Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Thuc Le

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
09 Oct 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
No stipend available

Develop systems to improve employability of those with a disability 

About the project

If you are passionate about developing a career in computer science and keen to spark a change in the disability sector, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within the Industrial AI Research Centre, in partnership with the Maxima Group. 

Sustainable employment of people with a disability is a major challenge. In Australia, although the government has implemented the Disability Employment Services (DES) sector to provide employment assistance to job seekers with a disability, only 53.4% of people with a disability are employed. People with a disability are clearly under-represented in open employment and have longer periods of unemployment. 

Most job seekers with a disability seek assistance from employment consultants about which factors they should improve to increase their employment prospects. There are many options to consider, such as obtaining a diploma, improving communication skills, or simply getting a driver’s licence.  

Most of the current recommendation systems rely on traditional models, where the main goal is the desired outcome instead of the degree of outcome improvement. In this project, we develop causality-based approaches to analysis the challenges faced. Relevant factors are recommended to achieve the greatest improvement in employment potential, based on the effects of identified causal factors for each individual job seeker. 

Our project will develop methods and software tools for recommendations and their applications in employment services. We will then apply the proposed approaches to a case study of Australian job seekers with a disability. The models and the causal interpretability of the models will provide an empirical foundation for large-scale deployment in the Australian DES sector. 

You will join the Industrial AI research Centre, receiving supervision from a diverse team of researchers from different disciplines, including AI and data science. You will also spend time working directly with our industry partner, giving you valuable and in-demand, hands-on experience and expertise. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will work with world-class researchers with expertise in AI and data science, and you’ll work closely with our industry partner – Maxima Group. 

During the project you will carry quantitative data collection and analysis. You will develop methods and software tools for intervention recommendations and their applications in employment services. You will recommend factors for intervention to improve employment outcomes and propose an approach/model for large­scale deployments for the Australian DES sector. 

You may have the opportunity to present your research to both academia and industry, helping you build a sound professional reputation and network. You may have the opportunity to contribute to papers for academic and industry journals to disseminate findings and there may be opportunities for you to attend and present at conferences.  

Upon completion of the project, you will have a greater understanding of the how technology can assist the disability sector. You will be uniquely positioned to advance your unstoppable career with skills and knowledge in software engineering, artificial intelligence and data science. 

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the Industrial AI Research Centre. The Centre brings together experts from across computer sciences to develop solutions for autonomous and augmented intelligence systems. We are a part of the global revolution in artificial intelligence, machine learning, Industry 4.0 and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies.  

Our researchers work with organisations around the world to develop solutions that cater to their specific needs. We have worked with Siemens, BP Australia, Yokogawa Electric and more, growing these partnerships over time to continually design sophisticated AI-driven solutions.  Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. A fee offset for the standard term of the program is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. Additionally, any Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicant who holds an offer of admission without a living allowance will be eligible for the Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship. This scholarship is to the value of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). Any Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship recipient will also receive a fee waiver. Where an international applicant holds an external scholarship or sponsorship a full or partial fee waiver may apply in some circumstances for exceptional applicants.  Other international applicants will be required to pay full tuition fees of approximately $39,700 per annum (2023 rates).  

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD.  Additionally applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:

  • Strong programming skills 
  • Background in software engineering 
  • Experience in research

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 Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

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 Monday, 9th October.

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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