An ARC DP and two ARDC Grants Awarded to HCI Researchers

30 November 2020

Our HCI researchers have been successful in this year’s round of ARC Discovery Projects (ARC DP), gaining one ARC DP grant, and also two Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) grants, for a total of three new funded projects. These project teams are led by experienced academics from our group, investigating a range of issues and generating innovative developments across digital browsing, human mobility and social media research. 

An ARC DP grant has been awarded to A/Prof George Buchanan, A/Prof Stanton Chang and Dr Dana McKay, all in the School of Computing and Information Systems, for an innovative research project titled Improving Interactions for Digital Browsing of Large Collections. The three year project combines research interests in visual and cognitive attention; browsing and human information behaviour; and digital innovation and information.This project will be creating a detailed and systematic account of user behaviour in browsing, creating novel designs that will accelerate the discovery of information - particularly, for innovative work. Although browsing for information has become an established and fundamental part of how people source the knowledge they need, our current understanding of how browsing either succeeds or fails is limited. While digital search tools are highly refined, digital browsing tools are manifestly ineffective. The project aims to create new insights into how people visually scan when browsing. That fundamental knowledge will help in designing new, effective tools for digital browsing that will significantly impact all Australian information providers, and the industries that depend on innovating through information to succeed, from agriculture to banking.

In addition, the ARDC awarded a grant to Prof Vassilis Kostakos and Dr Nic Geard, as part of the Australian Data Partnerships program. The project will develop “A comprehensive national scale human mobility data asset for Australia”, in a collaboration with QUT, AURIN and led by CSIRO. It addresses the challenge of transforming available mobility data into a consistent format that is suitable for analysis in a broad range of research areas. Merging the various individual datasets into Australia’s first comprehensive, national-scale human mobility data asset drastically improves the quality and coverage of existing datasets. The final data asset will be hosted and made publicly available on the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN). Users will be able to download origin-destination movement flows at different spatial and temporal resolutions through an API. In addition to infectious disease modelling, the final data asset is of interest in numerous other areas of science, such as transport analytics, emergency and disaster management, and border security.

Finally, the Australian Research Data Commons also awarded an Australian Data Partnerships program grant to Prof Richard Sinnott and A/Prof George Buchanan, to establish the national social media platform for Australia. The project is a coalition including world leading researchers from Queensland University of Technology, the University of Melbourne, and the University of New South Wales, with an extensive number of collaborators from industry and other universities. Led by Sach Jayasinghe from QUT, the project’s Melbourne team also includes Dr Dana McKay from the HCI Group and Dr Renata Borovica-Gajic from computer science. Several colleagues from digital health, computer science and artificial intelligence will be collaborating in the project.

The new Digital Data Observatory will allow researchers from across Australia to discover and analyse social media data in one online service. Melbourne’s contribution will build on Prof. Sinnott’s eResearch leadership over many years, A/Prof Buchanan and Dr McKay’s digital library and interaction expertise, and Dr. Borovica-Gajic’s knowledge on automatic management of large-scale systems. We will help ensure that this world-leading online source will be usable for thousands of researchers across Australia and the world.

Congratulations to our great team, on these exciting new opportunities!