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[CALL] Funded PhDs in Australia (Deadline Sep 30)

The Urban Informatics Research Lab at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, is seeking exceptional candidates to fill two PhD scholarships on the topic of:

  • PhD #1: Crowdsourcing and Physical Computing for Risk Assessment
  • PhD #2: Spatial Information and Participatory Visualisation for Risk Assessment


We are seeking two highly motivated PhD candidates to join the team of an Australian Research Council Linkage project engaged with partners in the insurance industry to investigate the potential of participatory visualisation of crowdsourced information for risk assessment. The aim of the broader project is to pioneer and evaluate innovative interaction and visualisation approaches that allow the insurance sector to include social media and crowdsourced data for risk identification and assessment. This data, combined with traditional risk assessment information, is a promising source of information, offering time-critical insights into emerging hazards and threats. This collaborative program of research will deliver methods and tools to crowdsource data from contributors through sensing and active sharing, as well as novel interaction and visualisation approaches that aid in the analysis of the resulting data.

The PhD candidates will be supervised by the ARC Linkage team of chief investigators: Prof. Marcus Foth, Dr Markus Rittenbruch, and Dr Peta Mitchell of the Urban Informatics Research Lab. This position will be located on QUT’s Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane, Australia, and will commence in March 2016.


PhD #1: Crowdsourcing and Physical Computing for Risk Assessment

Central to our research is the question how to effectively engage citizens in the process of identifying and sharing risk-related information, in particular by supporting direct participatory processes such as crowdsourcing approaches.  This PhD projects will investigate approaches for crowdsourcing risk-related information using innovative mobile sensing technology. The project will explore how to effectively combine physical computing and mobile interaction approaches. This involves designing and building a set of custom sensors using hardware prototyping platforms such as Arduino and explore interaction models around collecting and reporting risk information.


PhD#2: Spatial Information and Participatory Visualisation for Risk Assessment

Spatial information plays a key role in risk identification and assessment for the insurance industry, and the meaningful geo-visualisation of identified risks (e.g., in the form of flood risk maps) can be of benefit both to insurers and the insured. This PhD project will focus on the role and function of various forms of spatial data in risk assessment, including industry/government-level data, volunteered geographic information (VGI) from crowdsourcing, and emergent forms of ambient geographic information (AGI) from geosocial media. The project will also focus on approaches to geovisualisation that incorporate the use of large multi-touch displays, such as wall and tabletop displays.


Applicant Requirements

  • First-class honours or masters by research degree in Computer Science, Data Science or related fields.
  • Demonstrated expertise in Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Geoinformatics, Urban Informatics, or related areas.
  • Effective written, interpersonal and digital communication skills.
  • (Desirable PhD #1) Knowledge of interaction design and user experience approaches, including user studies & evaluation approaches
  • (Desirable PhD #1) Knowledge of physical computing, tangible interaction approaches, and crowdsourcing tools and techniques
  • (Desirable PhD #2) Knowledge of spatial information and information visualisation
  • (Desirable PhD #2) Experience in working with a range of spatial information sources, including VGI and geosocial media data