Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Professor Kurt Lushington

Main Campus

Applications Close
05 Feb 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$29,863 p.a. available to domestic applicants only

About this project

Develop novel ways to measure sleepiness

If you’re keen to pursue a career in cognitive neuroscience and interested in advancing methods of measuring sleepiness, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within our UniSA Justice & Society Unit, in partnership with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Sleepiness is an increasing area of concern in medical and industrial settings, but it is also difficult to measure. Currently, we can only really ask for subjective ratings from subjects or use complicated behavioural methods to identify people at risk, for example, of accidents due to excessive sleepiness. 

This project seeks to validate a novel marker of brain activity as a neurobiologically informed measure of sleepiness.

You will be based in the Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Research hub (CSN-RH), which is a world-class laboratory facility at the Magill campus. You will benefit from its dedicated 270 m2 space housing five state­of­the­art electroencephalographic (EEG) systems The CSN-RH also contains other tools for neuroscientific investigation and capacities for behavioural testing of participants. 

You will also benefit from the broader research culture of the CSN-RH, which is highly dedicated to research training, and includes regular opportunities for instruction on topics such as data science and methods of EEG analysis and statistics.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will be responsible for designing and piloting the study, collecting and analysing data, and then publishing experimental studies related to the broader project. You will collect EEG data from human subjects and process this data using established protocols.

Upon completion of the research project, you will have developed the skills required to be an independent scientist working in the cognitive neuroscience field. You will also gain experience in data science, open science, academic writing and the software MNE-python and R. 

There will be opportunities for national and international science conference attendance and collaboration with other research laboratories and leading researchers.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based at UniSA Justice & Society Unit, which combines complementary disciplines that target areas of critical social need, including psychology, law, social work, human services, arts, and Aboriginal studies.

Our multidisciplinary research explores the connections between these areas, with a focus on transformative solutions. Our relationships with industry and government bodies lead to improved public policy, community development, and social and economic outcomes.  

Meaningful learning and engagement is fundamental to future success. UniSA students connect directly with members of the community through our Legal Advice and Psychology Clinics, applying critical thought and reasoning to genuine cases.  

Whether in the lab or in the field, UniSA Justice & Society is innovating for change, leading the way in analysis, communication and advocacy to target the rapidly evolving needs of the contemporary world.

Supervisory Team

  • Professor Kurt Lushington - Principal Supervisor
  • Dr Alex Chatburn - Co Supervisor
  • Dr. Declan Kennedy (Womens and Childrens hospital)

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $29,863 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $45,076 per annum. A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included.  For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to application from domestic applicants only. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria: 

  • Prospective applicants will need to provide a one-page research proposal of potential studies they would like to run under the umbrella of the overarching project.

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. The successful applicant is expected to study full-time, and to be based at our Magill Campus in the east of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on, Sunday 5 February 2023.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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