3 December 1998

$1.25 million Key Centre grant for University

The University of Queensland has been awarded a $1.25 million Australian Research Council (ARC) grant to establish a Key Centre for Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Psychology.

The University's human factors application was one of only eight successful applications among the 82 which sought ARC funding.

The grant was among $210 million in Federal research grants for 1999 announced by the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp.

The funding, over three years, will see the Centre established in the University's Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Its research program will integrate basic theoretical issues, such as the role of memory and reasoning processes in work performance, with practical issues of direct relevance to industry such as the design of computer operating systems and the management of workload, safety and fatigue.

Director Professor Michael Humphreys said the Centre would make "a significant contribution to such important applied problems such as safety and workplace productivity."

"It should also stimulate research in cognitive psychology by making the research more relevant,'' he said.

The Centre will offer a PhD program, conduct research, and serve as a contact, referral, and co-ordination centre for human factors expertise throughout Australia.

It will consist of a core and affiliated nodes, with the core in the University's St Lucia campus.

The affiliated nodes are at the Perceptual and Motor Systems Laboratory in the University's Human Movement Studies Department (Health Sciences Faculty), the Psychology Department at Macquarie University in Sydney, the Psychology Department at the University of New South Wales, the School of Psychology at the University of South Australia, and the Swinburne Computer-Human Interaction Laboratory at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Students will be able to enrol in the PhD program in human factors and applied cognitive psychology at any of the participating institutions and take Web-based subjects provided at the other institutions.

For more information, contact Professor Humphreys (telephone 07 3365-6670 or email mh@psy.uq.edu.au).