printers (both filament and resin based) and will be able to see the tangible outcomes of the software algorithms they develop. This project is well suited to students looking to gain programming experience and possibly have an existing interest or experience with 3D printers. (suitable as Masters or PhD project or Vacation Scholarship) 

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith

      Apply now

    • Kinematic rigging of digital models of human anatomy minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Form and function are deeply connected within the musculoskeletal system. The origin and insertion of muscles, and their arrangement into groups with opposing functions, allow for complex movements of our joints through two simple processes: contraction (shortening) and relaxation (lengthening). The use of digital models to illustrate the actions of muscles on joint articulation is best conveyed with movement, however most digital anatomicaleducation resources depict only pre-determined animations of joint movement.

      The student will work with digital models of human joint anatomy that have been segmented from CT and MRI datasets. The student will develop kinematic models of each STL component (muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments), to enable the assembly to articulate in a realistic manner. This project is well suited to students studying or interested in software engineering, games design and information technology. Other disciplines are also welcome if they are interested in the area of research.

      This project will allow the student to become familiar with 3D modelling and kinematic animation techniques, as well as an understanding of human musculoskeletal anatomy. The project will contribute to the development of digital assets of human anatomy that are capable of realistic movements and may be used in VR/AR clinical education applications.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jacob Ross

      Apply now

    • Human eye model for ophthalmoscope training minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Medical and optometry students are required to become familiar with the use of an ophthalmoscope for eye inspection as part of their clinical practice. This device requires another person to volunteer to be examined, limiting opportunities for rehearsal. Additionally, ophthalmic pathologies are difficult to find outside of an ophthalmology clinic or the emergency department of a hospital, yet students are required to accurately diagnose ophthalmic injury and disease.

      The student will develop an anatomically accurate digital model of the human eye for 3D printing and ophthalmoscope training. Clinical images of the retina will be provided (normal and pathological), for placement inside the orb of the eye, allowing for visualisation through the pupil. The digital model will be printed using a full colour Stratasys J735 resin. This project is well suited to students studying or interested in software engineering, games design and information technology. Other disciplines are also welcome if they are interested in the area of research.

      This project will provide an opportunity to become familiar with 3D modelling and with the anatomy of the human eye. Visible light optics and 3D printed manufacturing are additional features. This project will contribute to the development of an inexpensive 3D printed device for demonstrating and rehearsing the use of a clinical ophthalmoscope. 

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jacob Ross

      Apply now

    • Augmented Reality (AR) display of in vivo monitoring in health settings minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Diagnostic data relating to a patient’s vital signs (HR, BP, Temp, Respiratory Rate, %O2 Saturation), are typically recorded in a written medical chart or displayed dynamically on a computer screen. Written values are difficult to visualise graphically, while data displayed on-screen might require viewing away from the bedside.

      The use of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) allows for the monitoring of physiological data in number of raw and processed visualisations. This project is well suited to students studying or interested in software engineering, games design and information technology. Other disciplines are also welcome if they are interested in the area of research.

      The student will develop AR/VR tools for the visualisation of clinically relevant physiological data. The interface will allow a clinician to select useful relationships between data for the real-time monitoring of a patient during drug delivery or procedure.

      The student will develop familiarity with AR/VR development tools and the display of clinical data in a real-time manner. 

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jacob Ross

      Apply now

    • AR/VR sports visualisation minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will investigate the use of augmented and virtual reality systems to support athletes and recreational sports participants in skill learning and training. AR may be employed to supplement training by providing a mechanism to visualise set plays, visualise body movements/position, and visualise game performance.

      The affordances of AR technology equips an athlete with the ability practice both physically and mentally anywhere and at any time, e.g. while at home, going for a walk or on the field. Visualisations may also be used by coaching staff to assess player performance data. Research has shown that mental rehearsal or visualisation can improve athlete performance. This project will explore new methods of AR for visualisation with the aim of enhancing sports performance, i.e. AR as a support to mental rehearsal. 

      This project will develop a prototype that will allow an athlete to visualise plays (i.e. in miniature or real size); or to provide visual representation of a movement, i.e. practise kicking a football, etc. The work is well suited for anyone interested in learning or has experience with the Unity Game Engine; an interest in sports or visualisation methods.

      You will be part of an enthusiastic group of talented developers with diverse experience in a very collaborative and supportive group.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jo Zucco

      Apply now

    • AR/VR virtual pet therapy (possible Saab collaboration) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will explore the use of augmented reality technology to provide a virtual pet in place of a real pet for animal-assisted therapy. Animal-assisted therapy provides interaction with an animal in order to improve human health and well-being. The benefits of animal-assisted therapy are well known and are employed from the young to the elderly. Animal-assisted therapy has been explored in many areas; stress, trauma, depression, illness (both patients and caregivers).

      In many cases, it may not be possible for those that would may benefit from animal-assisted therapy to interact with a real pet. In addition, interaction with real animals are limited to certain days and times.

      A virtual pet, on the other hand, is readily available as an intervention when required. This research aims to explore whether an AR virtual pet provides the same benefits over traditional approaches (i.e. a real pet). This project will develop a virtual pet viewed by using either a head-worn display or a handheld system (such as a mobile phone). The system should provide realistic behaviours and meaningful interactions with the virtual pet. Suitable interaction techniques may also be explored as a part of the project.

      This project is well suited for anyone interested in learning or has experience with the Unity Game Engine; an interest in health and well-being or visualization and interaction methods. The student will be part of an enthusiastic group of talented developers with diverse experience in a very collaborative and supportive group. 

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jo Zucco

      Apply now

    • Mixed reality physio-therapy assistant minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will explore the possibility of using a mixed reality application to help aid the recovery process after physical injury. It will explore how gamification can be incorporated into exercise routines to make the experience of recovery more enjoyable.

      The system is intended to support exercises for areas such as the neck, shoulder, back, knees and other areas of the body. We aim to use features such as tracking the progress made during the therapy session to inform both the patient and clinicians (such as physiotherapists) of progress and provide analysis tools to evaluate the data.

      The system will track movements and record information such as angle for how far patients can rotate their head. It will also, display angle data when a user finishes their input, and aims to visualize data in an entertaining way.

      This project is well suited for anyone interested in learning or has experience with the Unity Game Engine; an interest in gamification, rehabilitation or visualization methods. You will be part of an enthusiastic group of talented developers with diverse experience in a very collaborative and supportive group.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jo Zucco

      Apply now

    • Augmented reality tool to support student learning of Ardunio microcontrollers minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will explore the use of augmented reality technology in education. Augmented reality enhances the user's real world with virtual information.

      Augmented reality has been explored in many educational settings (e.g. anatomy, chemistry, maintenance, assembly tasks), and has been shown to positively influence and improve the learning process. The project aims to leverage the capabilities of AR technology in an educational setting providing engaging, authentic and active learning experiences. The research aims to explore whether an AR system improves learning over traditional approaches (e.g. paper based instruction, etc).

      This project will develop an application that will allow a user to view the Arduino microcontroller using either a head-worn display or a handheld system (such as a mobile phone) and see the device with virtual information superimposed. The system should provide information pertaining to the Arduino, how to connect it to other components (i.e. breadboards, LEDs, sensors, buzzers, etc) and meaningful interactions with virtual information.

      Through AR it will also reveal invisible elements such as electron flow direction, current and voltage information and allow manual annotations to be added to support the learning process. This project is well suited for anyone interested in learning or has experience with the Unity Game Engine; an interest in teaching and learning or visualization methods. The student will be part of an enthusiastic group of talented developers with diverse experience in a very collaborative and supportive group.

      Contact person: Assoc Prof Ross Smith and Dr Jo Zucco

      Apply now

    • Large network visualisation and interaction for data analytics minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In this project, students will build an interactive network visualisation tool to explore large datasets. Networks form a fundamental structure for numerous problem domains. For example, social networks represent relationships that exist between people. Analysis of such networks can identify the potential spread of misinformation or can reveal hierarchy and cliques that were not immediately obvious.

      There are a class of analytical problems related to networks that cannot be solved through automated means. To illustrate, an analyst working in the domain of federal tax may want to identify complex tax fraud that might be occurring within a network, however the means by which fraud is occurring is unknown; the people within the network are constantly inventing new means to evade detection.

      This problem is only exacerbated in the global connected age, where social networks can involve tens of thousands of people. The analyst requires tools that support the interrogation of the network in order to develop new insights.

      Visualisation is the externalisation of information that supports the analytical process. Network visualisation is a well-explored area of research, however the visualisation of large networks remains an open question. Students in this project will build a performant, interactive network visualisation tool to visualise large network data. Students will be exposed to data analytics methods for understanding social network data as well as graph rendering techniques.

      Contact person: Dr Andrew Cunningham

      Apply now

    • Telling immersive data stories: exploring narrative visualisation techniques in virtual reality minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: For over thirty years, computer-aided data visualisation has been a powerful tool in the data scientist’s toolbox to externalise thought processes and help build an understanding of real-world phenomena.

      Techniques like scatterplots, sparklines, and even the humble barchart, have been used to gain insight into social and world issues like poverty and global warming to great success. Communicating these finding, however, has often been a challenge in itself. These visualisations commonly require some level of interpretation and explanation — the insights must be communicated. To the layman, these visualisations can be inscrutable and do not translate into actionable knowledge.

      Infographics — data stories using leveraging visualisation and narrative techniques — has been a recent solution to the dilemma of communicating data. Mastered by the likes of the New York Times, infographics, and more broadly “Narrative Visualisation”, have been successful in communicating complex insights into subjects as diverse as politics, crime, and even Netflix, to millions of readers around the world. More recently, these Narrative Visualisations have moved to the web to introduce elements of interactivity to aid the reader in internalising the underlying insights.

      Virtual Reality (VR) has seen a recent surge in popularity with the introduction of the Oculus and HTC Vive headsets. The fidelity and level of immersion provided by these modern headsets is unprecedented, so much so that data visualisation researchers are beginning to explore the potential of the medium in a new research field known as Immersive Analytics. It then begs the question, what is Narrative Visualisation in the world of Virtual Reality?

      This project will develop new techniques for navigating and interacting with data stories within virtual reality environments. The student will investigate modern techniques for storytelling used in VR and build a set of VR data stories that explore the influence that various methods of interaction and feedback (such as sound, walking and haptics) have on the delivery of the narrative.

      Contact person: Dr Andrew Cunningham

      Apply now

    • Laser hands in augmented reality! minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Have you ever gotten sick of how your current surroundings look? Maybe there’s a hidden message you’d like to draw on walls for your colleagues to see? Perhaps just a venting of destructive urges? Well look no further, this project aims to utilize the power of a new Augmented Reality (AR) headset to give the power of Marvel’s Iron Man in the hands of the everyday person.

      Allowing them to point their finger at the surrounding environment to shoot virtual laser beams, decorating walls and the environment with fun virtual messages for others to see. (Sorry, for obvious ethical reasons we can’t have you shooting real lasers!)

      This project involves a series of several smaller but interesting software development tasks, allowing you to pick and choose your interests, and develop with a veteran engineer’s supervision. Allowing you to learn cutting-edge development techniques, and practices.

      The broad range of components for this project include:

      • Unity Game Engine Development
      • OpenCV computer vision development
      • Human Computer Interaction design and implementation


      This project welcomes developers/researchers of all skill levels, so don’t hesitate to apply!

      Contact person: Dr Damien Rompapas

      Apply now

    • Swish, and flick! A study on the effects of latency and displacement on virtual hand-tool based interactions minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Hand tools are common place in every day life, even more so when interacting with virtual content in Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR).

      However, it is rare that such virtual representations of hand tools are aligned perfectly in the real world, or exhibit near zero latency without the use of external equipment.

      That doesn’t mean that said virtual representations are beyond use, in fact we don’t know the acceptable threshold of latency/tracking error before interacting via the virtual hand tool becomes tedious and impossible for the end user.

      In this project, you will assist with the creation of an experiment environment with a Project North Star head-worn AR display and a commodity VR display. This includes tasks for laser pointing interactions and desk-based puzzle solving, with the introduction of artificial latency and spatial misalignment. This will help us to discover the perceivable thresholds of latency and displacement!

      Unity/Computer graphics experience is a plus to have, but not a requirement!

      Contact person: Dr Damien Rompapas

      Apply now

    • Rockem, sockem, battle robots! minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Boom, Zap, Pow! Who doesn’t like the sound of a good multiplayer video game? However, developing such multiplayer action games can be quite tricky from both a technical and UI/UX design standpoint.

      In this project, you will be focused towards the ideation process of designing and developing an interesting multiplayer experience on mobile, especially exciting for those who wish to engage in the games and entertainment field!

      While not necessarily core research, instead this project is aimed at those who wish to simply gain more experience with the Unity Game Engine, Game design techniques, and Mobile development, while under supervision of an industry expert. Previous experience is helpful, but not a requirement!

      Contact person: Dr Damien Rompapas

      Apply now

    • Geo-location based social augmented reality framework minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project is to the develop a mobile augmented reality (AR) framework to allow people to create, edit and disseminate stories, content, and historic records for digital journalism and digital heritage applications.

      The idea is to develop an augmented reality browser and backend service that will allow journalists, local historians, or tour guides  to populate a location with AR content such as historical stories, newspaper clippings, images, interviews and video so there is another layer to the visitor’s experience of places.

      The project envisages this being used somewhere such as Torrens Island where a visitor can either download an app or scan a poster on location and watch the AR content on their mobile devices. The project will involve using a game engine (e.g. Unity) to develop an AR application.

      Contact person: Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Multi-modal and multi-sensory interaction for mixed reality minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project is to the develop Mixed Reality prototypes for exploring various ideas of multi-modal and multi-sensory interaction methods. Mixed Reality systems require new interaction methods that takes advantage of immersive and three-dimensional spatial interfaces.

      Multi-modal and multi-sensory approach is interesting for further investigation as they resemble how human interact with the real world environment, hence there are potential to provide intuitive and easy-to-use solutions. The project envisages the interaction methods developed in this project would be used in various Mixed Reality systems and experiences. 

      It will involve using a game engine (e.g. Unity) to develop an MR application and use various sensors to detect user's input and motion.

      Contact person: Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Mind meld AR art minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Art installations are often static, non-interactive experiences. Our brains respond to viewing art, but the art most often does not respond in turn to our brains.

      Using the cutting-edge Emotiv EPOC headsets, this project will interpret and visualise the brain signals of up to four viewers. The art will respond to their collective neural responses, modifying the visual output of the system.

      Your unique art experience will be  projected onto a large surface, making it a shared reality between yourself and the others participating in the experience.

      This project could utilise the Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environment’s creative assets at City West, with the goal of creating a novel, shared experience within IVE, with the end goal being to offer the viewer an experience akin to UniSA MOD’s pieces.

      This project will necessitate development experience in the Unity game engine and comfort programming in the C# language. Knowledge of HLSL and/or shader graphs would be beneficial. No prior knowledge of neuroscience or the EPOC headset is required.

      Contact person: Dr James Walsh and Dr James Baumeister

      Apply now

    • VR/AR based training for high-risk industry skills minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project aims to develop VR/AR based training cases applied to high-risk industry skills. This project will be co-designed with the industry end-user partners from the construction and forestry industy. Outputs will involve developing a prototype of the VR/AR-based training solutions.

      A particular type of construction work will be selected for this project, under the industry partner’s guidance. Then, a prototype of VR/AR training solutions will be developed. The development of the prototypes will be achieved through a co-design process with industry training experts and operation managers.

      The prototypes will be tested on-site for their usability and effectiveness. For this, several current trainees will be recruited, and they will trial the developed training solutions and provide feedback. The inputs from the participants will be used to further improve the functionality and usability of the solutions.

      The student will be tasked to take initial project prototype and further improve based on the requirements and feedback collected from the end-users and the stake holders. Prior knowledge in VR/AR software development or game engines would be beneficial but not mandatory.

      Contact person: Dr Jun Ahn and Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Face to face collaboration using HoloLens minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The Microsoft HoloLens hardware combines a see-through head mounted display with excellent indoor tracking, and so provides an ideal platform for Augmented Reality. In this project we want to explore how the HoloLens could be used to enhance face-to-face collaboration.

      The project will involve developing an example HoloLens application that will allow two people in the same room to view and interact with the same virtual content. This will build on earlier work that we have done in face-to-face AR interaction. In addition we will explore novel interaction methods such as using virtual cues to show where people are looking, and enabling users to see from each other viewpoints.

      Contact person: Professor Mark Billinghurst and Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Gaze based remote conferencing minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: For a number of years people have been studying how head worn cameras (HWCs) and head mounted displays (HMDs) can be used for remote collaboration on physical tasks. The HWC allows a remote expert to see what the local user is doing, while a HMD can allow the remote expert to provide Augmented Reality (AR) virtual cues overlaid on the local user’s view of the real world to help them complete the task.

      For example, in a remote maintenance task, workers using a wearable AR interface were able to reduce their task performance time by up to 30%. In face-to-face conversation gaze provides information about where a person is directing his or her attention and so it could also be an important cue in remote collaboration.

      Previous research has found that sharing gaze between two remote collaborators significantly improved performance on a desktop visual search task, compared to audio only communication. However there has been little research conducted on sharing gaze cues from a wearable collaborative system. In this project we want to explore the effect of adding gaze tracking to wearable systems for remote collaboration.

      The work would extend our earlier pilot work in this areaand involve the following: Background research on gaze tracking in collaborative systems, Create a prototype system integrating a HMD, HMC and eye-tracker, Conduct user studies with a variety of physical tasks, and Write research report.

      Contact person: Professor Mark Billinghurst and Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Emotion recognition for collaborative systems minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The aim of this project is to design and develop software that robustly recognise human emotions, by making use of multiple types of sensor data, such as video, still images, and biometrics. The software will be designed as a module to be integrated into collaborative systems such as video conferencing or Mixed Reality collaboration systems.

      The context of use will be explored if emotional recognition code can be developed that can run in near real time on live camera video and so provide feedback on user emotion while operating a computer interface. For example, using the video feed from a laptop camera to monitor the emotions of a person in front of it.

      The student will be tasked to take software modules for emotion recognition and develop a bridging component to be used in AR/VR development tools, such as Unity game engine.

      Contact person: Professor Mark Billinghurst and Dr Gun Lee

      Apply now

    • Analysing the bat calls of Kangaroo Island’s bat species minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summmary: The first comprehensive survey of the insectivorous bats of Kangaroo Island is taking place to determine their distribution as a function of land use, vegetation, and bushfires.

      The vacation scholarship aims to support a reliable and dedicated environmental student to identify bat species (and potentially subspecies) from the analysis of their recorded calls at many sites.

      The student will determine the functionality and validity of semi-automatic call detection for this fauna. This covid 19-resilient project can be conducted from home (on the student’s computer) or combined with some field work on Kangaroo Island (camping only).

      Contact person: Associate Professor Topa Petit

      Apply now

How to apply

  • Important information minus-thick plus-thick
    • The Vacation Research Scholarships are open to enrolled undergraduate students who, in the current year, are completing the second, third, fourth or Honours year of their program at the time the scholarship commences.
    • The scholarship will be paid at the rate of $300 per week for the agreed tenure, from a minimum of 4 weeks and up to a maximum of eight weeks, between November and February each year.
    • To accommodate the Christmas/New Year closure of 1.5 weeks, the period of tenure may be taken in two blocks of time, subject to approval from supervisory staff.
    • The scholarship is expected to be undertaken on a full-time basis (38 hours per week) for the period of the scholarship. Hours/duration of work are to be agreed upon with your supervisor prior to the acceptance and commencement of your project.
    • Students are eligible for the centrally funded Vacation Research Scholarship once only throughout their Undergraduate/Honours degree. However, as additional scholarships may be funded from another source, applications from previous recipients will be accepted for consideration. Advice should be sought directly from the relevant discipline. Please refer to the project information links for contact details.
    • Your application will require the support of your proposed project supervisor. If you were previously unknown to the researcher, you are encouraged to submit an additional supporting statement from an academic staff member who can comment on your academic abilities.
    • This scholarship is highly competitive based on academic merit and the availability of researchers in your area of interest and unfortunately not all applicants or projects will be funded.
    • Successful applicants cannot defer the scholarship and must take it up during the time nominated.
    • Only one application per student is permitted each year and scholarships are only awarded to undertake research at UniSA
  • How to apply (UniSA students) minus-thick plus-thick

    Open to domestic and international students.

    Application closing date: 18 September 2020

    1. Look at the research projects available in the list above
    2. Read and follow the application instructions (PDF)
    3. Apply through myScholarships, accessed via your myUniSA student portal.
    4. Complete the application support form (Word) together with your myScholarships application
    5. Submit completed application support form and supporting documentation to research.students@unisa.edu.au
  • How to apply (non-UniSA students) minus-thick plus-thick

    Open to domestic students (Australian citizens or permanent residents, or New Zealand citizens).

    Application closing date: 18 September 2020

    1. Look at the research projects available in the list above
    2. Read and follow the application instructions (PDF)
    3. Complete the application form (Word)
    4. Submit completed application form and supporting documentation to research.students@unisa.edu.au
  • Successful applicants minus-thick plus-thick

    As a condition of the scholarship, you are required to write a short Final Report (1 or 2 pages) on the research undertaken and submit it within 2 weeks of completing your scholarship to your supervisor(s), with a copy to the Scholarships and Candidature Team, Student and Academic Services: research.students@unisa.edu.au



2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), 4-digit Fields of Research.



2018 ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment (EI), Combined Impact – Approach to Impact and Engagement on Assessed



2019 QS Stars Ratings



2020 THE Young University Rankings