Cognitive Modelling Human Factors Issues in Future Work


This is an exciting opportunity for a talented PhD to join a strong research group working to apply computational cognitive modelling to address human factors issues in future work.

In safety-critical environments such as air traffic control (ATC) and unmanned vehicle control, operators must maintain high levels of task performance. Increasingly, operators in such contexts are supported by automated systems and decision aids. To support performance in safety-critical environments, it is important that we understand the biases people may have when adopting and working with automated technologies, and that we develop automated technologies which actually support human performance. Ultimately, this helps ensure that the anticipated benefits of new technological innovations are realised (Parker & Grote, 2020).

A promising approach to better understanding the psychological processes involved with interacting with automated systems is quantitative human performance modelling. This approach has a number of advantages, including providing theoretical insights, unifying interpretations of complex data, and predicting performance when human in-the-loop testing is not feasible (Byrne & Pew, 2009; Farrell & Lewandowsky, 2010).

The purpose of this research is to apply quantitative models and methods to better understand how people interact with automated systems, and identifying the situational factors that can influence task performance.

The project will include:
— Developing, designing and conducting experimental research using simulations of workplace tasks
— Collecting and analysing experimental data
— Working with a team to apply computational modelling and simulation to improve psychological insights

Project Lead(s)


Dr Michael Wilson


Dr Luke Strickland


Application process

If this project excites you, and your research skills and experience are a good fit for this specific project, you should email the project lead, expressing your interest (EOI) in this project.

Applications close 30 August.

Your EOI email should include:

  • your current curriculum vitae

  • a summary of your research skills and experience

  • the reason you are interested in this specific project.

Enrolment Requirements

Eligible to enrol in a Higher Degree by Research Course at Curtin University by March 2022

Scholarship Value

  • Total value of the annual scholarships (stipend and fees) is approx. $60,000 - $70,000 p.a. Curtin PhD Stipends are valued at $28,597 p.a. for up to a maximum of 3.5 years.

  • Successful applicants will receive a 100% Fee offset.

Testimonials from current students

"When I finished my Masters of IO, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do a PhD, or get out into the workplace to solve real problems.

One of the best aspects of doing a PhD at FOWI is that I can do both of these things at the same time. I receive great mentorship and guidance to develop my own research expertise, but I also get to conduct research that is impactful, multidisciplinary and collaborative.

For example, I’ve been involved in several industry and government collaborative projects. These opportunities have allowed me to apply my research skills in practical settings to solve real problems, and develop other skills through activities like industry presentations, running of workshops and research translation. This has made my PhD journey more meaningful, interesting and varied."

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Belinda Cham

"The Centre for Transformative Work Design is a place where work design is researched, understood and practiced. You can hardly ask for a better environment in which to learn and conduct research."

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Jia-xin Tay (Jay)