Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Tobias Loetscher

Main Campus

Applications Close
25 Sep 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

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

Project Stipend:
$32,500 p.a. (Domestic only)

About this project

Implementation of virtual reality technologies in disability organisations 

If you are concerned about improving outcomes for those living with a disability and are interested in the augmented reality industry, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within Behaviour-Brain-Body Research Centre, in partnership with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and Community Bridging Services (CBS) Inc. 

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports over 500,000 individuals, with the aim of improving their quality of life. However, with NDIS spending spiralling, we urgently need to develop innovative, cost-effective therapies. 

A growing body of evidence suggests that virtual reality (VR) technologies can offer a promising solution for cost-effective therapies. VR interventions have the potential to create safe and controlled learning environments for individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders, helping them improve their skills.  

However, despite these encouraging results, there is still a significant gap in our understanding of how to implement VR technologies in disability organisations. 

Our project seeks to address this challenge by bridging the research-practice gap and paving the way for the widespread adoption of VR technologies in disability organisations. In collaboration with the NDIA and the disability service provider, Community Bridging Services Inc, we seek to synthesise and evaluate the evidence of positive outcomes of virtual technologies in people with disabilities.  

We will also identify barriers to and facilitators of implementation in disability organisations, develop recommendations for successful implementation, and pilot the recommendations in the end-user’s organisation to ensure their practical feasibility.  

You will join a project that has the potential to inform NDIS policy on the use of VR technologies and facilitate a widespread uptake of the technology in disability organisations.   

You will be based at the BBB Research Centre within the Cognitive Ageing and Impairment Neurosciences (CAIN) Lab. With access to world-class expertise and outstanding facilities and equipment, you’ll be well positioned to thrive in your studies and launch your career post-graduation. 

What you’ll do 

In this project-based research degree, you will undertake hands-on research, collecting data at different disability organisations. We will support and encourage you to publish in leading journals in the field and present your findings at leading national (at least twice) and international conferences (one face-to-face and at least one online).  

You will also be required to produce recommendation reports for successfully implementing VR technologies, targeted at disability organisations. 

A 3-month internship at the NDIA (Adelaide Branch) within the first six months of your candidature will give you the opportunity to witness how research is translated to the real world and build up an impressive suite of practical skills and knowledge. 

The skills you will gain through your project-based research degree will prepare you to be a leader in your field, you will gain practical experience and skills in emerging technologies, including virtual technologies and augmented reality. 

Where you’ll be based 

You’ll be based within BBB. We examine the underlying psychosocial and bio-behavioural factors that impact effective and successful human cognitive performance. We conduct basic and theoretical research in our laboratories to better understand behaviour and cognitive performance, and then translate this knowledge for industry and community partners.  

We take a solutions-based approach to predict, prevent, detect or intervene to optimise healthy brain function, healthy workplaces, and healthy relationships with technology. Financial Support

per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders.  Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included.  For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:  
  • Honours degree (or equivalent qualification) in psychology, education or a related field
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work in team and independently
  • Interest in new technologies such as virtual reality
  • Experience in working with people who have neurodevelopmental or neurological disorders
  • Experience in stakeholder and government engagement
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. 

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Magill Campus in the east of Adelaide. 

Essential Dates 

For all projects: Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Monday, 25 September, 2023 

How to apply:

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

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

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