HPRNet Scholarship - Enhancing Human Performance in Complex Environments

About this scholarship

The University of South Australia has one PhD scholarship available for a student to conduct research into enhancing human performance in complex environments through the integration of virtual reality, wearable computing, cognitive neuroscience and mental training. The research will explore how physiological sensors and EEG systems can be used in conjunction with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to create virtual training systems that can monitor the cognitive state of users. The target application is training soldiers for the Australian military.

A range of different topics will be explored in the PhD project. State-of-the-art mobile recordings of electrical brain activity (EEG) and other physiological signals will monitor cognitive performance while trainees are immersed in detailed virtual simulations of vehicle control, tactical situations and command control environments. Different training scenarios will be created to assess how cognitive enhancement through mental training impacts on performance. Sophisticated wearable monitoring of cognitive function (using wearable EEG and other physiological sensors) will also be tested and evaluated. The main novelty of this research will be using sensors to measure cognitive load in real time while people are performing a virtual training task.

The successful candidates will work with Professor Mark Billinghurst from the Empathic Computing Laboratory and Professor Bruce Thomas from the Wearable Computing Laboratory. See www.empathiccomputing.org for more information about the research of the Empathic Computing Lab and http://wearables.unisa.edu.au/ for information about the Wearable Computing Laboratory.

The PhD project will be part of a larger research project funded by the Australian Army. This will give the student the opportunity to work with a group of other researchers from Information Technology, Engineering, Education and NeuroScience. The team has a functioning “Holodeck” virtual reality environment, a wide range of wearable computing devices, world leading expertise on human-machine interaction, a strong cognitive neuroscience and training research focus and substantial Defence technology experience.

This PhD scholarship would be ideal for a student with a background in Computer Science or Engineering who has an interest in training in Virtual Environments and interest in or experience with physiological sensors and EEG systems.


The scholarship provides a living allowance of $30,000/annum for 3 years with the option to apply for a 6 month extension


The scholarship is open to domestic students: Australian and New Zealand citizens and Permanent Residents of Australia

The successful recipient should have the following interests and skills:

  • an interest in developing training systems
  • skills or an interest in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
  • an interest in human computer interaction

How to Apply and Closing Date

The scholarship will remain open for applications until filled.

Applications and enquiries should be directed to Mark Billinghurst:

Mark.Billinghurst@unisa.edu.au or 08 8302 3747