If you’re an undergraduate student or coursework masters 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.

Application closing date: 17 September 2021


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.

    Alyson Crozier  is interested in the areas of sport, exercise and health psychology. Examples of projects include exploring the impact of normative messaging on blood donations or physical activity, parental influences on youth athletes, and motivational interviewing on rural adults lifestyle behaviours (among others). There also are opportunities for students to work on developing a new research project in their area of interest.

    Beben Benyamin uses statistics applied to large-scale genomic and clinical data data to understand the genetic mechanisms underlying human complex traits and diseases. The students will have the opportunity to use statistical software to analyse big data in health.

    Brenton Hordacre His research program evaluates new technologies to enhance stroke recovery. Examples include non-invasive brain stimulation, rehabilitation robotics and virtual reality. Treatments that appear to improve recovery are then offered to the community through a technology rehabilitation clinic at UniSA. As part of this implementation of novel treatments, you continue to re-evaluate the patients experience and perspective of these rehabilitation technologies. 

    Felicity Braithwaite  The past decade has generated exciting advances in the use of virtual reality (VR) for the assessment and treatment of pain. Join researchers at the BodyinMind research group to assist in innovative research exploring the use of VR in people with pain to evaluate their spatial perception (perceived hill steepness) and to provide pain education through experiential learning. The successful applicant will join a dynamic research group and gain skills in VR development through collaborations with experts in pain and VR programming, as well as gain experience in novel data collection methods using VR. There will be potential for co-authorship on manuscripts that result from this work.

    Kate Gunn  is intrested in nderstanding and improving the mental health and wellbeing of farmers (with a particular focus on the management of distress and preparing psychologically to cope effectively with droughts and fires) - Identifying barriers to health and mental health related help-seeking in rural areas and what can be done about them - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy based online interventions - Prevention of suicide in rural areas - Improving health outcomes for rural people affected by cancer (via behaviour change) 

    Katrina Li  Her two keys areas of research interest are 1) on the epidemiology (e.g. the prevalence, causes, and risk factors) and impact of chronic lung conditions; 2) on teaching and learning practices that creates a supportive learning environment and enabling students to become life-long learners 

    Rose Boucaut  is interested in Occupational Health Physiotherapy practice across a range of industry sectors - spanning from health care to farming. I think a vacation scholarship student would find this area of physiotherapy interesting, my focus is on injury prevention, and a range of activities can be tailored to suit the student.


    Allied Health & Human Performance

    • How does physical activity and sleep change during weight loss? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: We have conducted a randomised control trial assessing two types of energy restricted diets to induce weight loss. We are interested in how physical activity and sleep changed as participants underwent weight loss, to understand whether there was a change in energy expenditure and how patterns of activity changed. A student working in this project will be part of a large team based in the ARENA Research Centre on the City East Campus working with data collected using accelerometry. This project would suit a student interested in activity patterns, energy expenditure or nutritional interventions. 

      Contact person: Prof Alison Coates


      Apply now

    • The physical activity patterns of Night shift workers minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Shift work is known to increase an individual’s risk of adverse health outcomes, with physical activity highlighted as one of the underlying factors. This project will use data collected from the SWIFT Trial, of which baseline assessment included tracking physical activity of night shift workers for 14 days. Aim: Identify and assess, through GeneActive watch data, physical activity trends in Night shift workers. This project will provide the student with an opportunity to increase their research & analysis skills, whilst also exposing them to a wider research project. 

      Contact person: Prof Alison Coates


      Apply now

    • Diet behaviours in vacation care minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The summer holidays have been identified as a period of accelerated weight gain due to physical inactivity, high screen time and poor diet. Children who attend vacation care have a structured environment for food and beverage consumption during the summer holidays (e.g. set menus and eating times). Building on the NHMRC funded “Life on Holidays” and MRFF funded “Out of School Hours Care” projects, we will be the first to describe the food and beverages served in vacation care services in Australia. The student will collect vacation care menus and conduct lunchbox audits for 20 services to determine if vacation care menus are complying with the Rite Bite strategy and Food and Drink Guidelines for Out of School Hours Care.

      Contact person: Amanda Watson

      Apply now

    • Activity behaviours in vacation care minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The summer holidays have been identified as a period of accelerated weight gain due to physical inactivity, high screen time and poor diet. Children who attend vacation care have a structured environment for physical activity and limited screen time during the summer holidays. Building on the NHMRC funded “Life on Holidays” and MRFF funded “Out of School Hours Care” projects, we will be the first to describe physical activity and screen time programming in vacation care services in Australia. The student will collect schedules and interview service directors regarding their physical activity and screen time programming from 20 services to determine if services are meeting the physical activity and screen time guidelines for vacation care.

      Contact person: Dr Amanda Watson


      Apply now

    • Consumer co-teaching in occupational therapy minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: accreditation standards and teaching innovation ask for more authentic consumer participation in curricula. This project will explore literature and interview expert consumers to determine best practice opportunities for the OT program.

      Contact person: Dr Angela Berndt


      Apply no

    • Building your best day for dementia prevention minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: How we use our time (sleep, physical activity and sitting) and what we eat can either increase or decrease our own future dementia risk. This project will involve working with a larger nationally funded research team who are identifying the best days and best diets for dementia prevention. The scholar will have the opportunity to conduct clinical research, run cognitive assessments and be involved in neurophysiological studies (including brain imaging). You will be supported by a large team throughout the project.

      Contact person: Dr Ashleigh Smith


      Apply no

    • Patient experience of theraputic brain stimulation for stroke recovery minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Brain stimulation is a treatment to enhance recovery after stroke. In 2019 we ran a randomised controlled trial of home brain stimulation that demonstrated it led to greater improvements in upper limb motor function compared to a sham-control condition. As part of that study, we recorded interviews with the participants to gain insight to their experience with brain stimulation. This study will summarise participant feedback regarding this therapeutic treatment. The student who selects this project should have an interest in neurorehabilitation and stroke recovery.

      Contact person: Dr Brenton Hordacre


      Apply now

    • The Experience of Living with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive and degenerative neurological condition that requires personal and social adjustments to everyday life. This research aims to explore the adjustments made by younger people living with Parkinson's Disease. The student(s) may be involved in systematically searching the literature on this topic, analysing an existing qualitative data set, collecting new data and preparing a manuscript for publication. The student(s) needs to have an interest in the experience of people living with a neurological condition and in qualitative research. The student will work with Dr Carolyn Murray and Dr Amy Baker.

      Contact person: Carolyn Murray


      Apply now

    • Feasibility and Acceptability of Physiotherapy Student Led Telehealth Service minus-thick plus-thick


      Project sumary: This scholarship offers a student the opportunity to work with Dr E Ward, AProf S Kumar, Dr M McEvoy, Dr C Fryer and Dr J Walters developing research skills in thematic analysis of interviews which investigate the acceptability of student led physiotherapy telehealth clinics. Skills will also be developed in academic writing and manuscript preparation. UniSA Physiotherapy clinical placements adapted to the pandemic in 2020 with a model of placement where student, educator and client were in separate locations engaging in physiotherapy services via the Neorehab telehealth platform This research project investigated stakeholder perspectives of this service delivery and will provide recommendations for further student telehealth clinical education.

      Contact person: Dr Emily Ward


      Apply now

    • Optimising the Cyclotron Production of Copper radioisotopes for use in Personalize Medicine minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project aims to conduct critical evaluation of reported production routes of a select number of Copper isotopes and determine the ones best suited to be produced on the solid targetry beamline at MITRU. More specifically, the successful candidate will review the current literature and learn how to identify the best nuclear reaction routes and target thickness, as well as the best chemical methods for electroplating of target materials and separation to attain the highest yield and reliable supply of radioisotopes. The results will be summarised in a report with the aim to publish.

      Contact person: Prof Eva Bezak


      Apply now

    • The Impact of Covid-19 pandemic on biomedical workforce around world. Qualitative survey analysis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In order to understand the challenges medical physicists and biomedical engineers are facing while working from home, we have developed a questionnaire that was sent out to professionals from all continents, with a very good response rate (around 1000 responses were received both from both men (40%) and women 60%)). The survey also encompasses a large section with qualitative information, which needs to be further processed, analysed and published. The student will learn to work with Nvivo software to coda and analyze the data with the aim to publish the results.

      Contact person: Prof Eva Bezak


      Apply now

    • The use of the "Walking Assessment of Gait behaviours when walking dogS on lead (WAGS)" tool. A reliability study minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Australian’s love their dogs, making up 38% of all pets. One in five Australian’s are living with a disability, with the use of assistance dogs growing exponentially. While the health benefits of dog walking are clearly understood, little work has been done on the injury risk. Yet 26% of US hospitalisations resulting from human/animal interactions involved a pet on lead and it is plausible that dogs with different gait characteristics (e.g. speed, stride length, angle of walking) to their walker may unintentionally cause greater levels of injury. This study will assess if the WAGs tool, developed as a consensus of experienced dog trainers, can reliably be used to identify key gait characteristics.

      Contact person: Dr Helen Banwell


      Apply now


    • COVID-19 GWAS using UK Biobank data minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Individual genotypes can underly the susceptibility of viral infection such as COVID-19 while clinical and environmental conditions are also key risk factors. It is important to identify genetic variants that are associated with COVID-19 and its severity condition, which will help reveal the cause of the disease and the extent to which how the genetic risk is modulated by modifiable environmental risk factors. We have the genotypic and phenotypic information of samples participated in UK Biobank COVID-19 research. The student will carry out a genome-wide association study to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms that are associated with COVID-19 infections. A number of statistical tools will be used to interpret results with help from the supervisors. This work will help genetic study of COVID-19.

      Contact person: A/Prof Hong Lee

    • Simplifying medication use in residential aged care facilities minus-thick plus-thick


      Projetc summary: Project overview: People living in aged care facilities take multiple medicines and often have complicated medication schedules. We developed a new tool that pharmacists can use to simplify medications in aged care facilities. We then tested the tool in a randomised controlled trial in 8 South Australian aged care facilities and it was shown to be effective. Our new project that has two parts: we will trial the tool among GP’s and geriatricians to see if they can use it to simplify medications in aged care facilities. We will also look at whether accredited pharmacists are simplifying medications during their medication reviews (RMMRs) in aged care facilities. Students who work on this project will have the opportunity to analyse data, write up results, and contribute to a paper that will be submitted for publication. Project supervisor: Dr Janet Sluggett is a Senior Research Fellow with UniSA Allied Health and Human Performance. She is based at SAHMRI. Janet is a pharmacist with experience across a broad range of settings, including hospital pharmacy, medication reviews, transition care and aseptic compounding.

      Contact person: Dr Janet Sluggett


      Apply now



    • Stress, Burnout and Longevity in Physiotherapists minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Many individuals invest significant time and money to study and become registered physiotherapists, only to leave the profession after a few years of practice. The aim of this study is to review the literature on physiotherapy burnout, to identify contributing factors and early warning signs. Understanding the contributions to burnout could assist with curriculum planning for current students and career advice for prospective students, reducing rates of workforce attrition.

      Contact person: Dr Julie Walters


      Apply now

    • Transgender and Intersex perspectives of UniSA Health Clinics minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The LGBTQI+ community experiences significantly poorer access to, and quality of, health care in Australia. Transgender and intersex individuals face unique challenges due to the intimate nature of physiotherapy encounters, where patients are asked to disclose personal information and often to expose their body. This reality could present a significant barrier to transgender and intersex individuals even considering physiotherapy treatment. The aim of this project is to examine Transgender and Intersex perspectives of current UniSA Health clinics as a measure of their cultural safety. Participants will be asked to describe features of health care spaces and interactions that lead to positive or negative experiences. 

      Contact person: D Jule Walters


      Apply now

    • Butt out: A review into what smokers’ think of quit smoking resources minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Our existing qualitative research data from Aboriginal South Australians details their thoughts on the quit smoking services and resources they’ve received. Trained research staff will guide a student to apply the ‘Theoretical Domains Framework’ and the ‘Theoretical Framework of acceptability’ to this data. Using the results of their analysis, the student will drive the drafting and submission of two peer-reviewed publications. This work will provide a student with primary authorship on two publications that cover fields including; Health Promotion, Public Health, Aboriginal Health, and Smoking Cessation, as well as helping to develop their qualitative analysis skills.

      Contact person: A/Prof Kristin Carson-Chahhoud


      Apply now

    • Risk factors that cause lower extremity amputations in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: understanding the patient’s perspective minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Lower extremity amputations (LEA) are a common complication of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This collaborative project between researchers at UniSA and clinicians at the Royal Adelaide Hospital has collected patient perspectives of risk factors that contribute to lower extremity amputation as a result of complications from type 2 diabetes mellitus. Under the mentorship and supervision of researchers and clinicians, the student will analyse and report on the qualitative data which will result in a manuscript, providing an opportunity for the student to be a co-author.

      Contact person: Kristin Graham


      Apply n

    • Early mobility in intensive care: current practice and clinicians perspective minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There in increasing evidence which indicates that early mobilisation in intensive care can result in a number of positive outcomes for patients. This collaborative project between UniSA researchers and clinicians from the Flinders Medical Unit brings together quantitative and qualitative research on current practice trends and clinicians’ perspective of early mobility in intensive care. The student will be supported and mentored by researchers at UniSA during which the student will analyse and report on qualitative research findings from this project in the form of a manuscript, resulting in a co-authorship. 

      Contact person: Kylie Johnston


      Apply now

    • Effective use of screening tools in musculoskeletal practice minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Why some people develop persistent pain, while others do not, is unknown. Screening tools can assist clinicians to identify patients at risk of persistent pain but are underutilised in clinical practice. This project will explore screening tool usage in the musculoskeletal practice setting and aims to provide recommendations on effective screening tool use. 

      Contact person: Mark Catley


      Apply now

    • Can a simple thumb splint improve thumb function in people with arthritis? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Arthritis in the base of the thumb (carpometacarpal joint) occurs in 8-12% of people. It can cause pain and difficulty in gripping and pinching, resulting in weakening of the hand which is often disabling in work, self-care and recreational activities. There is evidence that splinting can reduce the pain felt in the base of the thumb and can improve hand function, but the mechanism, or the efficacy of each type of splint is unknown. A new and simple thumb brace called the Push CMC brace may allow patients to use their thumb without pain by helping to keep the joint aligned. Ethical committee approval has been granted and the splints have been purchased.Let’s test this out with people who have a sore thumb!

      Contact person: Nicola Massy-Westropp


      Apply now

    • What is the best cleaning agent for wickerhamomyces anomalus, in an anatomy laboratory ? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: People donate their bodies to science for research and teaching, for benefits to society that they will never receive. UniSA receive these bodies from the SA Body Donor Programme, after they have been fully embalmed in a solution containing formaldehyde amongst other chemicals, to prevent the growth of microorganisms and allow them to be used for months, even years in a cool (16 degree) environment. The bodies are carefully dissected to remove skin and fat, so to show structures like nerves, muscles and organs thus creating prosection for teaching purposes. Despite cleaning and disinfecting, yeast organisms have still lain dormant and even flourished on prosections at UniSA and in other anatomy laboratories. Wickerhamomyces anomalus is one such yeast, which tolerates extreme pH and temperature conditions, and will create an unsightly, smelling film within the convoluted surfaces of a prosection. W. anomalus is easily killed once growing or even while dormant on hard surfaces but how to defeat it once it is on a prosection is not yet known. Processes, chemicals and a supportive supervisory team await an interested and willing researcher. 

      Contact person: Nicola Massy-Westropp


      Apply now

    • Exploring what university students identify as building their health and wellbeing minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In the latter half of 2020 myself and my colleague (Dr Janette Young) collected data from university students about what supported them to be healthy during the first half of 2020 (i.e. the Covid-19 lockdown) There is an opportunity for a vacation student to help us with a variety of tasks, including (but not limited to) qualitative data analysis, literature searching as well as developing a journal paper. The vacation student can also be involved in conducting comparative data analysis of findings from previously collected data and 2020 data. Involvement in this project would provide a student with the opportunity to further develop their research skills as well as provide valuable assistance with an ongoing, longitudinal research project Involvement in the study will include supervision and training.

      Contact person: Richard McGrath


      Apply now

    • Inertia measurement units to assess ACL injury risk minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project focuses on the use of inertia measurement units (IMUs) to assess the reliability of the running vertical jump/land and change of direction tests used to assess ACL injury risk. Participant testing has already occurred, and data analysis is the next step. This vacation research scholarship will involve you reviewing the data and setting up data analysis steps to interpret the IMU data.

      Contact person: Robert Crowther


      Apply now

    • International Occupational Health Physiotherapy activities minus-thick plus-thick


      Projetc summary: Recent research has compared occupational health physiotherapy (OHP) practices in Australia and Japan. This project will involve gathering publicly available data about OHP practices in different countries and analysing that information; eg occupational health and safety legislation, national unemployment figures, physiotherapy training and scope of practice. The International Federation of Physical Therapists working in Occupational Health and Ergonomics (IFPTOHE), a subgroup of World Physiotherapy, has member organisations from 23 countries. Understanding factors that influence OHP practice in those countries would be valuable for IFPTOHE to fathom, to help tailor resources and improve standards of practice in different regions of the world. Further, this will lead to a conference poster-presentation and possibly a research manuscript.

      Contact person: Dr Rose Boucaut


      Apply now

    • Systematic review of pharmacological pain management of older people in nursing homes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care has identified numerous issues associated with the quality and safety of aged care services in Australia. This project aims to address one such important issue plaguing the aged care sector – pharmacological management of pain for older people. This collaborative project between researchers at UniSA and Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA), based at SAHMRI, aims to provide research evidence on the use of medications in the management of pain for older people. Students will be mentored and supported by experienced and passionate researchers in this field and the outcome from this research will contribute to improving the quality and safety of aged care services in Australia.

      Contact person:A/Prof Saravana Kumar


      Apply now

    • Exploring links between the pain system and the motor system in people with knee osteoarthritis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Movement and pain are often tightly linked – it hurts to move the painful body part. Despite this, little is known about how the pain system and the motor system interact. This project involves collaboration between pain and motor experts at UniSA and the University of Adelaide to explore the links between motor system function, tested using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and pain system function, tested using specialised protocols, in people with painful knee osteoarthritis. The successful applicant will gain experience and technical skills in TMS and pain evaluation in a clinical population, with potential for co-authorship on manuscripts resulting from the work. 

      Contact person: A/Prof Tasha Stanton


      Apply now


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


    • Generalizing consumer behaviour differences by age. Extending and replicating Professor Mark Uncles’ research(Uncles & Ehrenberg 1990; Uncles & Lee 2006) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There are three critical studies examining the relationship between consumer age, and category/brand buying behaviour. Uncles and Ehrenberg (1990) finds that younger households buy slightly more brands than older households (3.2 vs 2.7). However, older households buy from those categories slightly less often, and have smaller households –accounting for the small difference. Expanding the research to brand performance measures Uncles and Lee (2006) finds minimal differences in category buying behaviour, but at a brand level, sole loyalty is higher for the older consumers, and the Double Jeopardy pattern exists for each age group. Replication in Japan by Singh et al. (2012) also finds minor differences in category buying and the DJ pattern across age groups. 

      But these studies are limited. First, the research is within the UK (Uncles & Ehrenberg 1990), Australia (Uncles & Lee 2006), and Japan (Singh et al. 2012). Second, the data collection is as early as the mid 1980s (Uncles & Ehrenberg 1990), and most recently occurring nine years ago (Singh et al. 2012; Uncles & Lee 2006). Third, while one study uses observed panel data (Uncles & Ehrenberg 1990), the extension research uses future purchases probabilities (Singh et al. 2012; Uncles & Lee 2006). Forth, the sample sizes are small – ranging from 200 to 6,000 respondents (Singh et al. 2012; Uncles & Ehrenberg 1990; Uncles & Lee 2006). Fifth, research analyses few categories (between four and seven) (Singh et al. 2012; Uncles & Ehrenberg 1990; Uncles & Lee 2006). Sixth, researchers using intercept method only analyzing the buying behavior of the five largest brands (Singh et al. 2012; Uncles & Lee 2006). Last, and the biggest issue is the age groupings. Uncles and Ehrenberg (1990) using a binary approach (above or below 55), the other two studies use just three groups (under 40, 40-59, and 60-74) (Singh et al. 2012; Uncles & Lee 2006). Therefore, this research can then address the following research questions:

      RQ1: Are there difference in product category purchasing behaviour between younger and older buyers?

      RQ2: Which, if any categories do younger buyers have larger repertoire sizes than older consumer?

      RQ3: How accurately does the Double Jeopardy pattern display age-based consumer behaviour?

      RQ4: What affect does age have on the negative binomial distribution curve?

      RQ5: Does customer sharing differ when examining age groups?

      Contact person: Dr Zachary Anesbury


      Apply now

    • Analysing how online subscription television (e.g., Netflix) is consumed, Extending and replicating (Ehrenberg & Bound 1993; Winchester & Lees 2013) minus-thick plus-thick

      Project summary : Analysing how online subscription television (e.g., Netflix) is consumed, Extending and replicating (Ehrenberg & Bound 1993;  Winchester & Lees 2013).

      Steamed Video of Demand (SVoD) such as Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix is growing - in 2017 just over half of all households were accessing the service, by 2023 three quarters of all households will be steaming video content into their homes (Statista, 2020). 

      There is currently no empirical evidence as to whether the Laws of Growth apply to subscription television. To date, the extent of the knowledge is Double Jeopardy for newspaper {Ehrenberg, 1990 #1676}, Duplication of Purchase for radio stations {Lees, 2013 #21928}, and both DJ and DoP for websites {Corkindale, 2013 #29963}. While those are all media, there is some research on these patterns for non-media, but also non-FMCG areas including gambling {Hand, 2014 #32603}, leisure activities {Scriven, 2014 #26239}, and physical activity {Wilson, 2019 #85594}.  But to date, there is no examination of any NBD-Dirichlet consumer buying behaviour for subscription television. Therefore, this research can then address the following research questions:

      RQ1: What are the differences in how linear television and streaming television is consumed?

      RQ2: What is the repertoire size of SVoD?

      RQ3: Are consumers behaviourally loyal towards SVoD providers, as expected?

      RQ4: Does the NBD apply for SVoD?

      RQ5: To what extent does linear television share an audience with SVoD? To what extend does SVoD providers share an audience?

      Contact person: Dr Zachary Anesbury


      Apply now

    • How are retailers competing (i.e., supermarkets, department stores) in an online world? Extending and replicating (Goodhardt, 1984; Keng, 1984) minus-thick plus-thick

      Project summary: With an increase in online supermarket shopping, which has been accelerated with Covid-19 restricting consumers to their homes, now is the opportune time to examine the buying behaviour in the online retailing world.

      There is an abundance of previous research examining how shoppers purchase from traditional bricks and mortar supermarkets. The Double Jeopardy pattern has been examined for supermarkets and retailers {Wright, 2002 #12901;Bhat, 1996 #4270}, and the Duplication of Purchase pattern has been examined for supermarkets {Uncles, 2009 #17954;Uncles, 1995 #4337} and retailers {Keng, 1984 #662;Goodhardt, 1984 #2446;Sharp, 1997 #4025;Brewis-Levie, 2000 #7166} and other varieties of stores {Uncles, 2008 #24084;Uncles, 2009 #17954;Sharp, 1997 #4025}. The same patterns have been examined in alternative types of stores such as fuel {Sharp, 1997 #4025}Bennett, 2000 #6950}, fast food {Bennett, 2001 #7150}. But no research has examined if these patterns are present for online retailers. Therefore, this research can then address the following research questions:

      RQ1: What is the distribution of online grocery and department store shopping?
      RQ2: Are consumers predictably loyal to online grocery and department stores?
      RQ3: Are shoppers polygamously loyal to online grocery and department stores?
      RQ4: To what extent does online grocery and department stores share customers, and do they share customers with in store equivalents?

      Contact person: Dr Zachary Anesbury


      Apply now

    • Purpose-led organisations: Do internal and external stakeholders care? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Consumers often report a willingness to support socially and environmentally responsible products, but this is not always reflected in their actual buying behaviours. There is a parallel issue within the organizational boundaries. Young entrants to the labour force are described as value-driven, and caring about employers’ diversity/environment stance, but there are conflicting findings about how far employees values take them (how much salary would employees sacrifice to work for a socially responsible organisation)?

      It is likely that recent shifts in societal expectations (e.g., #Metoo, climate strikes) may have made consumers and employees more aware of the purpose led organisations’ commitment to social and environmental issues.

      In this project the vacation scholar will work with an established research team from the Centre for Workplace Excellence (CWeX) to investigate whether these shifts in societal expectations are leading consumers and employees to consider social and environmental issues in their buying behaviours and employment decisions.

      The vacation scholar will have an opportunity to be trained in doing research interviews, focus groups, and non-participant observations. The student will also be trained to analyse qualitative data.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Sukhbir Sandhu and Prof. Carol Kulik


      Apply now

    • Give me break: Exploring non-work factors on employee well-being and job performance minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Australians are among those who work longer hours, take less holidays and report an increasing level of workplace incidents with burnout and mental illness, compared to people in most other OECD countries. Recognising employees as whole human beings with various work-life boundary spanning roles, extant literature on work-family conflict have consistently pointed to the needs to examine non-work factors that could explain missing variance of impacts of work-related factors (e.g. job satisfaction, person-organisation fit, engagement, job stressors) on employee wellbeing and job performance.

      The vacation scholar will help explore the impacts of non-work factors (e.g., length and frequency of taking break; quality of relationships; childbearing and caring responsibilities etc.) on employee wellbeing and job performance. The findings will serve to inform policy changes for the Australian Federal and States’ leave registrations (e.g. Annual Holiday Act 1944) and for workplace policy and practice on employees’ taking break.

      The vacation scholar will have an opportunity to be trained in conducting relevant literature review, navigating various databases, and analysing quantitative data.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Connie Zheng 


      Apply now

    • How can social enterprises promote inclusive participation in sport? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will evaluate the physical and social outcomes for young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds (aged 16-25) participating in a multicultural sports program.

      Australian studies have shown that young people (13-25 years) from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds desire social connections with people from their own and other backgrounds in the pursuit of a sense of belonging in their settlement country. Participation in sport has the potential increase social connectedness of recent young migrants in their settlement country. Formal sport in Australia can be exclusive and expensive, with club fees and discrimination making club involvement inaccessible for many young migrants

      This project will evaluate a multicultural sports program that is operated by a social enterprise (One Culture Football).  Project findings will provide information to program managers that will assist them to enhance their inclusive sports programs, including  ways to enable participation in mainstream clubs.

      The student/s will learn the following research skills:

      • partnering with industry to conduct research (week 1)
      • developing and administering a survey tool (weeks 1-2)
      • facilitating a focus group (week 2)
      • qualitative and quantitative data analysis (weeks 3-6)
      • writing up findings in an industry report (weeks 7-8)

      NB: the supervising researchers will obtain ethics approval before scholarship commencement; training in week 1 will include a session on research ethics.

      Contact person: Dr Catherine Mackenzie and Dr Veronica Coram


      Apply now


    • Older people’s attitudes towards inheritance and implications for economic inequality. minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Little is known about whether people currently in their sixties and seventies expect or aspire to leave bequests, who the recipients are likely to be, and the factors motivating their bequest decisions. It is likely that the transfer of wealth from the Baby Boomers to younger generations will benefit only a small proportion of the mid-life population, exacerbating wealth concentration and inequality. This project investigates older people’s attitudes towards leaving bequests and the extent to which these attitudes reflect changing social norms around consumption, individualism, and obligations toward others.

      This project builds on prior work undertaken by the CI which investigated the attitudes of different age groups towards inheritance and intergenerational transfers. The findings were surprising in that they revealed a substantial decline in older people’s intention to leave a bequest and young people’s expectation that they would receive one. The research also found that attitudes towards inheritance taxation were more positive than is assumed to be the case. The results were published in the Australian Journal of Political Science and generated substantial interest from media and policy thinktanks.

      The proposed project investigates the bequest intentions and motivations of 60 to 75-year-olds in more detail. It will involve a review of relevant prior research in Australia and overseas and qualitative data collection via in-depth interviews with 25 participants. The Vacation Scholar will have the opportunity to participate at all stages of the project, including:
      • Contributing to the review of prior research.
      • Participant recruitment.
      • Data collection.
      • Data analysis.
      • Writing up results, including for potential publication in a peer reviewed journal (with co-authorship credit).

      This project would be of most relevance to students with an interest in political science, public policy, sociology, psychology, economics, law, or qualitative research methods. Because it is a small-scale project, it offers the Vacation Scholar the opportunity to be involved across the entirety of the research process, and to work closely with the CI and receive intensive mentoring.

      Contact person: Dr Veronica Coram


      Apply now

    • South Australia’s Drinking Water: Understanding Customer’s Preferences in Regional Communities minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There is little doubt that SA Water has a scientifically grounded understanding of what constitutes ‘better water supplies’ in terms of those best suited to (a) meet human health standards and (b) pass global aesthetic benchmarks. But currently there is limited reference to local customers’ preferences or buy-in from them to justify any expenditure on infrastructure upgrades.

      Against this background, this student project sits within a broader project that aims to increase our understanding of customers’ taste preferences in regional and metropolitan South Australia.

      The student project involves assistance with recruiting and liaising with participants for taste testing experiments managed by the broader project team. It will also involve assisting with reviewing the survey instruments, conducting the taste experiments and the opportunity to review the taste testing data.

      Contact person: Dr Bethany Cooper


      Apply now


    • Corporate social responsibility has often been linked to corporate efforts to maintain legitimacy and to ‘greenwash’. A key issue has been how committed corporations are to the CSR activities that they undertake (and report on). This project explores changes in corporate philanthropy before, during and after the COVID crisis. minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Corporate social responsibility has often been linked to corporate efforts to maintain legitimacy and to ‘greenwash’. A key issue has been how committed corporations are to the CSR activities that they undertake (and report on). This project explores changes in corporate philanthropy before, during and after the COVID crisis.

      The present health and financial crisis will be a significant test to understand the depth and commitment to the CSR and sustainability initiatives that corporations undertake. Corporate giving is a window into how willing companies are to continue to engage with CSR despite the significant financial pressure they are under. This research will provide insight into how corporate giving practice changes (or does not) during times of crisis and how contextual influences in different countries may impact corporate behaviour.

      A comparative analysis of the corporate disclosure of the top 20 companies in three developed versus developing countries will be analysed. The six countries of the study will be chosen to represent the highest scoring countries using the Corporate Giving Index. This will enable an exploration of contextual variations in philanthropy and CSR activities between countries using content analysis (textual and visual) of corporate external reporting including company websites.

      The target years of the study will be 2019, 2020 and 2021. The Vacation Research Scholar will collect annual reports for the top 20 companies in each country for the period and relevant corporate website data. This will be entered into NVivo with the guidance of the lead researcher. They will then undertake basic content analysis with the guidance of the research team.
      across the entirety of the research process, and to work closely with the CI and receive intensive mentoring.

      Contact person: Dr. Dinithi Dissanayake


      Apply now

    • Juukan Gorge Cave Blast – The use of disclosure strategies to manage reputation crisis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There is an inherent contradiction between mining, sustainability, and Indigenous communities. Australian mining companies consider local Aboriginal communities as a marginalized stakeholder group and have not fully acknowledge Aboriginal cultural values and customs (Kaur & Qian, 2020). The destruction of Juukan Gorge Cave, a 46,000-year-old rock shelter of enormous Aboriginal significance, by Rio Tinto has yet again drawn national and international attention towards social accountability of mining companies. This incident has adversely affected the Rio Tinto’s corporate image and reputation and has resulted in the suspension of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program.

      Since this incident, the company has undertaken a number of measures to restore its corporate image. Along with implementing immediate corrective measures, communication of sustainability performance enables organisations to manage stakeholder expectations and rebuild corporate image (Arora & Lodhia, 2017). Therefore, this study aims to investigate how different communication media are used to manage reputation crisis in the event of a major incident, using Rio Tinto as a case study.

      Data on sustainability disclosures will be collected from Rio Tinto’s website, sustainability reports and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) for the 2020 and 2021 periods. Thematic analysis will be applied to identify the risk and reputation management strategies (Arora & Lodhia, 2017) disclosed across different communication media.

      The findings of this studies will contribute to the existing understanding of effectiveness of different communication media and disclosure strategies in reducing reputation crisis, and thus these will be of interest to policymakers and practitioners.

      Contact person: Dr Amanpreet Kaur


      Apply now

    • Riding the wave: exploring the narratives of the not-for-profit sector in Australia during crisis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: It has been a tumultuous number of years for not-for-profits in Australia. Not-for-profits are one of the largest employers as a sector in the country. However, there are vociferous demands for greater accountability and oversight of these organisations.

      This project explores how the not-for-profit sector in Australia has responded to the Black Summer Bushfire and COVID crisis. Many charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were criticized for their slow response to Black Summer Bushfire relief. However, these same organisations were heavily relied on by government and communities as the COVID pandemic took hold across the nation and as lockdowns became a new reality of life.

      This research explores how two large not-for-profit organisations (Red Cross Australia and The Salvation Army Australia) have responded to crisis. The project will take a dialogic approach, juxtaposing the official organisational disclosure through external disclosure (e.g. annual reporting, official twitter accounts), with an analysis of news and social media as it relates to these organisations from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020.

      This will involve collecting and analysing the official external disclosure of the two organisations, searching UniSA library databases for all relevant media articles, and then analysing twitter and Facebook data.

      This project strongly aligns to the Centre of Markets, Values and Inclusion and its ‘Accountability and Governance’ research stream. It aligns with the ‘transforming societies’ UniSA research theme. Research into not-for-profits is an area of growth for CMVI, with the work done by TAASE. The lead researcher is an expert in NGO accountability and governance, and this project will contribute to their development.

      Contact person: Dr Sanjaya Kuruppu


      Apply now


    • Accounting for natural resources and technology use in global food systems minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project is concerned with water and other natural resources availability and the use of technology to account for it in food systems. A business as usual approach to managing and accounting for natural resource use in our food systems risks sending us into a worldwide food crisis by the latter part of this century. At the same time, food systems are one of the key drivers of climate change, and without rapid and dramatic transformation, they will accelerate our path to a climate crisis. 

      Such systems transformation requires improved understanding of natural resources use and how we can use technology to measure it to improve the efficacy of food systems. However, research in this space to date has left many gaps and had few actionable outcomes, often because it is inadequately informed by the ground-up needs of policy makers and communities most impacted.

      This project is part of a broader alliance with international universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California, International Food Policy Research Institute. The project involves assistance with reviewing existing research in this context, basic data analysis, and assisting with the development of the research agenda for the alliance.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Joanne Tingey-Holyoak


      Apply now

    • Deepening understandings of housing and support needs among people sleeping rough in inner Adelaide to improve service responses (Can be multiple projects) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The Adelaide Zero Project has been working to end homelessness in Adelaide’s inner city for the last 4 years. As a collective the project has several datasets that together provide wealth of information about the housing and support needs of people sleeping rough, as well as the socio-demographic characteristics of people sleeping rough. Limited capacities exist within the project to do the deep dives into the data that we need to understand people and how our support systems (homelessness, health, disability, aged care, other specialist services) can better meet their needs.

      The project would see the appropriate candidate(s) synthesise quantitative and qualitative project data on:

      • the socio-demographic characteristics of people sleeping rough;
      • the types of housing and support needs people have;
      • trends in particular needs/unmet needs over time;
      • complexity and acuity (intensity) of needs; and,
      • how system response can better meet the need of people seeking to move on from rough sleeping.

      The project will develop candidates’ data analysis, data presentation and synthesis skills.

      The successful vacation research scholarship candidate(s) would work on this data-focused activity under the supervision of Dr Selina Tually, The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise, UniSA Business, as well as Mr David Pearson, Chief Executive Officer, The Australian Alliance to End Homelessness and Ms Clare Rowley, SA Housing Authority. Tually and Pearson are nationally recognised experts in the end homelessness space. Rowley is the SA Housing Authority Innovation Partner associated with supporting the Adelaide Zero Project.
      Through Dr Tually, UniSA is a partner in the Adelaide Zero Project collaboration.

      Contact person: Dr Selina Tually


      Apply now

    • A forecasting model for Australian housing prices minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: This project will review the literature and data availability and will assemble a housing and apartment price dataset suitable for building an econometric (statistical) model of housing price growth rates. This will build on previous work by the supervisor, bringing both the literature and datasets up to date. The work would suit an established, research focused, student in economics or finance. It would appeal to students interested in housing markets, and in the application of predictive or forecasting methods and models.

      The project aligns well with the social enterprise and inclusion priority of the Centre for Markets, Values and Inclusion. In addition, it would contribute to the objective of growing the capacity and research footprint of the Property group within UniSA Business.

      Contact person: Prof. Chris Leishman


      Apply now

    • Inclusive benefit cost analysis for water projects in Northern Australia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There is a history of water resource developments like major dams and water allocation plans that don’t pass benefit cost analysis (BCA) tests, though many benefit some interests at a cost to others. Recent guidelines from the National Water Grid Authority (a major investor of public money in such projects) call for better practice in evaluation of new potential water projects.

      The project will be:  

      1) a review of best practice including accounting for past optimism bias, inclusive accounting for who wins (often narrow interests of single developers) and who loses (often environmental, public recreation and amenity, and municipal industrial water supply and the interests of Aboriginal people);   

      2) evaluation of several case studies of recent a proposed future developments in Northern Australia including recent irrigation developments in the Northern territory and proposed developments in Western Australia that apply BCA best practice.

      Contact person: Prof. Jeff Connor


      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.

    Dr Micah DJ Peters conducts research within the filed of Evidence synthesis (Rapid Reviews, Scoping Reviews, Systematic Reviews)
    Aged Care,Nursing Workforce, Gender and Sexually Diverse People, and COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2

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

    A/Prof Larisa Bobrovskaya conducts research within the filed of neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease and depression. A potential student will get involved in biochemical and histological analyses of animal and human tissues. 

    Clinical & Health Sciences

    • Characterisation of antimicrobial resistance in bacterial pathogens minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious challenges facing our society today. According to the World Health Organization, unless urgent action is taken, we are in danger to enter a post-antibiotic era where no treatment options would be available for infections caused by antimicrobial resistant pathogens. This project will focus on determining the antimicrobial resistance profiles in a subset of bacterial pathogens and on providing a preliminary characterisation of the mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Rietie Venter


      Apply now

    • Mechanisms of defective glucose counter regulation in type 1 diabetes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Hypoglycaemia is a major complication of insulin therapy in type 1 diabetes. Importantly, recurrent episodes of hypoglycaemia reduce the physiological defence against subsequent hypoglycaemia leading to increased risk of further hypoglycaemic episodes.  The mechanisms of this phenomenon are largely unknown. We aim to investigate the neurochemical mechanisms in the brain and adrenal gland contributing to this phenomenon in a preclinical model of type 1 diabetes.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Larisa Bobrovskaya


      Apply now

    • A long-acting intramuscular injection development and in-vitro release profile evaluation minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: A daily injection can be a troublesome problem for a patient to stay on schedule for long-term treatment. Consequently, a long-acting intramuscular injection can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.

      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 needs to be established. The challenge of this project is to simulate the in-vivo condition for the drug release assessment.

      Contact person: Prof. Sanjay Garg and Dr May Song


      Apply now

    • A chewable tablet development and evaluation minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: A chewable tablet formulation will be developed according to Quality Attribute Considerations for Chewable Tablets (Guidance for Industry, FDA, 2018). An ideal chewable tablet should be easy to chew with appropriate appearance, taste, size, thickness, and shape.  Hardness and dissolution are critical quality attributes for a chewable tablet. The following studies will be performed for the chewable tablet development:

      • Pharmaceutical excipients screen
      • Content uniformity
      • Weight variation
      • Color, surface, and overall appearance
      • Dissolution tests
      • Hardness test
      • Disintegration time test
      • Friability test

      Contact person: Prof. Sanjay Garg and Dr May Song


      Apply now

    • In-vitro evaluation of the potential of oils and polymers for extending drug release for the development of a long-acting drug delivery system minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Overall, poor medication adherence is a serious global issue that affects 50% of patients, which costs approximately $660 million and $77- $300 billion per year to the healthcare system in Australia and the USA, respectively. To overcome this challenge, there has been interested in developing a long-acting drug delivery system that gradually releases medication over a period of several days or weeks with a single application. It offers several potential benefits in comparison with conventional immediate-release agents, including significant improvement in safety, clinical therapeutic outcomes, and patient adherence by reducing the frequency of taking medication.

      In this project, we are planning to screen oils and polymers for their potential for extending the drug release of model drugs using in-vitro Franz-diffusion and/or dialysis bag release studies. The data will help in selecting the best ingredients in the development of a long-acting drug delivery system for achieving the desired release.

      Contact person: Prof. Sanjay Garg and Krishna Kathawala


      Apply now

    • Development of Fast Oral Dissolving Film of Sunshine Vitamin (High dose Vitamin D) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Nutraceuticals, such as Vit D, are fat-soluble vitamins required for maintaining skeletal and non-skeletal functions. Certain population groups such as the elderly in nursing homes, people who get limited exposure to the sun, people with darker skin, infants, and young kids less than 5years are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. There is a need for suitable Vitamin D products that can be utilized for supplementation in this age group. The use of oral film means no need for water, swallowing, or chewing which ultimately leads to better patient compliance.

      Hence, this present work involves the development and characterization of an oral film containing vitamin D. Using nanotechnology, a high dose of vitamin D will be loaded into the film and the optimized film will be characterized using different techniques. The film will be assayed for compatibility studies using FTIR and DSC, film thickness, weight uniformity, mechanical properties, disintegration time, surface pH and release studies.

      Contact person: Prof. Sanjay Garg and Dr Franklin Afinjuomo


      Apply now

    • Priorities for research in the field of quality use of medicines in people living with dementia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: In the past, health research questions have been mostly led by drug companies or researchers, with little involvement of clinicians and consumers. A team of researchers across Australia (led by the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre here at UniSA) are conducting a multi-stage research project to identify the top 10 unanswered questions about quality use of medicines (QUM) in people with dementia.

      QUM means using medicines safely and effectively to get the best possible health outcomes. It also means only using medicines when they are needed. People living with dementia represent the diverse adult health population, having multiple other medical conditions and from all socio-cultural backgrounds. There are many potential areas of research that could improve QUM for people with dementia.

      This project will be used to inform stakeholders, such as policy makers and advocacy groups, which research is most important and ensure that outcomes of research are directly relevant to the care of people living with dementia. This will lead to improving how medicines are used which in turn will improve health outcomes in people living with dementia.

      In this summer research project, you will explore how the priorities of different types of stakeholders, such as consumers, clinicians and researchers differ. You will use existing data from the above-described project as well as from another project which determined researcher priorities. You will be supported to use robust methods of quantitative analysis and prepare a summary of the findings. There is flexibility in this project depending on the interests of the student, such as focusing on pharmacists or nurses, or examining priorities across disciplines.

      You will be supported by experienced researchers and Early Career Researchers within the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC). QUMPRC is a consumer-driven, data-informed research centre, known for conducting research studies and interventions that are effective in improving the use of medicines and improving patient lives.

      Our large research centre is home to a team of multidisciplinary researchers with expertise in pharmacy, medicine, psychology, implementation science and behaviour change research, biostatistics and pharmacoepidemiology. We have a large cohort of higher degree by research students in the centre, providing a supportive environment for new research students.

      Contact person: Dr Emily Reeve


      Apply now

    • Medication related problems in adults with autism spectrum disorder minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary:  Research conducted in the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre in 2017 highlighted that adults with autism spectrum disorder often use medicines – on average two medicines per person, and up to four regular medicines per person. Psychotropic medicines (e.g. antipsychotics, sedatives, antidepressants) were the most frequently used medicine types, and these medicines are also associated with a number of potential side effects and medication related problems. However, no Australian studies have quantified the extent of medication related problems in adults with autism spectrum disorder.

      In this research project, you will address this research-practice gap using de-identified data collected from mental health care plan records of a large number of adults with ASD. You will use validated methods to identify medication related problems in Australian adults with autism spectrum disorder. You will use validated tools, including the drug burden index, anticholinergic scales and sedative scales to calculate the burden of psychotropic medicines in this population.

      You will be supported by experienced researchers and Early Career Researchers within the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC). QUMPRC is a consumer-driven, data-informed research centre, known for conducting research studies and interventions that are effective in improving the use of medicines and improving patient lives.

      Our large research centre is home to a team of multidisciplinary researchers with expertise in pharmacy, medicine, psychology, implementation science and behaviour change research, biostatistics and pharmacoepidemiology. We have a large cohort of higher degree by research students in the centre, providing a supportive environment for new research students.

      Contact person: Dr Lisa Kalisch Ellett


      Apply now

    • Digital technologies to detect and report adverse drug reactions minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a recognised potentially preventable medication-related harm by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, only about 5% of all ADRs experienced by patients are reported to regulatory authorities, which means only about one in twenty ADRs experienced were reported. Modern technology has the potential to address gaps in ADR detection and reporting.

      In this research project, you will conduct a literature review and an environmental scan of websites to identify a range of portable digital technologies available to detect and report ADRs, summarizing their various characteristics and validity. You will learn how to conduct a literature search and an environmental scan, how to critically appraise the literature and results from the environmental scan, how to extract relevant information needed to answer the research question, and how to evaluate the validity and reliability of the digital technologies. You will be involved in writing a scientific paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal and included as a co-author.

      You will be supported by researchers within the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC). QUMPRC is a consumer-driven, data-informed research centre, known for conducting research studies and interventions that are effective in improving the use of medicines and improving patient lives. Our large research centre is home to a team of multidisciplinary researchers with expertise in pharmacy, medicine, psychology, implementation science and behaviour change research, biostatistics and pharmacoepidemiology. We have a large cohort of higher degree by research students in the centre, providing a supportive environment for new research students.

      Contact person: Dr Renly Lim


      Apply now


    • Impact of APOE polymorphism on advanced glycation end product levels minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: After the discovery of the APOE gene and knowledge of its genetic variants, several studies have demonstrated the association between the APOE polymorphisms and chronic conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, age-related cognitive decline, osteoporosis, breast cancer, end-stage renal disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, coronary disease and longevity.

      The APOE gene, located on chromosome 19, is composed by three alleles (ε2, ε3 and ε4) that give rise to six different genotypes (ε2/2, ε2/3, ε2/4, ε3/3, ε3/4, and ε4/4). The ε3 allele differs from the ε2 allele by an amino acid substitution of arginine for cysteine at codon 158, while the ε4 differs from ε3 by a substitution of additional arginine for cysteine at residue 112.

      APOE is highly susceptible to glycation, with ε4 showing a three-fold greater AGE binding activity than ε3. This suggests that glycation of ε4 may be an early step in the Alzheimer’s cascade and that an increased affinity of ε4 and AGEs may be a significant contributor to increased risk of AD. We have previously shown ε4 carriers have greater propensity to glycation in South Australian populations.
      Students can choose to focus on either of the aims:

      • Aim 1: to investigate the impact of APOE alleles in the formation of arginine related advanced glycation end-products using invitro models.
      • Aim 2: to analyze related dicarbonyls and arginine related advanced glycation end-products in plasma collected from a previous study.

      Contact person: Dr Permal Deo


      Apply now

    • Comparative evaluation of the structure and function of circulating extracellular vesicles and platelets minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Extra cellular vesicles have biological similarities with platelets but are not well studied. The study will characterize and compare the ultra-structural composition of extra cellular vesicles with platelets by electron microscopy after isolation from healthy donor blood. Imaging techniques, including confocal microscopy, will also be used to determine the presence of relevant biomarkers to provide functional information.

      The project aims to gain a better understanding of the biological roles of extra cellular vesicles and platelets with potential application in the study of cancer.

      Contact person: Dr Brian Dale


      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.

      Contact person: Dr. 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.

      Contact person: Dr. Anton Blencowe


      Apply now

    • Thermoresponsive hydrogels for the delivery of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: While adoptive cell therapies, such as engineered immune cells are highly effective for the treatment of bloodborne cancers, their efficacy for the treatment of solid tumours has been limited in part due to difficulties in achieving high doses of the immune cells at the target site.

      A promising solution is the application of a delivery system that anchors the immune cells at the target site and provides a sustained release profile. Therefore, in this study the aim is to develop injectable hydrogel systems that gel in situ and provides a sustained release of T-cells through gradual degradation of the hydrogel matrix. 

      Contact person: Dr. 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. 

      Contact person: Dr. 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. 

      Contact person: Dr. 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: Dr. Anton Blencowe


      Apply now

    • Understanding how GATA2 mutations cause human lymphatic vascular disease minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Lymphatic vessels are an integral component of our cardiovascular system and play important roles in tissue fluid balance, immunity and lipid metabolism. We recently discovered that mutations in the transcription factor GATA2 cause Emberger syndrome, features of which include lymphoedema and acute myeloid leukaemia.

      We demonstrated that GATA2 mutations cause lymphoedema as a result of a crucial role for GATA2 in building lymphatic vessel valves, which like heart valves, ensure that fluid is transported effectively through our bodies.

      We are now investigating how GATA2 controls the process of valve development. This project will employ state of the art cell, molecular and developmental biology techniques to map and characterize the role of novel GATA2 regulated genes in the construction of lymphatic vessel valves.

      Contact person: Prof. Natasha Harvey


      Apply now

    • The Experiences of People with Chronic Kidney Disease Starting Dialysis minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: People experiencing end stage kidney disease require dialysis to maintain life. At the commencement of the dialysis journey, people feel that they are not prepared for dialysis and lack education about dialysis, however, often feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. There is scant research exploring people’s experience during the first few weeks of starting dialysis.

      A current study being undertaken by the supervising academic (Bennett) is exploring the experiences of people with chronic kidney disease starting dialysis. Using a phenomenological approach people in their first month of dialysis will participate in semi-structured interviews. Up to 30 people (over 18, in their first month of dialysis, able to understand English) will be invited to participate.

      The summer scholarship will consist of the following:
      • Mentorship and training in qualitative methodologies
      • Mentorship and training in coding and thematic analysis
      • Undertaking coding and thematic analysis

      Contact person: A/Prof Paul Bennett


      Apply now

    • Improving dosing strategies for better prostate cancer patient outcomes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Abiraterone acetate is a first-line prostate cancer drug, whose oral pharmacokinetics are heavily influenced by the co-administration of food and is associated with patient compliance challenges. This project involves using pharmacological principles to develop improved dosing strategies for abiraterone acetate to achieve better patient outcomes.

      The student will work at the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre at UniSA City East, where they will review the literature surrounding the pharmacokinetics of abiraterone acetate, learn how to use R (industry standard programming software), use R to simulate the current dosing regimen for abiraterone acetate and then explore how we can improve the dosing regimen by modifying dose, food intake and timing.

      This project is ideal for a pharmacy or pharmaceutical science student with a passion for applied pharmacokinetics and an interest in gaining industry standard skills.

      Contact person: Dr Hayley Schultz  and Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange 


      Apply now

    • Improving the therapeutic use of vancomycin in paediatric patients 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 paediatric population remains largely empirical.

      This project will be conducted in collaboration with the Pharmacy Department, Women’s and Children’s Hospital and will involve the review of vancomycin management in paediatric patients. 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.

      The project aligns with the UniSA research priority “Healthy Futures”, investigating improved dosing regimens for paediatric patients to improve their health outcomes.

      Contact person: Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange


      Apply now

    • Sensors for metabolic activity minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Altered metabolism is a hallmark of many diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even bacterial infection! If we can detect changes in metabolic health in cells in real time and non-invasively, we can fast track diagnosis and quickly intervene therapeutically.

      This project will employ organic synthetic methods to develop sensors for key metabolic indicators e.g pH, reactive oxygen species and REDOX. Students will become fluent in all aspects of organic chemistry (setting up reactions, characterization using NMR, mass spectrometry, HPLC and purification methods).

      Contact person: A/Prof. Sally Plush


      Apply now

    • Impact of maternal undernutrition on fetal cardiac development minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Human studies show that babies who are born small because of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy, in adult life. However, we do not yet understand the molecular basis of this association and therefore we are limited in our capacity to implement effective intervention strategies.

      One factor that may cause IUGR and the programmed risk of cardiovascular disease is maternal undernutrition. Here, the developing fetus does not receive enough nutrients from the mother. This project will use both a well-established sheep model as well as a one of a kind non-human primate model of maternal undernutrition to determine the molecular links between poor growth in utero and the predisposition toward poor heart health in later life. 

      To address this, this project will use techniques as qRT-PCR to measure the gene expression and Western Blot to measure the protein abundance of signaling molecules involved in cardiac growth and development.

      Contact person: Prof. Janna Morrison and Dr. Jack Darby


      Apply now

    • Improving lung development through increased pulmonary oxygen delivery minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), where a baby weighs below the 10th percentile for their gestational age, occurs in 6.5 % of live births. These IUGR babies have an increased risk of preterm birth with impaired maturation of the lung. This increases their risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

      One way of preventing IUGR and thus the risk of preterm birth and RDS, would be to increase fetal substrate (oxygen and nutrients) supply. Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in the skins of red grapes, increases uterine artery blood flow. We hypothesize, that increased uterine artery blood flow will accelerate lung maturation via increased oxygen delivery to the fetal lung.

      This study will determine the impact of maternal resveratrol supplementation on the expression surfactant proteins (qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry) in the fetal lung and align this expression with pulmonary oxygen delivery (fetal MRI data) in the late gestation fetus.

      Contact person: Prof. Janna Morrison and Dr. Jack Darby



      Apply now

    • Does resveratrol influence placental development? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Impaired fetal substrate supply because of either placental insufficiency, preeclampsia or maternal undernutrition causes intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). These IUGR babies are not only at an increased risk of longer stays in the NICU and increased perinatal morbidity but may also be at an increased risk of epigenetic programming and the development of chronic disease in adult life. To reduce the risk of these poor outcomes, the development of interventions to improve fetal substrate delivery is at the forefront of perinatal research.

      The pregnant sheep model is often used to study fetal development in the setting of in utero substrate restriction and has led to medical advances such as the use of antenatal steroids in pregnancies at risk of preterm birth. Using this animal model, we have shown resveratrol to increase uterine artery blood flow and fetal oxygenation. However, unlike the human placenta; the sheep placenta does not appear to allow resveratrol to cross from the maternal to the fetal circulation.

      This project will use techniques such as qRT-PCR to measure placental gene expression and immunohistochemistry to determine protein abundance and distribution of signaling molecules known to be both involved in placental development and responsive to resveratrol and MRI data. We hypothesize that resveratrol will activate signaling molecules on the maternal but not the fetal side of the sheep placenta. 

      Contact person: Prof. Janna Morrison, Dr. Jack Darby and A/Prof. Michael Wiese


      Apply now

    • Fetal and maternal drug metabolism in complicated pregnancies minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: To obtain the best outcomes for both mum and fetus during pregnancy, drugs are often required to treat illness. However, there is limited information available on the short and long term adverse fetal effects of a large proportion of drugs used during pregnancy. Animal studies can provide preliminary data regarding the safety of a drug during pregnancy. There is a large amount of human and animal evidence showing hormonal and metabolic changes that occur in both the mother and the fetus because of reduced or accelerated fetal growth. These changes could affect maternal, placental and fetal expression of drug metabolising enzymes and drug transporters and hence alter fetal drug exposure.

      This project will isolate microsomes from maternal and fetal livers in animal models of high and low substrate supply. Using in vitro protocols, we will assess the activity of cryptochrome P450 enzymes to determine if pregnancy complications impair drug metabolism.

      Contact person: Prof. Janna Morrison, A/Prof. Michael Wiese and Ashley Meakin


      Apply now

    • Impact of cortisol on drug exposure in the fetus minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Preterm birth affects more than 20,000 births in Australia. Glucocorticoids are routinely used to reduce the risk of respiratory distress syndrome in preterm births by promoting lung maturation. However, the use of glucocorticoids during pregnancy has been associated with adverse fetal outcomes including low birth weight. In addition, glucocorticoids also regulate the expression of Cytochrome P450 enzymes, a class of enzymes involved in drug metabolism, and drug transporters such as P-glycoprotein.

      Therefore, using a sheep model, we propose that infusion of the endogenous glucocorticoid, cortisol, in late gestation will alter the expression of drug metabolising enzyme and drug transporters in the placenta, fetal liver and brain.

      Contact person: Prof. Janna Morrison, A/Prof. Michael Wiese and Ashley Meakin


      Apply now

    • Investigating changes in fetal lipid profiles in response to changes in maternal nutrient supply minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Lipid metabolic and biosynthetic pathways are implicated in a wide range of chronic diseases. Maternal diet can have a significant impact on how lipids are metabolised by offspring, and subsequently their health in later life. However, the exact mechanisms behind this are yet unknown. Methods for measuring and localising lipids in tissue can provide insight into how factors, such as maternal overnutrition, result in changes to lipid profile in the fetus.

      This project explores methods for analysing lipids in sheep tissue, for example epifluorescence and confocal microscopy, and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and will expose students to various laboratory techniques and analytical methods. Students will have the opportunity to gain skills in histology and tissue sample preparation, image acquisition and data analysis.

      Contact person: Prof. Janna Morrison and A/Prof. Sally Plush


      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 using techniques such as cell culture, cytotoxicity assays and flow cytometry.

      Contact person: Dr Lisa Ebert


      Apply now

    • Activation of novel CAR T-cells for the treatment of cancer minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The Translational Oncology Laboratory at the Centre for Cancer Biology aims to develop new approaches to modulate the body’s immune system to target cancer cells CAR T-cells more effectively are a form of immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. This project will characterise and analyse the activation of novel CAR T-cells which have been generated against a new CAR T-cell antigen, which is widely expressed in cancer cells. 

      Contact person: Dr Nicole Wittwer 


      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. Cells travel in a fluidic stream through a flow cell, where 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 for a given sample.

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

      Establish fluorescent protein systems:

      • FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) assay to detect molecular interactions and cellular location.
      • Cell telemetry: make cells fluoresce during certain situations (cell proliferation, cell death, cell metabolism, cell stress).
      • Analyse RNA by flow cytometry using RNA-aptamers.
      • Colour competition assay. Use fluorescence to track different cell types in a complex mixture.

      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. As well as examining the effectiveness of water purification devices.

      Contact person: Dr Bradley Chereda


      Apply now

    • Registered nurse presence in Australian nursing homes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: There are widespread deficiencies in staffing and skills mix in Australian nursing homes and an ongoing reduction in the number of registered nurses in the sector. Following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, from 1 October 2023, all Australian nursing homes will be required by law to have at least one registered nurse onsite for a minimum of 16 hours per day.

      This research project will develop and launch a national survey in partnership with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) to collect evidence from nursing home staff regarding the current situation regarding registered nurse staffing. The student will work as a member of a small team to develop and pilot the survey and will have the opportunity to lead or co-author a journal manuscript.

      Contact person: Dr Micah Peters 


      Apply now

    • Best practice inclusive care for gender and sexually diverse patients and clients minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Gender and sexually diverse people (i.e. LGBTIQ+) tend to experience worse healthcare experiences and outcomes in comparison to their cis-gendered heteronormative counterparts despite estimates that they make up around 11 percent of the population. This project will identify, collect, and appraise existing evidence to develop a list of best-practice recommendations for clinicians apply in their everyday practice to provide culturally safe, inclusive care for gender and sexually diverse clients.

      The recommendations may be utilised to create an audit tool for subsequent piloting in an Australian health service. The student will work as a member of a small team to search for, collect, and appraise evidence, develop recommendations, and will have the opportunity to lead or co-author a journal manuscript.

      Contact person: Dr Micah Peters 


      Apply now

    • Recruiting and retaining nurses in aged care minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Widespread workforce issues were revealed by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety as well as by several previous inquiries and reviews.Attracting and retaining workers – especially registered nurses – is a key issue and one that must be addressed if real, sustainable sector reform is to be achieved.

      This project will be to develop an evidence-based discussion paper focused on what has been found to be effective and feasible in Australia and abroad to attract and retain nurses in aged care. The student will identify and analyse published evidence and will also develop a short survey for undergraduate nursing students to gain insight into their perspectives on what would attract and keep them in the Australian aged care workforce. This industry-linked project will be carried out in collaboration with the ANMF and the student will have the opportunity to lead or co-author a journal manuscript.

      Contact person: Dr Micah Peters 


      Apply now

    • Health Workforce Wellbeing: Building a Healthy Workforce minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: As the frontline of the health system and the largest component of our health workforce, nurses and midwives play a critical role in achieving safe and high- quality health care. They are essential to health sector productivity, patient outcomes, and the provision of health services to rural and remote populations. In 2014, an investigation by the federal government projected that Australia will have a shortfall of 85,000 nurses by 2025 and 123,000 by 2030. Poor staff retention rates and the ageing of the nursing and midwifery workforce, which makes up 30% of the Australian health workforce, will further drive the demand for nurses and midwives more than supply. Strategies to effectively retain skilled and experienced nurses and midwives are therefore critical.

      Prioritising and protecting the health care workforce is now critical — not only because their own lives are at risk, but because we need them to continue providing high quality care. As COVID-19 continues to spread across countries, we are at risk of exhausting our nurses and midwives at a time when we need them most.

      The project aims to develop a literature review focused on specific strategies or programs aimed at not decreasing, but improving wellbeing of nurses, midwives and other health care workers. With the ideal to identify and ultimately, adopt a systematic approach to improving wellbeing that defines factors beyond traditional metrics, inclusive of organisational and institutional conditions. The review will be reported to relevant industry with the aim the student publishes the results.

      Contact person: Prof. Marion Eckert


      Apply now

    • Quality of life during Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Building Nursing and Midwifery clinical academics is essential for effective and agile evidence-based health care delivery. Yet it is a challenge, due to a lack of targeted programs to build research capability and capacity post undergraduate training. Time for clinicians to foster their research interest and capabilities is further challenged due to a competing health care working environment.

      Few programs offer research training outside of structured tertiary higher degree programs. The project aims to develop a literature review on the type of programs and incentives that are provided to nurses and midwives to progress their knowledge and expertise in research. Whilst it is acknowledged that there are programs available, which of these demonstrate the greatest impact to support the clinical academic career trajectory and translate to benefit?

      Contact person: Prof. Marion Eckert and Greg Sharplin


      Apply now

    • Measures used to assess quality of life in childhood cancers minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The Australian Childhood Cancer Registry provides population-based information on childhood cancers in Australia. State-based hospital registries provide data to the national registry, however little Australian information is available on quality of life measures. This project involves a literature review to determine what psychological and health related quality of life measures are in use to assess risk factors for psychological distress and poor health related quality of life in survivors of childhood cancers. The student will learn to:

      • identify quality of life instruments and health related quality of life instruments
      • conduct a librarian assisted literature search for published and unpublished research
      • explore other psychological and health related quality of life measures that may be useful in childhood and AYA cancers
      • have the opportunity to lead and publish a journal manuscript

      Contact person: Ms Pamela Adelson and Dr Nadia Corsini  


      Apply now

    • A diet and lifestyle intervention trial to reduce dementia risk in older Australians. The MedWalk Trial. minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: While there is currently no definitive way to prevent dementia, there are several lifestyle changes that may help to reduce the risk of its development. These include physical activity and healthy dietary choices. Our team is currently investigating the long-term effect of a Mediterranean diet and physical activity program on reducing dementia risk in older individuals. We are working with several retirement villages and their residents around South Australia. The student will have the opportunity to learn about and be involved in the preparation and organisation and implementation of a multi-site dietary intervention trial.

      They will have the opportunity to participate in data collection from volunteers, learn about motivational interviewing for behaviour change, liaise with the public, understand the relationship between diet and exercise and impact on dementia risk. The student will also be involved in the broader team meetings and see how large multi-disciplinary teams collaborate.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Karen Murphy 


      Apply now

    • Calcium content and dairy foods in popular weight loss diets and healthy eating principles minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Weight loss can be achieved through a calorie deficit while consuming a balanced diet of the five major Australian food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy foods and lean meats and poultry. However, popular diets often cut out food groups such as breads and cereals and dairy foods which can be detrimental to health. Dairy foods typically have a negative perception due to mixed messaging, false information, and anecdotal experiences. But it is well documented that the consumption of dairy foods including cheese, milk and yoghurt can improve bone health and can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

      Recently, non-dairy milk alternatives (oat, almond, macadamia, soy) have increased in popularity. However, often these alternatives do not stack up against their counterparts with regards to nutrition profile, providing inadequate levels of calcium, vitamin D and other important vitamins and minerals.

      This is an opportunistic study, building on from a student Masters project. The student will assess the intake (serves), different types of dairy foods, and micronutrient composition (calcium, vitamin D, iron) of popular weight loss diets from meal plans. Intake will be compared to current AGHE guidelines and nutrient reference values. There will also be the opportunity to compare the nutrient profile of traditional dairy foods to plant-based alternatives (oat, almond, macadamia, soy, coconut) and report on the implications for bone health and osteoporosis.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Karen Murphy and Ella Bracci


      Apply now

    • Identifying the binding characteristics of the dead tumor cell-targeting antibody, APOMAB minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: APOMAB is an antibody which targets dead cancer cells and has potential clinical utility as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent.  The physiological requirements for APOMAB to bind to die cancer cells is not completely understood. Therefore, the aim of this project is to shed further light on the binding characteristics of APOMAB to dead cancer cells using various laboratory techniques including cell culture, fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry.

      Contact person: Dr. Alex Staudacher


      Apply now

    • Identifying factors that contribute to the progression of kidney disease in diabetes minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Diabetic nephropathy (DN), a common complication of diabetes mellitus, is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease worldwide and a major contributor to end-stage kidney disease. Understanding the intricate signalling events in this disease is essential for the development of improved treatments. Seminal studies from our laboratory have identified a protective role of the NEDD4-2 gene in the kidney in diabetes. This gene controls the activity of many ion channels and signaling proteins. This project will investigate how this gene controls the progression of DN by analysing levels and activity of substrate proteins, such as sodium and glucose transporters, in mice and cell lines. 

      Experimental techniques will include making protein lysates from cells and mouse tissue, western blotting for protein expression and fluorescent immunostaining for protein localisation and intensity.

      The identification of proteins that are differentially expressed and/or localised in DN will reveal these proteins as contributors to the progression of kidney disease in diabetes.

      Contact person: Dr Jantina Manning


      Apply now

    • Effects of fire on invertebrate diversity and abundance minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Invertebrates are an irreplaceable part of the base of the food chain, important for restoring soil health, and in performing an essential role in pollination and seed dispersal. This summer project aims to evaluate the impact of bushfire on invertebrate diversity and abundance. It will use a range of invertebrate capture methods on prescribed burn sites in the Adelaide Hills and areas already recovering from wildfires. Collected invertebrates will be further studied in the laboratory using identification keys.

      Ultimately, population recovery and succession of invertebrate populations will be examined in the context of a greater research project focusing on herpetofauna being done in collaboration with UniSA STEM, the Department for Environment and Water and the Adelaide Zoo.

      Contact person: Miguel de Barros Lopes


      Apply now

    • Controlling cancer progression through the tumour vasculature 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 they 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 BMC Cancer 2021; 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: Prof Claudine Bonder


      Apply now

    • Predicting better outcomes for patients with myeloma. minus-thick plus-thick

      Project summary: Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common hematological malignancy and is an incurable disease of neoplastic plasma cells (PC). With only 17% of MM patients surviving 10-years post diagnosis, faster detection and earlier intervention would unequivocally improve outcomes. We recently discovered that the cell surface protein desmoglein-2 (DSG2) is overexpressed in ~20% of bone marrow biopsies from newly-diagnosed MM patients and that it is strongly predictive of poor clinical outcome (Ebert et al Molecular Oncology 2021). This study further examines DSG2 as a potential cell surface biomarker that can be readily detected by flow cytometry to rapidly predict disease trajectory at the time of diagnosis.

      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, immunohistochemistry of human tissue samples and functionalised biomaterials.

      Contact person: Prof Claudine Bonder


    • Activity patterns in patients with a diabetic foot ulcer minus-thick plus-thick

      Project summary: Sleep and physical activity are essential for health and well-being. For people with diabetes, both adequate sleep and physical activity are particularly important. Yet, patients with a diabetic foot ulcer, a complication of diabetes, may struggle to achieve both a good nights’ sleep and the recommended amount of physical activity. This may in turn impact general well-being, wound healing and worsen the progression of diabetes, resulting in further complications. This summer vacation scholarship will provide two students with the opportunity to examine how patients with a diabetic foot ulcer spend their day in terms of sleep, physical activity, and sedentary time. To find out more about this opportunity, please contact Lisa Matricciani 

      Contact person:  Lisa Matricciani 

      How to apply

  • art Creative 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.

    Michael Kutschbach conducts research within the filed of Installation, moving image, sculpture, drawing


    • Digital Twin in Real Estate Industry: A Literature Review and Implications minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: A digital twin is a digital representation of an active unique product (real device, object, machine, service, or intangible asset) or unique product-service system that includes its chosen characteristics, properties, conditions, and behaviours via models, information, and data across a single or multiple life cycles. While the Digital Twin has been there since the early 2000s, there has been a significant increase in the number of articles in academic journals in the recent five years. Digital Twin is seen as a key driver of change in the real estate market due to its great forecasting abilities. DT will provide more insight into how renters use property, as well as the ability to model and hence predict how inhabitants will move and interact in the future. It is feasible to assist customers in reaching their business goals by developing and implementing Digital Twin strategies. Technology (customer data, marketing automation, and e-commerce tools) and content (brand strategy, UX/UI design, and campaign content) are all part of the solutions.

      This study will characterise the Digital Twin real estate industry in order to identify knowledge gaps and areas for further research. This will include learning about the concept's present condition, key terminology, and related procedures. The perceived advantages of Digital Twin in real estate marketing will be investigated.

      This is a timely study, particularly in light of the consequences of the pandemic on the real estate sector, since customers are confronted with an unanticipated need to shift to an online environment and have depended heavily on the support during their digital transformation. In this regard, the emphasis will be on physical-to-virtual connections/twinning or vice versa.

      Contact person: Dr Andrew Allan


      Apply now

    • Janssen Time minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project is a part of a larger endeavour to create an optical system artwork that brings awareness to how different technologies mediate our daily lives. The project will develop one component of the artwork based on a 19th-century mechanical clockwork design by Jules Janssen, originally used in Australia as part of an astronomical event of the Transit of Venus in 1874.

      The project is to digitally fabricate the component and incorporate basic electronics (motor and sensor) to rotate the component and allow it to interact with a viewer.

      Contact person: Dr Deirdre Feeney 


      Apply now

    • Normalising sufficiency through creative visual narratives minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: It is widely accepted that negative human impacts on global environments necessitate changes to consumption practices in advanced economies. While a focus on addressing overconsumption includes primarily adaptive re-use, recycling, and increases inefficiencies of production and supply chains, this research project seeks to investigate how creative visual narratives can challenge the normalisation of overconsumption, thereby, contributing to the shifting of cultural norms in relation to what is accepted as sufficient.

      This project is particularly focused on children and young people in relation to sustainable consumption and sufficiency. There is potential for more than one student to work on this topic from a range of UniSA Creative disciplinary backgrounds.

      Contact person: Dr Doreen Donovan


      Apply now

    • Department Stores – uncovering their architectural history through a case study in Adelaide minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Department Stores are a building type that emerged and thrived during the twentieth century. Yet with the move of so much retail to the online environment and the prominence of these large retail buildings in the CBDs of cities around the world, their future needs to be considered as a matter of urgency. This architectural history project will endeavour to understand the history of department store architecture in order to enable retailers and those involved in planning the city to look forward to opportunities for their future use and/or heritage preservation.

      The aim of this project is to undertake a desk-based historical study researching and writing of a history of one department store retail space in Rundle Mall, Adelaide (eg: Myers, Harris Scarfe, John Martins or David Jones). The case study will use the records in the Architecture Museum at UniSA including architectural drawings, photographs and documentation of one of these large retail spaces, as well as other archives and libraries both in Adelaide and online.

      Contact person:Dr Julie Collins


      Apply now


    • Bushfire resilient building + climate change minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Motivated by the changing climatic conditions in disaster-prone (bushfire) areas such as the Adelaide Hills; testing the recently launched new Planning and Design Code (March 2021) performance criteria for development assessment applications, in addition to leveraging the recent media around insurance companies’ climate modelling, suggesting some areas will be un-insurable in the next 5-10 years, this project investigates questions around the future of hills residential development. It firstly examines from the macro-scale, legislative approaches to development in bushfire-prone areas, utilising data from insurance company climate modelling.

      It investigates the ‘big picture’ approach to mitigating risk through urban design strategies, and the consideration of bushfire zones rather than allotments, then at the micro-level it looks at architectural design strategies for mitigating risk at the site level. Finally, it explores the literature to establish approaches to the potential psychology of residents’ subjected to the trauma of potential and past bushfire events and how this may impact architectural design thinking. 

      Contact person: Dr Julie Nichols


      Apply now

    • NTROs for engagement and impact minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The process of creating our interactive and immersive exhibits for the public results in the production of novel outputs relating to research at UniSA including:
      • games
      • apps
      • interactive exhibits
      • films
      • visitor evaluations
      • conference presentations

      The aims of this project are to:
      • Work with the MOD. and Discovery Services Team to identify non-traditional research outputs (NTRO) and end-users from past MOD. exhibitions, drawing on resources produced by UniSA Creative.
      • Assist with liaising with specific researchers to understand how this process might tie into their research output objectives
      • Prepare applications for submissions to have these catalogued as NTROs (collating documentary and photographic evidence for the catalogue)
      • Recommend processes for capturing NTROs from MOD. activities and collaborations into the future so that these research outputs are findable and valid for inclusion in E&I case studies
      • Provide feedback to assist in the development of additional submissions of NTROs in UniSA Creative

      MOD. at UniSA is a futuristic museum of discovery. It’s a place to be and be inspired. We want to inspire young people about science and technology, showcasing how research shapes our understanding of the world around us to inform our futures. MOD. is like no other museum experience in Australia as we sit at the intersection of art and science bringing together researchers, industries, and students to challenge, learn, and be inspired.

      Contact person: Dr Kristin Alford


      Apply now

    • Creating an Open Lab minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project is involved in preparing MOD. to open a prototyping and visitor engagement lab in 2022.

      MOD. will be developing a new space within the museum which will allow visitors to engage in research at MOD. whether that be:
      • Prototyping and testing MOD. exhibits and programs
      • Participating in UniSA HDR student research (eg on tactile data visualisation, visitor tracking, interactions in virtual and augmented realities)

      The aims of this project are to:
      • Research similar models of open, collaborative, cross-disciplinary research spaces and provide recommendations and learnings which can guide MOD. in the development of a new space, and identify opportunities for collaborations across institutions.
      • Work with MOD. on the design and start-up phase of this new space set to open in early 2022.

      It will involve producing a report detailing the current open labs that exist in museums or universities in Australia and internationally. What is their purpose? What programs do they run? Who are they for? How could MOD. fit in?

      This research will inform the development of MOD.’s own lab in 2022 and the student is expected to assist in planning the setup of the space and scheduling programming.

      MOD. at UniSA is a futuristic museum of discovery. It’s a place to be and be inspired. We want to inspire young people about science and technology, showcasing how research shapes our understanding of the world around us to inform our futures.

      Contact person: Dr Lisa Bailey


      Apply now

    • SA Music Industry Health Check (past and present comparison) minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Student to be involved with / mentored through the following tasks:

      1. Literature review to support the development of two journal articles emerging from MDO + UniSA Creative Partnerships funded ‘Live Music Audit’ project (led by Dr Sam Whiting and Dr Rosie Roberts). A CP3 funded pilot project on a small regionally based live music venue has already yielded a publication in Perfect Beat (forthcoming). Both Sam and Rosie are developing their joint publication record to build towards a DECRA and/or ARC Linkage and a Vacation Research Scholarship would contribute to this work.
        2. Archival research – mapping live music landscape historically in Adelaide – to support PhD project proposal currently under consideration (“A cultural history of popular music in Adelaide 1950-2022”).

      Contact person: Dr Sam Whiting and Dr Rosie Roberts


      Apply now

    • Design For Health: A national review and dashboard information design project minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will conduct a review of healthcare design researchers, labs, publications and projects nationally. This builds upon a 2015 global review to present a picture of the design for the health landscape in Australia. Specifically, the project will map the contexts, methods, and stakeholder groups that are engaged in these practices in an Australian context.

      Skills required:

      • Applicants should be able to undertake a comprehensive desktop search.
      • The ability to synthesize the findings and produce information ‘dashboard’ graphics and a research report would also be desirable.
      • The candidate will work with Prof Gwilt and Dr Aaron Davis in the Design Clinic to undertake the work.
      • Suitability: The project would suit a 3rd Year, Hons, Grad Dip or 1st Year Masters Student in UniSA CREATIVE

      Contact person: Professor Ian Gwilt


      Apply now

    • Adaptive Design For NextGen Healthcare and Wellbeing products and services minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will contribute to research and practice into the development of next-generation products and services across a range of Healthcare and well-being provisions in Australia.
      Investigating in particular how assistive devices and ‘smart’ products might be designed more effectively for the healthcare market incorporating smart technologies and adaptive / customisation concepts. This is an opportunity to work with academic staff from Unisa Creative and healthcare partners.

      Skills required:

      • Applicants should be able to undertake desktop research. And have the ability to synthesize research findings and produce design concepts, visuals, low fidelity prototypes and presentation materials.
      • The candidate will have the opportunity to work with Ian Gwilt (design Research) and Andrew Whittaker (product design).
      • Suitability: The project would suit a 3rd Year, Hons, Grad Dip or 1st Year Masters Student in UniSA CREATIVE

      Contact person: Prof. Ian Gwilt


      Apply now


    • Design for Wine minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will contribute to research that explores how design and creative practices have helped to shape and develop the South Australian Wine Industry. In particular, we are interested in documenting the design history of the wine label and brand design in SA.
      We are also interested in research into more general visual histories of the social-cultural and economic influences of the wine industry in South Australia and links to the creative arts. There will be the opportunity to work with industry sector partners and the Message on a Bottle exhibition.

      Skills required:

      • Applicants should be able to undertake comprehensive desktop research. Can synthesize research findings and produce a research report. The ability to draft an academic paper would also be desirable.
      • The candidate will have the opportunity to work with Ian Gwilt (Design Research), David Blaiklock (Illustration), Lynda Kay (Visual Communication), Craig Batty (Dean of Research)
      • Suitability: The project would suit a 3rd Year, Hons, Grad Dip, or 1st Year Masters Student in UniSA CREATIVE

      Contact person: Dr Ian Gwilt


      Apply now

    • Exploring the social and spatial properties of Australian waterfronts minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Australia embraces the ocean, with most major cities scattered along its coastline. Waterfront areas are therefore among the most significant public assets of the built environment in Australia. Australian waterfronts have multiple significance, contributing to the tourism industry through their role as tourist attractions, and through the leisure spaces and opportunities, they offer to residents. To date, there has been limited research focusing on the design and planning perspective of key urban waterfronts.

      Furthermore, the syntactical properties of waterfronts in Australian cities have never been analysed systematically toward improving waterfront precinct design. Therefore this project aims to review and explore the social and spatial properties of waterfronts in Australia, employing spatial analysis methodologies such as space syntax. The results of the study are expected to provide new insights into the properties of these important attractions.

      Contact person: Professor Ning Gu


      Apply now

    • Third generation Kinect motion-tracking API minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The aims of the project are to develop an Application Programming Interface to allow Microsoft Azure Kinect data to be shared with other applications, across various hardware platforms and operating systems, in real-time.
      The successful Vacation Scholar will be a competent programmer with experience in API development. Experience in programming C++ in a Windows 10 environment would be advantageous.

      Contact person: Prof. Simon Biggs


      Apply now

    • Australia’s planning profession today minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: In an era of deregulation and privatisation, many planning tasks are no longer performed by government agencies but by private sector companies or consultancies. Moreover, planning reforms in many Australian states have resulted in centralisation of policy-making and development assessments to the state level and prompted a shift in the understanding of the role of planning vis-à-vis private development interests.

      This project will consist of a desk review of previous research and available statistics on Australia’s planning profession, in relation to the tasks performed by public agencies or private consultants and the type of planning jobs available. Time permitting, this work could be complemented by a survey of practising planners on the type of work they do now and what they have done in the past, and the skills and experience now required for professionals working in urban and regional planning in Australia.

      Contact person: Prof. Stefanie Dühr


      Apply now

    • Planning for cities in a post-pandemic world: a review of emerging policies and practices minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of well-planned urban spaces that puts the needs of people at the core. The shift to more work-from-home patterns has highlighted the lack of shops and facilities in Australia’s suburbs and the overreliance on the private car to meet daily needs. The public health crisis has also prompted greater demand for access to quality green spaces, wide pavements and safe cycling paths. While principles such as sustainability and liveability have long been integral to planning policies in Australia and elsewhere, the pandemic has highlighted that outcomes may have often fallen short of the stated ambitions. Cities around the world have reacted differently to address changing needs and expectations of their residents during the current public health crisis, and there is emerging evidence of a change to planning policies and practices towards more sustainable and healthy urban spaces.

      The aim of this project is to undertake a desk study of international urban policies and planning practices in democratic nations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a view to identifying examples of planning responses to changing mobility requirements and changing use of urban spaces.

      Contact person: Prof. Stefanie Dühr


      Apply now

    • Social Media for Academic Impact minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: A UniSA Creative student with expertise in social media, marketing, public relations and/or communications is sought to work with the Creative People, Products and Places (CP3) Research Centre leadership team to identify and implement a best practice social media strategy for CP3.

      This will involve:
      - Mapping CP3’s current profile against the activity of 12 leading international research bodies operating in similar disciplines;
      - A web and library search to identify key strategies researchers, research centres and universities are employing to build the profile of their researchers, and thus the number of citations their works receive;
      - In accordance with the findings above, plan and implement a sustainable social media strategy for CP3 moving forward.

      Contact person: Prof. Susan Luckman


      Apply now

    • Creative but Corporate: Balancing Innovative Creative Design with Corporate Branding Requirements minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: A UniSA Creative student with expertise in graphic design, animation, video and/or visual communication is sought to work with the Creative People, Products and Places (CP3) Research Centre leadership team to develop a visual look and feel for the Centre moving forward.

      This must abide by the University’s CMK guidelines, but also be true to the fact that we are a creative research centre, with strong links to the arts, cultural and creative sector as key partners and end-users. In the new identity, we’re keen to explore ways in which the strong, bright visual imagery of our legacy design can be carried forward in this more ‘corporate’ setting.

      Contact person: Prof. Susan Luckman


      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 Susie Raymond  conducts research within the fields of Early Childhood, Pedagogy, Teacher self-efficacy, Social Cognitive Theory

    Ecological Theory Qualitative research, Practitioner inquiry, and Case study methodology

    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

    • An exploration of the interconnection between student and teacher well-being: preventative approaches to anxiety, stress and mental health minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project aims to contribute to knowledge of the interconnection between student/teacher wellbeing and inform preventative wellbeing approaches to address the increasing prevalence of anxiety, stress, and mental health of students and teachers.

      Increasingly young people and teachers are disengaging from education and employment due to reports of increasing wellbeing factors, particularly compounded by the Covid-19 context.

      This is contributing to growing societal social, educational, economic and health costs, both locally and globally. 

      This project will inform the field of wellbeing research, with implications for sustained educational engagement and employment retention.

      This project will include a literature review and working on a pilot study and integrate co-design responsive to the scholarship holder’s interest in the project issue.

      Contact person: Dr Deborah Price


      Apply now

    • Young children's participation as active, global citizens: A literature review minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project entails a literature review that examines the following questions:

      • To what extent are young children involved as active citizens in exploring global challenges and possible solutions that impact their local worlds?
      • In what ways are children and their literacy capabilities supported in this participation?
      • What are the demographics characterizing this participation? (E.g., are there groups from which children’s voices are heard? Are there groups from which children’s voices are relatively silenced?)
      • What are the documented engagements with and consequences of children’s participation?

      This literature review will canvas relevant research from the past 5 years and feed directly into the development of a journal article (Q1—top tier); and more generally inform our ongoing inquiry into young children’s participation and related research funding applications in the Children’s Voices and Citizenship Research Program that Professor Harris leads with colleagues and partners locally and overseas.

      Contact person: Prof. Pauline Harris 


      Apply now

    • School Exclusionary Policies and Practices and their Impact minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This ARC project is currently examining how and why Australian schools use exclusionary practices such as suspensions and exclusions.

      Exclusionary practices are an effective way of managing and changing problematic student behaviour, however many schools use them as a quick fix to remove students who are disruptive or a threat to others safety. Research shows that these practices are often used disproportionately towards groups of students, including indigenous students and those with a disability, and can have a negative impact on children’s health, wellbeing, and academic achievement.

      Despite the use of exclusionary practices being widespread in Australian schools, very little is known about the policy and political frameworks that guide these practices, 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 short briefing papers or journal publications to communicate key findings.

      The scholarship holder will have the opportunity to engage with an enthusiastic group of researchers working within the Centre for Research in Education and Social Inclusion and will receive research training and mentoring from Dr Neil Tippett and Associate Professor Anna Sullivan.

      Contact person: Dr Neil Tippett



      Apply now

    • What counts as “quality” early childhood pedagogy and practice: Policy analysis of the NQF and EYLF minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: In Australia there are two key policy documents that inform early childhood educator practice, The National Quality Framework and the Early Years Learning Framework. This project is focused on exploring these two early childhood policies with the purpose of understanding how they position quality early childhood pedagogy and practice. The policy analysis will explore the following research questions:

      1. What are the theoretical underpinnings of the discourse used in each policy?
      2. How is “best practice” described and assessed?
      3. What approaches to engaging with children and families are promoted?
      4. How is planning and pedagogy described?

      The vacation research scholarship holder will contribute towards exploring these questions through a policy analysis with the research team. This will include completing a literature review, analysis and writing for publication.

      Contact person: Dr Jamie Sisson and Ms Anne-Marie Shin 


      Apply now

    • Australian Muslim learners’ experiences in mainstream educational settings. What are the lived educational experiences of Muslim learners in Australian mainstream educational settings? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Almost 25% of Australian students (est 910,000) experience bullying during their schooling, with consequences lasting many years after graduation. Yet, limited bullying research has considered Muslim learners in Australia. Research in the US and UK has found that religion is often the reason that Muslim learners are bullied.

      However, the emotional impact of bullying is considered more severe when a person is bullied due to their religion, highlighting a need for us to understand the lived educational experiences of Muslim learners in Australian educational contexts.

      Contact person: Prof. Mohamad Abdalla


      Apply now

    • Doing mathematics: Developing mathematical thinking in the primary years minus-thick plus-thick

      Project Summary: This project explores ways teachers and students make their mathematical thinking visible to others. A difficulty encountered by some primary teachers is how to make mathematical thinking that an individual uses transparent and visible to others when using open-ended tasks and during problem-solving.

      Firmasari and Santi (2019) argue that mathematic thinking is an essential goal of mathematics education and in for “improving conceptual learning” (p. 1). Given the connection between mathematical thinking and developing conceptual understanding, there is a dearth of research into how to develop and make visible student's and teacher's mathematical thinking. This is problematic as teachers need to be able to clearly communicate their mathematical thinking in order to develop the mathematical thinking of their students

      Contact person: Dr Kate Quane


      Apply now


    • Developing a model of care focusing on “well-being” of onshore international students: A pilot-study with Baptist Care SA minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The project will use a qualitative approach that includes semi-structured interviews with current onshore international students and focus groups with stakeholders who have had experiences of connecting with and supporting international students at the time when COVID-19 began. This project investigates what international students define as their “wellbeing” and the role of local communities (such as Baptist Care) can provide to identity some issues around international students’ wellbeing in thinking about improving their mental health, employment opportunities and community engagement.

      The vacation scholarship holder will contribute towards reviewing the current literature on indicators of ‘wellbeing’, international students’ mental health and impacts of COVID-19 on society with the research team. This will include completing an analysis of the focus group discussion and writing for publication.

      Contact person: Dr Hannah Soong


      Apply now

    • Systemic literature review on early childhood teachers and educators understanding of inclusive pedagogies minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The first five years of a child’s life involve rapid growth in cognitive, social, emotional and physical development and learning. The experiences during this period are foundational for life-long outcomes, and therefore, the work of early childhood educators and teachers is of critical importance. Early childhood contexts however are diverse. This systemic literature review will explore current research on early childhood teacher and educator understanding of inclusive pedagogies:

      • How is diversity defined in the current research?
      • How is inclusive pedagogy defined and enacted?
      • What are early childhood teachers’/educators’ challenges to inclusivity?
      • What recommendations for inclusive pedagogy and practice are presented in the literature?

      The vacation research scholar will work closely with the research team in a systematic review of the literature and will contribute to a publication.

      Contact person: Dr Lesley-Anne Ey


      Apply now

    • Creative and body-based learning serving communities of poverty and trauma minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project aims to investigate how creative and body-based teaching approaches can respond to the educational needs of students in high poverty communities. The study involves multi-sited action research and ethnography in schools located in areas of high poverty in Adelaide. It brings together teachers, researchers and teaching artists to identify complex challenges, co-create curriculum aimed at improving student engagement and investigate their impact.

      The vacation scholarship will contribute to this project by reviewing literature and assisting with data analysis using qualitative and visual methods. Outcomes advance understanding of the processes of educational inequity as well as how young people might be supported to engage more powerfully with school.

      Contact person: Dr Robyne Garrett


      Apply now

    • Trajectories, Turning Points And Chain Reactions: Re-Imaging Pathways To Bullying minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project significantly contributes to what is known about persistent bullying and pathways leading to and from these behaviours. Such behaviours often extend beyond the school gates into other forms of power-related aggression such as: dating violence; child and elder abuse; and domestic violence.

      The research questions underpinning this project are:

      1. What are community perceptions and understandings of the trajectories, turning points and chain reactions of students who engage in persistent bullying?
      2. What role do these ‘life events’ play in the continuation of bullying behaviours?

      The vacation scholarship holder will contribute towards answering these questions by accessing the voice of school leaders and working with youth to develop a teacher resource. This will involve data collection, data analysis and assisting in dissemination of findings.

      Contact person: Dr Deborah Green 


      Apply now

    • ‘How do you Connect?’ Using inquiry cards to investigate how children interact with others using digital tools minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will involve the student in analysing videos and audio recordings of interviews with Grade 5 children in which they discuss their use of digital apps to interact with family, peers, teachers and others. This data will already have been collected during the 2021 school year. The student will be supported by a researcher to learn and apply research analytic techniques to yield insights. 

      Contact person: A/Prof. Sue Nichols


      Apply now

    • To conduct research for the Centre for Research in Educational Inclusion minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: A range of project possibilities are available including literature searches, literature reviews and data analysis. Topics include early career teachers, casual teachers, induction, classroom management and school exclusions.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Anna Sullivan


      Apply now

    • Early career teacher retention in complex alternative education settings minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project recognises, investigates and aims to address potential barriers for early career teachers as they transition to the teaching profession in a complex alternative school. Moreover, this project examines how school leaders enact induction strategies to support early career teachers in non-mainstream educational settings.

      This project has three distinct, yet related, areas of inquiry, including:

      • an exploration of the induction phase for early career teachers employed in a complex alternative education setting.
      • an examination of early career teachers’ attraction, recruitment, development and retention to an alternative education setting through a recursive framework; and
      • an investigation of the ways in which school-based contextual and interpersonal experiences of site leaders influence how they navigate, respond and adapt to support early career teachers in an alternative education setting.

       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 opportunities for immersion in the Centre for 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

    • Researching Learning Spaces: A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: There is much discussion, in education, of 21st century skills and this is aligned with discussion about learning spaces for 21st century education. This pilot project draws together a cross-disciplinary research and industry team to contribute to the theoretical understandings of the requirements for large/open 21st century learning spaces, many of which are being designed as STEM learning spaces. This project sets out to conduct a multi-disciplinary design-based analysis of open/large learning spaces in order to:

      1. Design transdisciplinary protocols for collaborative investigation of open/large learning spaces.
      2. Develop a shared language to communicate common and specific practices (for teachers, school leadership, builders, engineers, architects etc.) of how learning spaces can be utilized.

      This vacation scholarship holder will ideally have a keen interest in science and education, be very collaborative and willing to work with the Education and Acoustic disciplines. The scholarship holder would contribute to this project by assisting with a range of activities including reviewing literature, data mining, and developing innovative data displays which combine qualitative and quantitative data.

      A successful candidate will have the opportunity to experience education research culture and mentorship from the project’s Chief Investigator Dr Lisa O’Keeffe, as well as some experience coordinating research with industry, mentored by Lead Industry partner Senior Acoustic Engineer, Greg Barry. Additionally, the scholarship holder will have the opportunity to engage with researchers within the Centre for Research in Education and Social Inclusion to support their research training. 

      Contact person: Dr Lisa O’Keeffe


      Apply now

    • The role of creativity in Artificial Intelligence – an educator perspective minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Teacher Interviews and surveys regarding AI readiness and Creativity in a classroom.
      We will conduct semi structured interviews and surveys with teachers regarding their AI readiness to adopt technologies in a classroom and identify the barriers and enablers to AI adoption.

      The project will also capture beliefs and perceptions of the relationship between adoption of AI in a classroom setting and the development of their students’ creativity.
      Suitable for a senior undergraduate, honours or Masters student in Education or Psychology, with a good knowledge of pedagogy.

      Desired duration = 4-6 weeks.

      Contact person: Dr Rebecca Marrone, Dr Margaret Faulkner and Prof. David Cropley


      Apply now

    • Creativity and Learning Analytics – Using LA to support human competencies minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: As society continues to transition into the digital age, the competencies needed for the Future of Work are changing. Competencies such as creativity will help set humans apart from machines. This project aims to measure creativity in an online capacity through Learning Analytics techniques such as Machine Learning/algorithm development. The results of this project will support the development of modern education for students and their teachers.

      Suitable for a senior undergraduate or Masters student in Computer Science or Engineering, with a good knowledge of Machine Learning, and the ability to develop algorithms in this domain.

      Desired duration = 8 weeks.

      Contact person: Dr Rebecca Marrone


      Apply now

    • Motivational Factors and Academic Success of Learners minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The aim of this research project is to investigate how motivational factors influence UniSA College students to learn and how they influence their academic success in blended learning contexts that use a combination of digital technologies such as online asynchronous lectures and in-classroom tutorial activities.

      Motivation within the academic environment is recognized for its strong influence on achievement and student behaviour in a classroom environment. Since students’ achievement and engagement are directly influenced by their motivation it is important to know what those motivational factors are and at what levels of significance, they influence blended learning in an enabling education setting.

      This study is an effort to identify and analyse the motivational factors that significantly influence students’ academic achievement in the UniSA College’s Foundation and Diploma programs.  Underpinned by Self-Regulated Learning Theory, the research project uses a well-established survey instrument, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) to investigate students self-efficacy, intrinsic motivation, text anxiety, cognitive strategies, and self-regulation and their association with their final grades in several UniSA College courses offered in 2021.

      Some statistical techniques such as structural equation modelling (SEM), Friedman’s non-parametric test, and exploratory factor analysis (principal components analysis) will be employed to determine the motivational factors that significantly influence students’ academic achievement and classroom participation. The empirical findings would help formulate some intervention strategies and implement them within blended learning environments for fostering the College students’ academic achievement.

      Ethics approval has already been sought and pilot data was collected in SP2 with further data collection occurring in SP5. The successful student could be involved in various components of the research: literature review, data analysis, and/or contributing to a future publication.  

      Contact person: A/Prof. Negin Mirriahi and Dr Wahid Murad

      Apply now

    • Math Simulations in STEM education minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The aim of this research project is to investigate the impact of Maths simulations (sims) to support students’ mathematics literacy and motivation across a range of STEM-based areas of UniSA College enabling pathway programs to undergraduate study. Maths simulations allow students to test themselves at their own pace and additionally use this simulation to re-check understanding of different contextual Maths concepts, supporting a low-threshold uptake of this initiative.

      Prior research has indicated that simulations can support students to expand or apply knowledge and if the instruction design is suitable, interactive tools – such as 'maths' sims' - can provide feedback, pacing and a guided activity for enhancing student learning. The project will investigate the impact of Maths sims on student learning and motivation by looking at students’ final grades and collecting information about their intrinsic motivation using a well-established survey instrument, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) prior and after experience with using Maths sims.

      Some statistical techniques such as structural equation modelling (SEM), Friedman’s non-parametric test, and exploratory factor analysis (principal components analysis) will be employed to determine the motivational factors that significantly influence students’ academic achievement and engagement with Math sims. Data will be collected in several STEM-based courses within UniSA College’s enabling programs in SP5 2021.

      The successful student could be involved in various components of the research: literature review, data analysis, and/or contributing to a future publication.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Negin Mirriahi, Dr Anthea Fudge and Dr Wahid Murad

      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.

    Prof Siobhan Banks The students will help to 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. The BBB includes students as part of the team and they will be welcomed to participate in team meetings, development sessions and social activities. Students will learn about working on industry projects as part of a large team, and how to translate the research to real world contexts.

    Prof. Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky The Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Research Hub (CSN-RH) at UniSA performs research on the neurobiological underpinnings of cognition and behaviour. The main techniques in use in the laboratory are electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), eye-tracking and various behavioural methods. Major research areas include memory and language, the relation between sleep and cognition, the impact of mental training, cognitive processing across the lifespan, individual differences and pain. There will be diverse opportunities for students to undertake vacation research scholarship projects in the above areas – and potentially in other domains – in the CSN-RH in 2021/2022. Potential research supervisors are Dr Valeria Bellan, Prof. Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, Dr Alex Chatburn, Dr Scott Coussens, Dr Zach Cross and Prof. Matthias Schlesewsky.
    Students completing research projects within our laboratory will participate in a highly vibrant, dynamic and supportive research environment beyond their own project, including weekly lab meetings. Please contact us if you are interested in undertaking a vacation scholarship research project with us or would like more information about potential projects. Note that, while most projects will be in the cognitive neuroscience area, opportunities for behavioural research are also available.

    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

    • Optimizing 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: Prof. Siobhan Banks


      Apply now

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


      Project summary: There are a number of projects that 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 logistics, 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
        3. Determining cognitive trajectories in older adults undergoing
        cardiovascular surgeries.
        4. Running a co-designed wellbeing training program with older adults in
        the community.
        5. Investigating links between heart failure, cognition and mood in latelife.
        I am happy talk to students about their own project ideas too

      Contact person: A/Prof Hannah Keage


      Apply now

    • Coercive Control: Identifying the benefits and limits of legislative responses to preventing gender-related coercion and abuse minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Regulatory responses to different forms of non-physical violence and abuse perpetrated against victims (usually women) in family or domestic settings. South Australia is currently considering developing specific legislation to criminalise this type of abusive behaviour. While these efforts have generally been welcomed by experts and those with lived experience, it remains unclear whether legislative and regulatory responses are sufficient to protect individuals form this form of harm and abuse. In this context, there is a need to consider however legislative responses might interact with or be supported by non-legislative responses to ‘coercive control’ to improve the quality of outcomes for South Australians who are at risk of or who have experienced this type of harm or abuse.

      This project aims to:
      1. Document the legislative and regulatory responses to different forms of non-physical violence and abuse perpetrated against victims in family or domestic settings In Australia.
      2. Document the non-legislative responses to different forms of nonphysical violence and abuse perpetrated against victims in family or domestic settings In Australia.
      3. Undertake a literature review of any relevant evaluations of either legislative or non-legislative responses to coercive control in Australia or comparable jurisdictions.
      4. Identify relevant criteria for guiding the development of legislative or non-legislative responses to coercive control in South Australia.

      Two summer scholarship positions are requested that would enable a lawdiscipline student and a social-work discipline student to work collaboratively on this research project.

      Contact person: Dr Sarah Moulds and Dr Michele Jarldorn


      Apply now

    • The legal recognition of non-couple relationships in Australia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: While ‘marriage-like’ de facto relationships are now covered by the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), there are a number of State and Territory Acts that recognise particular classes of non-couple relationships. These are given names such as ‘caring relationships’ or ‘close personal relationships’, and ties such as siblings, parent and child, and carer and charge have been recognised. Where relationships fall into these categories, one party may make a claim to the property of the other, in a similar way as a marriage or de facto relationship.

      This project will involve identification and analysis of cases decided under State and Territory relationship recognition legislation where non-couple relationships have been recognized, and where an application has been made but the relationship has not been recognised. Our aim is to identify the functional features or circumstances of recognised non-couple relationship that have warranted treating parties differently to ‘strangers’ under the law.

      The project will also involve an international comparison to determine whether non-couple relationships are also recognised in comparable international jurisdictions such as the UK, Canada and New Zealand, and whether the recognised circumstances are different.

      Contact person: Dr Michelle Fernando


      Apply now

    • Determining the feasibility of strategies or products to support people with cancer related cognitive impairment to maintain a healthy diet minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Problems with thinking, attention and memory – known as Cancer Related Cognitive Impairment (CRCI) are common during and following cancer treatment. Our research has found that people experiencing CRCI find it difficult to prepare meals and maintain a healthy diet.

      The aim of this project is to determine the feasibility of a range of strategies to support people with cancer in maintaining a healthy lifestyle following cancer treatment by exploring the market and conducting a needs analysis.

      You will be asked to:
                                               1) review market reports and published scientific literature on dietary and cognitive interventions and
                                               2) interview people with a history of cancer, their family members, other key stakeholders (e.g. Cancer Council,
                                                  medical professionals, food delivery services, meal kit services).

      Contact person: A/Prof. Amanda Hutchinson


      Apply now


    • Protecting the psychological health of people at work across the globe minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The Psychosocial Safety Climate Global Observatory Project provides groundbreaking, interdisciplinary international research on psychosocial safety climate, which is the context of the work environment as a leading indicator of job design and worker psychological health.

      The student will assist with activities related to the Psychosocial Safety Climate Global Observatory including relevant literature searches, data collection and writing for research papers and presentations, to assist the research staff distribute evidence and information at the global, national and corporate level to influence workplace policy relating to the protection of worker psychological health.

      Contact person: Prof. Maureen Dollard


      Apply now

  • buildings-city STEM 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. Stefan Peters conducts research within the fields of  GIS, Remote Sensing,  and Web Cartography.

    Prof Jun Ma  conducts research within the fields of Composites; and Manufacturing engineering.

    DR Ivan Lee conducts research within the fields of Machine Learning, Multimedia Systems, and Data Science.

    DR Laura Morrissey conducts research within the fields of Geology, tectonics, and mineral chemistry.

    A/Prof Tina Du  conducts research within the fiels of Social informatics, information behaviour, marginalised communities (including ageing population, LGBTQ+, and immigrants).


    • 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

    • Developing Key Industry 4 Competencies: Computational Support for Creativity in Engineering Education minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: As society moves deeper into the era of Industry 4, and as more and more routine, algorithmic work is carried out by AI and automation, the competencies needed for success in the Future of Work are changing. Around the world organizations are calling for a greater emphasis on the development of what were previously regarded as "soft skills": complex problem solving, critical thinking, persuasion, negotiation, emotional intelligence, and, of particular importance, creativity.

      To support the development of creativity as a multifaceted competency, across all levels of education, and with a special focus on preparing the next generation of STEM professionals, this project will explore computational approaches to support creativity testing and development, using machine learning/AI approaches. This supports the development of Learning Analytics for engineering education.

      Contact person: Prof. David Cropley


      Apply now

    • Mechanically Strong Elastomer Composites with Multifunctionalities by Using Cost-Effective, Safe Nanomaterials minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Elastomers, known as rubber, consist of highly flexible, long-chain molecules. They can be deformed to large deformation and then elastically spring back to their original geometry. Since elastomers usually have high failure strain yet low modulus and strength due to weak intermolecular forces, they are often compounded with carbon black in industry to improve modulus and strength. However, carbon black is ineffective in improving the modulus and strength of elastomers at low strain and it also lacks functionality such as electrical and thermal conductivity. As a rising star in materials science and engineering, graphene sheets have exceptionally high stiffness, strength and aspect ratio, and they hold promise to significantly improve the modulus and strength of elastomers.

      This project will explore new vulcanization systems for elastomers, followed by investigation of whether graphene can be a competitive alternative to carbon black.

      Contact person: Prof. Jun Ma


      Apply now

    • High-Performance thermoplastic Composites for Electrical Discharging minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Electrostatic discharge due to the accumulation of static electricity causes explosions in underground mines, critical damage to satellites and sophisticated electronics, and fire in oil-gas storage and transportation, resulting in casualties and billion-dollar losses per year. Plastic equipment, such as pumps, are made by melt-compounding thermoplastics with steel fibres to reduce charge accumulation. However existing fabrication technologies mean that the steel fibres degrade the mechanical properties of the plastic, negatively affect surface finish and make recycling difficult and expensive.

      This project aims to develop new thermoplastic nanocomposites by replacing the steel fibres with cost-effective, safe carbon-based nanomaterials.

      Contact person: Prof. Jun Ma


      Apply now

    • Stochastic Calculus and Option Pricing minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Students need to pick up stochastic calculus as part of this project. They will do a comparison as well as alternative pricing derivation of some option pricing models. Students need to have a D/HD grade in MATH 2030 Applied Probability.

      Contact person: Dr Gerald Cheang


      Apply now

    • Free Sentinel-2 vs fee-based Planet API – web-based satellite imagery processing to monitor changes in forest cover and forest health minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Forestry asset management requires up-to date, accurate and reliable geographic data about how and when trees and forests change. Forest companies do record these data through various techniques, including ground measures and aerial imaging. However, current techniques are often expensive, incomplete, inaccurate, inconsistent, expensive and not without a risk. This project aims to investigate the use cloud-based processing of satellite imagery (including Sentinel-2 and PlanetScope) to replace current solutions.

      Required are an interest (and ideally pre-skills) in Remote Sensing and/or Scripting (Python Notebooks)

      Contact person: Dr Stefan Peters


      Apply now

    • Deep learning image classification to detect grass trees from high resolution aerial imagery minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The 2019/2020 Kangaroo Island bushfire burnt nearly 2/3 of the island. One phenomena to observe was the response of grasstrees to the fire. Thousands of grasstrees benefited from the fire smoke and started flowering shortly after the fire devasted the landscape – an unique, highly important and fascinating factor for wildlife ecology.

      This project aims to provide more knowledge about presence, location, distribution and density of Kangaroo Island’s grasstrees through the use of Aerial imagery. Very high resolution RGB aerial imagery acquired by Aerometrex during 2020 will be analyzed using Deep learning- and object-based image classification algorithms to detect grasstrees from aerial imagery.

      Required are an interest (and ideally pre-skills) in Remote Sensing and a passion to work in the area of Deep Learning and Image processing. Software skills in ArcGIS Pro and a willingness to develop scripts (PyTorch) are desirable.

      Contact person: Dr Stefan Peters


      Apply now

    • Enzyme induced carbonate precipitation as a ground improvement technique minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Enzyme induced carbonate precipitation (EICP) binds discrete particles (soil, concrete) together through calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation (cementation). EICP has significant potential for many scientific and engineering applications, such as improving soil strength, reducing soil liquefaction potential, surface erosion control, and reducing permeability. Adopting EICP and replacing a fraction of cement/lime or other energy-intensive ground improvement technologies will lead to a reduced carbon footprint for the construction industry, which is about 18% of Australia’s total carbon footprint of 530 million tons in 2019 [1].

      The major cost in EICP is the use of an expensive laboratory-grade urease enzyme [2-5], which can be minimised by using crude enzyme extracts [6] from undesirable Australian weed, Paddy melon (C. myriocarpus). This will be much cheaper than the cost of one litre of crude enzyme solution of $1.5 from Jack bean in the US.

      The student will get an opportunity to be trained in the cutting edge technology to extracting crude enzyme extract. The student will also learn the process of making “bio-bricks” using EICP.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Mizanur Rahman


      Apply now

    • Reactive soil movement under current and future climate minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: Approximately 30% of all surface soils in Australia can be classified as reactive (or expansive) and they can result in significant ground movement due to moisture content changes. Ground movements due to moisture cycles between summer and winter can exert large additional stress on structures built on such soils. Records show that buildings in Australia, constructed before 1981, have resulted in over $1.46 billion in damages caused by soil movement.

      The ground movement-related problems are expected to worsen with climate change. To ensure structures designed and built today lasts well into the future, it is extremely important to understand how the ground movement pattern is likely to change and how these changes may influence the behaviour of structures built on them.

      This project aims at understanding the effect of climate change on ground movement due to soil-atmospheric boundary interaction and its influence on geotechnical structures and pave the way towards the design of safer, sustainable and more resilient geotechnical structures. 

      Contact person: Dr. Rajibul Karim


      Apply now


    • A numerical investigation of granular materials during tunnelling process minus-thick plus-thick


      Project summary: The significant shortage of land due to rapid urbanization and population growth has been triggering the development of underground space. The shield tunnelling is an increasingly popular alternative to open-cut excavation for underground space development due to its highly efficient and minimal ground disturbance. Conventionally, the performance of tunnelling was evaluated in laboratory experiments, which are not cost-effective, time demanding and involving with many uncertain variables. Further, this leads to difficulties to measure the earth pressure acting on the cutting face and to reproduce the tunnelling process.

      Therefore, researchers have been using the discrete element method (DEM) as an alternative tool that can capture the discrete nature of the soil and the soil fabric (affecting the stresses in soil) and simulate the tunnelling process. However, there are still arguments whether DEM can capture the representative behaviour of soil during tunnelling process.

      The aim of this study is to investigate the behaviour of surrounding soil during tunneling process in DEM and to measure the pressure generated in soil during this process.

      Contact person: Dr Khoi Nguyen


      Apply now

    • Quantifying Stringybark dieback in the Adelaide Hills minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Increasing drought and heat wave conditions linked to climate change are impacting stringybark forests and have resulted in dieback of the forest canopy. All three South Australian stringybark species are mostly restricted to mesic (cooler and higher rainfall) regions and therefore potentially severely threatened by climate change. Stringybark forests have iconic status in South Australia, are important wildlife habitats and store considerable amounts of carbon. The observed dieback, therefore, is a matter of regional and global public interest.

      This project will investigate the extent and/or causes of stringybark dieback in the Mount Lofty Ranges using remotely sensed imagery and field data. Quantifying the extent of dieback in relation to seasonal climate and factors such as tree age, topography and grazing regime, will allow developing adaptive management approaches for these iconic forests through climate-resilient stand management and reafforestation. 

      Contact person: A/Prof Gunnar Keppel


      Apply now

    • Accumulation of environmental contaminants in homegrown vegetables minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the environment has emerged as a significant environmental and human health issue. PFAS are highly persistent, man-made chemicals used in many manufacturing processes being found in numerous commercial products and environmental media (e.g. water). A potential PFAS exposure pathway is from the consumption of PFAS-contaminated food although little research has been undertaken on the amount that may accumulate in homegrown vegetables.

      This project will assess PFAS uptake and accumulation in commonly grown varieties to determine whether vegetable consumption is a significant route for PFAS exposure. 

      Contact person: A/Prof. Albert Juhasz



      Apply now

    • Investigating the impact of stress and sleep patterns on the quality of pilot students’ pre-flight preparation minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This is a mixed method (focus group and diary [quantitative and qualitative]) study that investigates how UniSA pilot students prepare for their flights in the day(s) and night(s) leading up to their flying. Eligible participants are UniSA aviation students undertaking flight training through the UniSA aviation academy as of January/February 2022. A sample of a minimum of 12 students will be recruited for this study, consisting of intermediate and advanced pilot students.

      Participants will be asked to complete a 7-day diary study that incorporates well validated sleep and stress measures.   Additionally, participants will attend one of two 90-minute focus groups (6 student per group) to provide insights as to how stress and sleep factored into their flight planning routine and productivity. 

      Contact person: Dr Silvia Pignata and Dr Steve Leib 


      Apply now

    • Efficient machine learning on the edges minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Machine learning is under a rapid development in recent years, and the skill set is highly on demand both in the industry and in the academia. Deep learning has attracted growing attention in a wide range of applications, including computer vision, natural language processing, medical imaging analysis, etc. One major challenge of deep learning is its high computational demand, and there's a need for efficient machine learning algorithms to operate embedded and portable devices for edge computing.

      This project aims to reproduce and improve deep learning algorithms on, both on embedded platforms and GPU workstations. Potential applications include, but not limited to, object detection, 3D reconstruction, and virtual face generation. Depending on the application, students also can learn robotic vision (quadcopter, underwater robot, ground robot, collaborative robot), 3D and 360 imaging.

      Students interested in machine learning and computer vision are encouraged to contact the project supervisor Dr. Ivan Lee to fine-tune the project direction and scope.

      Contact person: Dr. Ivan Lee


      Apply now

    • 3D printed light field imaging minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Additive manufacturing using 3D printing has attracted growing popularity for proof-of-concept and prototyping designs, and it well supports research and development activities. This project aims to develop a 3D-printed light-field camera, applying computational imaging technique to extract 3D information from a single shot of image. SLA and FDM 3D printers will be used in this project for camera lens and body development, and the imaging system will be implemented an embedded GPU device.

      For students who are interested in holographic imaging, it is possible to also investigate the development of digital inline holographic microscopy. Further extension of this project includes the development of machine learning algorithm for 3D reconstruction. Students interested in 3D printing and computational imaging are encouraged to contact the project supervisor Dr. Ivan Lee to fine-tune the project direction and scope. 

      Contact person: Dr. Ivan Lee


      Apply now

    • Understanding the buried north-eastern Gawler Craton minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will use previously unstudied drill core from regions of the north-eastern Gawler Craton to explore the links between world class mineral systems of the Olympic Domain, South Australia and the Mount Isa region, Queensland. Students will learn and apply skills in collecting and interpreting geochronology, trace element chemistry and petrology to determine the age and depth of formation of these rocks. This will assist us with reconstructing the history of these rocks and linking them to known ages for mineralisation.

      This work will tie into existing areas of research within the MinEX CRC, which is a large, collaborative research centre involving Australian universities, state government geological surveys and industry that is based at UniSA.  

      Contact person: Dr. Laura Morrissey


      Apply now


    • Experimental investigation of Helix Micro-Rebar reinforced rubberized concrete minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project aims to investigate the potential adoption of the Helix Micro-Rebar in rubberized concrete mix in order to improve the strength and the temperature and shrinkage control of rubberized concrete. In this research, the experimental investigation on the basic strength properties of Helix Micro-Rebar reinforced rubberized concrete will be carried out, and if time permits, further application on reinforced rubberized concrete slab will be explored.

      As an environmentally friendly material, Helix Micro-Rebar is made from a minimum 50% recycled steel. Currently Helix Micro-Rebar reinforcement system is widely used in construction. It has certified design manual and software to ensure the first principal-based design, which is a base for the investigation of Helix Micro-Rebar reinforced rubberized concrete.

      Current research showed that the twisted geometry of Helix Micro-Rebar and the maximized bond between rebar and cement matrix are the reasons for the greatly improved strength and crack resistance of concrete. It is also revealed that compared with traditional steel fiber; less Helix is needed per m3 to achieve the same performance of concrete. On the other hand, from many research results the rubberized concrete has proven to be a new sustainable construction material which showed increased impact resistance, durability and ductility compared with traditional concrete. It is worth investigating the combined contributions from both Helix Micro-Rebar and crumb rubber in development of a new sustainable structural element.

      Contact person: Prof. Yan Zhuge and Dr. Danda Li

      Apply now

    • Automated Property Matching for Asset Lifecycle Management using NLP and Machine Learning minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Asset Lifecycle Management involves the creation, update, and management of Digital Twins of assets throughout their lifetime. A key aspect of these Digital Twins are the properties that describe the asset from design, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance, and end-of-life. However, different phases of the lifecycle are supported by different organizations, systems, and standards, each describing assets in similar but different ways. Some of the ways these descriptions differ include: data model, data format, reference data definitions, degree of formalization, naming conventions, data types, etc. As a result, it is difficult to track assets throughout their lifecycle without large amounts of manual effort and re-keying of data.

      The aim of this project is to automate, as much as possible, an approach to linking property definitions from several commonly used reference data sources (namely MIMOSA RDL, IEC CDD, CFIHOS RDL, ISO 15926 RDL/RDL2, ISA) to the datasheet properties describing an asset to achieve semantic interoperability, i.e., to obtain understanding between the different sources. This will involve the utilisation of AI techniques such as schema and ontology matching, Natural Language Processing (NLP), machine learning, and contextual reasoning. Due to the nature of the property definitions, there are several challenges to overcome, such as the brevity of the property names, variation in how the same properties are described, their data types, associations to asset types, presence or lack of detailed definitions of the properties, etc.

      The vacation scholarship student will be involved in several tasks, including the development of adaptors to import data from the different sources (files, API endpoints, etc.) into a common format for processing and linking; application of standard NLP techniques (e.g., tokenisation, stemming, word similarity) and possibly tailored approaches (e.g., rules to handle common naming conventions); application of supervised and unsupervised machine learning (e.g., clustering); perform experiments to determine the effectiveness of the solutions; development of tool/UI to help users select and refine candidate linkages between properties (it is unlikely that complete automation is possible).

      Many of these tasks are supported by common software libraries and do not need to be developed from scratch; however, the candidate will need to have strong problem solving, programming, and analytic skills to explore the datasets, implement adaptors and analyses, and evaluate the alternatives.

      The project will be performed as a series of 2-week sprints for the (preferably) full 8 week duration of the Vacation Scholarship programme. Each sprint will incrementally develop adaptors to import and incorporate new data sets, analyse alternative approaches, and re-evaluate previous approaches that were found to be good on the newly introduced data sets. Progress of the sprints will be monitored, and the plan adapted as required. The end goal being a suite of analyses that can be applied across the different data sets to identify good candidate links.

      Contact person: Dr. Matt Selway and Dr.Karamjit Kaur 


      Apply now

    • Developing Network Inference Methods for Cancer Driver Discovery minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: There is evidence indicating that coding and non-coding genes are key players in cancer progression, and these genes are considered as cancer drivers. In this project, we aim to develop novel computational methods based on the control mechanism of gene regulatory networks to identify coding and non-coding drivers for a specific cancer type and for each individual patient. We believe that with the analysis of network control, we can improve the performance in detecting cancer drivers.

      We also aim to discover non-coding cancer drivers, which are not identified by existing methods. Furthermore, we hope that we can discover several novel cancer drivers, which can then be used as candidates for further experimental validations to confirm their roles in cancer progression.

      Contact person: Mr. Vu Viet Hoang Pham


      Apply now

    • Attack-resilient CubeSat constellations minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Cube satellites, or CubeSats, are miniaturised satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). A recent trend is to deploy a mesh network of CubeSats in LEO that can relay messages from one ground station (or CubeSat) to another ground station (or CubeSat) in multiple hops, i.e., to make CubeSats serve as “routers in space”. This development has major security implications.

      In a space-based network environment where any CubeSat can become compromised due to a significant attack surface, and where the network administrator has only remote (i.e., cyber, nonphysical) access to the nodes, what are the practically implementable strategies that can ensure the network is resilient to cyberattacks, without incurring an unrealistic amount of cost and overhead to the construction, deployment and operation of the network?

      This project will play a small part in answering the preceding overarching research question. In this project, the vacation research scholar will work for 8 weeks under the supervision of Prof Slay (SmartSat Professorial Chair in Cybersecurity), Dr Law and Dr Mulinde and an Honours project student to jointly develop a CubeSat network simulator to demonstrate and quantitatively evaluate the effects of a network-based attack. The scholar’s contribution to the project will be acknowledged in any research publication that results from the joint work.

      The vacation research scholar will ideally be an Australian citizen and come from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering program or the Electrical and Mechatronic Engineering program. The hours spent on the project can go towards the scholar’s Industrial Experience Band 2 credits. 

      Contact person: Prof. Jill Slay, Dr. Yee Wei Law and Dr. Ronald Mulinde 


      Apply now

    • eHealth Literacy, digital health information, global health crises, COVID-19 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: A/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: A/Prof. Tina Du


      Apply now


    • Promoting virtual social connections: studying technology and older adults amid COVID-19 pandemic minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Under the social and physical distancing requirements of COVID-19, one population particularly at risk are those who are older – living alone in their own homes and unable to get out, or those in aged care facilities with restricted or no visiting possible. Technology may play an increasingly important role in this situation whereas it is equally important to ensure the accessibility and usability of (low- tech) solutions for older adults who are usually on the wrong side of the digital divide. 

      Contact person: A/Prof. Tina Du


      Apply now

    • Investigation into the impact of wetland areas on plantation forests minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Wetlands form a critical part of our natural environment providing a range of environmental, social, and economic services. The impact of wetlands on nearby plantation forests is an important component of forest management. It has been observed that the trees near the edge of wetlands show different growth characteristics (e.g. larger tree diameters) than trees further inside. In the South East of South Australia, the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan (LLCWAP) and forest management guidelines for require 20 m setbacks from the edge of wetlands. The main objective of this project study is to analyze the variation in plantation growth close to wetlands in the field and to quantify those variations when moving further away from the wetlands.

      The research complements an existing project which has developed a LIDAR data imputation model which examines the performance on plantation forests in the South East of South Australia. 

      Contact person: Dr. Baden Myers


      Apply now


    • Evaluating the effectiveness of continuous groundwater well monitoring in the South East of South Australia minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The South Australian Department for Environment and Water have operated many groundwater monitoring wells across the South East of South Australia. A key aim of this ongoing monitoring is to inform the science which underpins the Lower Limestone Coast Water Allocation Plan (LLC WAP), a water licencing framework which seeks to ensure that ongoing water use by irrigators and plantation forest owners in the region remains sustainable. Most of the Department’s wells have 10 or more years of manual monitoring data (6 or more records per year including depth and salinity) from which the interannual high and low water depth levels are taken to inform the science underpinning the LLC WAP, and hence, the water volume available for extraction users.

      Since 2010, some monitoring wells have been supplemented with continuous monitoring data logging systems, which may provide a more accurate estimate of annual ‘high’ and ‘low’ water levels, and may also provide more information evidence of recharge in response to significant rainfall. For example, informal checks by UniSA researchers have indicated that manual records of high and low water levels could be 15% higher or lower than those determined using continuous monitoring data.

      The aim of the project will be to assess the manual and continuous monitoring data from wells which have both datasets of both sources and determine whether manual monitoring records correspond with continuous monitoring records. A further goal will be to investigate whether there is obvious recharge evident in conjunction with rainfall.

      Contact person: Dr. Baden Myers


      Apply now

    • Wireless Battery Charging Opportunities and Challenges for Electric Vehicle Applications minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Wireless battery charging is being used in many batteries powered products like smartphones, smart watches, and a host of other small electronic products. Initially aimed at smaller electronic products, wireless charging technology is also being used for larger items including vehicles and many other items as well.

      Wireless charging relies typically utilises inductive coupling between two circuits to transfer the power from one circuit to another. As no direct electrical contact is made it is considerably more convenient and does not rely on connector contacts that can become worn and unreliable after many charge cycles.

      The aim of this project is to study the recent development of wireless battery charging for electric vehicle application.

      Contact person: Dr. Solmaz Kahourzade


      Apply now

    • 3D Printing Technologies for Data Physicalisation Projects minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will conduct a desktop review of 3D printing technologies to identify those that might be suitable for the rapid prototyping of 3D data objects for clients and community use. This extends current research that is being undertaken within the Design Clinic and the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments to explore the technological maturity of various 3D printing technologies. Specifically, the project will develop and apply a framework for the use of 3D printing technologies in user-engagement based on data physicalisation practices. There will also be the opportunity to develop a data physicalisation project working with health related data.

      Skills required:

      • Applicants should be able to undertake a comprehensive desktop search.
      • The ability to synthesize the findings and produce information ‘dashboard’ graphics and a research report would also be desirable.
      • The candidate will have the opportunity to work with Prof Ian Gwilt, Dr Aaron, Ass Prof Ross Smith, and Dr Andrew Cunningham.
      • Suitability: The project would suit a 3rd Year, Hons, Grad Dip, or 1st Year Masters Student in UniSA CREATIVE or STEM.

      Contact person: Prof. Ian Gwilt


      Apply now


    • Habitat recovery after bushfires minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Bushfires and prescribed burns have significant impacts on habitat structure and resource availability for wildlife.  Curiously, research on the effects of prescribed burning is scant. This project aims to establish vegetation structure and composition before prescribed burns, which are being planned by Department for Environment and Water. Vegetation responses to burning will be compared to responses to wildfire sites burnt in the 2019-2020 bushfires.

      We will survey vegetation before and after planned burns in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges and the existing fire scar. These surveys will elucidate findings of the greater project examining vegetation succession and habitat recovery after fires. Students with sound ecological knowledge, plant identification skills, and the ability to conduct fieldwork are encouraged to apply.

      Contact person: Joan Gibbs


      Apply now

    • How do birds and mammals respond to prescribed burns and bushfires in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges? minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This companion project for a greater PhD research project examining the impacts of bushfires and prescribed burning in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges is a great opportunity to understand some of the impacts of bushfires and improve fire management in our region.  In collaboration with the Department for Environment and Water, Adelaide Zoo, and UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences, we are evaluating the impacts of bushfires and prescribed burning on vertebrate wildlife populations and diversity. 

      This summer project aims to determine bird and mammal diversity at proposed prescribed-burning sites and in the 2019-2020 bushfire scar.  These surveys of birds (following protocols of Birdlife Australia) and mammals (using direct observations and trapping) are essential to understand the impacts of fires on vertebrates.  Survey results will be compared between similar burnt and unburnt vegetation associations.  We are seeking motivated students with experience in trapping and bird surveys.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Topa Petit


      Apply now

    • Investigating data ontologies for cultural heritage minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The preparation of a design for a data management infrastructure as the backend of a Cultural Heritage Tourism web-based application. It requires a comprehensive implementation plan highlighting different options around long-term raw data as well as curated data storage, cost, maintenance, retrievability within a carefully conceived ontological framework. The front-end related task design involves considerations of end-users and their technical and administrative capabilities and being in geographically remote locations.

      This project is intended to prototype some sophisticated future-proof framework options for cultural (GLAM galleries, libraries, archives, museums) and institutional sectors (universities) as well potentially Aboriginal remote communities with specific cultural sensitivities in the way they organize and access large quantities of data. The curation of these materials in both their back end and front-end conceptualization should be highly intuitive for administrators and end-users.

      Contact person: Dr Georg Grossmann and Dr Julie Nichols 


      Apply now

    • Visual analytics for improved understanding of child healthcare minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Childcare and child protection is a highly sensitive area and it is important to better understand how childcare processes look like and how they have an impact on the care outcomes for a child. The goal of this project is to analyse anonymous data of childcare cases and investigate new interactive visualisation techniques in combination with process mining to provide new insights into childcare processes and their outcomes in the past.

      Results of this project will feed into predictive analytics techniques to improve the decision making in childcare and provide early warnings for potential unwanted outcomes overall leading to better outcomes of affected children. The project is in collaboration with the ACPreH at SAHMRI.

      Contact person: Dr Jan Stanek and Dr Georg Grossmann


      Apply now

    • Automated Information Extraction from Text Documents minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Students would conduct experiments to assess the effectiveness of machine-learning-based methods for extracting key information and events from documents written in plain English text. Much of today’s information is still contained in written documents such as emails and Word documents (as opposed to structured data stored in databases). To leverage such information for visualisation and decision-making, this information must be automatically extracted so that machines can process and link it with data from other sources. Recent successes in A.I. and machine learning have resulted in powerful text processing systems that can automatically process, transform, and summarise English text. In this project, students will test some of these systems to assess how well they can extract key events, actors, and their relationships in textual descriptions of processes. Documents and systems used in this study will be supplied by the academic supervisor.

      Students will gain knowledge about using state of the art Artificial Intelligence technologies for natural language processing. Students should possess skills in programming in Python.

      The duration of this project would ideally be 8 weeks but could be adjusted based on student preferences.

      Contact person: Dr Wolfgang Mayer


      Apply now

    • Developing RCambium functionality for South Australian commercial pine plantations minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: RCambium is a wood cell growth model that predicts monthly growth and wood formation. When calibrated to the relevant species, growing conditions, and silviculture the model predicts the wood properties of timber grown in plantation trees. When the output of Rcambium is fed into a sawmill simulator, predictions of volume and sawmill grade recovery are available.

      In South Australia, there are some unique forest industry data sets that are available to UniSA that would useful in providing local calibration of RCambium for South Australia’s major structural timber species, radiata pine. The student could write up the outcomes as an evaluation of the current model web platform predictions.

      This project provides the opportunity to work with the developers of the software on the improvement of their system for the benefit of supporting the prime domestic structural timber produced by the South Australian industry.

      The developers are:
      Geoff Downes

      David Drew

      The research complements an existing Forest and Wood Products Australia project.

      Contact person: Dr Jim O’Hehir


      Apply now

    • Enabling rapid prototyping of physical control systems minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: This project will see the student help design an interactive, projection-based system for mocking up functional control systems for Defence, manufacturing, disability assistance, along with others. The student will work within the IVE centre to build off existing projects to build a tool that allows new types of user interfaces to be “mocked up” on life-size replicas, allowing for example a submarine’s control panels to be created, at life-size scale, in a matter of minutes by projecting virtual controls onto foam props. Using depth cameras, we can detect users touching and interacting with the panels, whilst allowing the addition of physical switches, sliders, and levers, simulating a real user interface.

      This project will result in a usable system that can leveraged within IVE for work with real-world clients, including those in Defence. Currently, mockups are made by the UniSA Creative team at City West, however, they take many hours and are not interactive.

      Those with game development experience preferred, but not required.

      Contact person: Dr James Walsh


      Apply now

    • Investigating social trust impact on consumers in a media supply chain-a case study regarding aboriginal culture minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Recent years, the media supply chain becomes ever popular in many types of industries, mostly we find the social trust is created for commercial selling. It is important to understand the mechanism of social media contributes to the success of contemporary supply chain management.

      This project is set to investigate the impact of social trust in culture learning products propagandized via social media. The methodology can utilize artificial neural networks to find learn patterns, therefore, contribute to better media production and add the knowledge input to the media supply chain.

      The case of this project is regarding the finished Aboriginal art product published online for cultural propaganda to learn how people respond to the product.

      Contact person: Dr Li Meng and A/Prof. Thuc Le


      Apply now

    • Multimodal Interaction in Virtual Reality minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: The aim of this project is to investigate and develop Virtual Reality (VR) prototypes for exploring various ideas of multi-modal and multi-sensory interaction methods. The project envisages the interaction methods developed in this project would be used in various MR systems and experiences and eventually used in follow up research projects as a setup for conducting user studies.

      The project will involve using a game engine (e.g. Unity) to develop a VR application and use various sensors (such as an EMG sensor) to detect user's input and motion. Throughout the development, the project will also involve investigating how different interaction modalities enriches user experience in VR. For example, with an EMG sensor combined with a hand tracking sensor, VR users will be able to perform hand gesture interaction with virtual objects in a way that reflects how much force is exerted, e.g. needing to hold with stronger force to lift heavier virtual objects.

      Contact person: Dr Gun Lee


      Apply now

    • Development of marine ecotoxicology tests for metal exposure during 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 that will re-liberate metals currently sequestered in sediments back into the marine environment, potentially impacting broader areas outside of the channel. 

      This project will develop 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 at UniSA focus on reproduction and early development in broadcast spawning marine invertebrates and algae (e.g. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety,172:547-555), but we are also developing survival assays for other benthic bryozoans and ascidians.

      Contact person: A/Prof. Craig Styan


      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 findings, 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.

      Contact person: Dr Andrew Cunningham


      Apply now

    • Machine learning algorithms for object recognition in industrial applications using Augmented Reality minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: In this project, students will implement machine learning algorithms in the Microsoft HoloLens 2, an augmented reality headset that can merge computer graphics with what the wearing is seeing in the real world. This project will have the successful student simulating an industrial application, e.g., pipe inspection in a building or meat inspection in a packing plant.

      The system developed will use the Hololens 2 and machine learning algorithms to highlight spotted defects within the user’s view and may even provide contextual information about the defect. Students will learn advanced augmented reality technologies and will be exposed to machine learning algorithms.

      Contact person: Dr Andrew Cunningham


      Apply now

    • Large network information visualisation 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 is 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, how 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 globally connected age, where social networks can involve tens of thousands of people. The analyst requires tools that support the interrogation of the network 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

    • Hydrogen and biofuels fuels for the future minus-thick plus-thick


      Project Summary: Combinations of renewable hydrogen and biofuels are set to replace fossil fuels in many industrial processes and long-haul transport (such as aircraft and cargo ship engines). To make the switch, engineers need to be able to model combustion behaviour in these settings to understand the limitations of these alternative fuels and minimise the formation of pollutants.

      This project will focus on modelling jet flames relevant to these conditions, using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and building on second- (and third-)year undergraduate mechanical engineering coursework.

      Contact person: Dr Michael Evans


      Apply now

    • Exploring the success of post-fire nestbox installations on Kangaroo Island minus-thick plus-thick

      Project summary: The 2019/2020 Kangaroo Island bushfire burnt nearly 2/3 of the island. The bushfire caused short term loss of habitat for some native fauna species, including those that rely on tree hollows. Throughout 2020 UniSA researchers and volunteers have installed nestboxes for pygmy-possums and bats to provide them with essential resources. To understand the success of these nestboxes for better decisioning on where to place nestboxes in the future, this project involves a GIS-based desktop analysis investigating relationship between nestbox features (location, orientation, height, type) and local environmental and topographical features (distance to water, grasstrees, unburnt areas etc.)

      Contact person: Dr. Stefan Peters



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 and those enrolled in a coursework masters program.
    • 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. 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: 17 September 2021

    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: 17 September 2021

    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



2022 QS Stars Ratings



2022 THE Young University Rankings