The UQ Summer Research Scholarship Program provides UQ students with an opportunity to gain research experience working alongside some of the University’s leading academics and researchers.

Each year the School of Social Science offers research placement opportunities for students through the UQ Summer Research Scholarship Program.

Applications will open for the 2021-22 Summer Research Program in August 2021. Please check back closer to the date.

Find an upcoming Summer Research Project or discover more information about the program here.

Upcoming Summer 2021 Research Projects

Responding to Homelessness in a Post-COVID-19 World: New Solutions to Old Problems

Project title: 

Responding to Homelessness in a Post-COVID-19 World: New Solutions to Old Problems
Project duration: 10 weeks
Description:

Homelessness is one of Australia’s most chronic social problems. In Queensland alone, an estimated half a million Australians have experienced homelessness at some point in their lifetime. While significant efforts have been directed towards addressing this issue, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced both government and community organisations to re-think how they respond to homelessness. With restrictions on public gatherings and social distancing becoming the norm, traditional policy responses to homelessness such as congregate-style shelters have become untenable. Consequently, new models of housing, including placing the homeless in motels and student-style accommodations, have been introduced as an alternative solution to homelessness.

Nevertheless, it is unclear how these new models of housing are being implemented and if they are able to adequately address the issue of homelessness. Moreover, there remain significant knowledge gaps about the homeless population including the types of support they require, the forms of housing available to them, the extent to which they are accessing secure housing, and their pathways into and out of housing. This research project aims to fill these gaps and provide recommendations for achieving sustainable reductions in homelessness within Brisbane. 

We are seeking a Summer Scholar to help contribute to several interrelated projects in this space by undertaking a range of tasks, including:

  • Reviewing relevant academic and non-academic literature on responses to homelessness and building an Endnote database of references;
  • Outlining key gaps in the homelessness literature, and identifying possible contributions given the available data;
  • Identifying and collecting publicly available data related to housing and homelessness that can be used to supplement the qualitative and quantitative data from the project; 
  • Contributing to the preparation and analysis of quantitative and/or qualitative data; 
  • Assisting in the preparation of ethics application and reports; 
  • Proofreading of research and other administrative documents; and
  • Other ad hoc tasks as they arise.
Expected outcomes and deliverables: Scholars will improve their understanding of the end-to-end research process, enhance their analytical and research communication skills, and gain experience in working as part of a team. More broadly, they will develop a deeper understanding of homelessness and associated social problems, and the various policy responses to address them.
The skills and knowledge gained by participation in this project will be useful for subsequent research degrees, including Honours, Masters and PhD.
Suitable for: This project is open to undergraduate and postgraduate applicants with an interest in applied social research. Experience with qualitative and/or quantitative research methods is desirable but not required.
Primary Supervisor: Ella Kuskoff and Christine Ablaza (primary co-supervisors).
Other team members and associate supervisors include Cameron Parsell, Francisco Perales and Andrew Clarke.
Further info:

Students can contact Ella Kuskoff at e.kuskoff@uq.edu.au prior to submitting an application, though this is not essential.

The use of automated technologies and Artificial Intelligence in social services – case study analyses 

Project title: 

The use of automated technologies and Artificial Intelligence in social services – case study analyses 
Project duration: 6-10 weeks
Description:

Automation in decision making is being used more and more in the social services. Examples include Robodebt, risk scoring of children at risk, and automated assessment for social security payments. These technologies are proliferating so quickly that it is difficult to know what is happening and where. While attempts have been made to map such autonomous technologies in government, most research has focused on Europe or North America. There has been little sustained research on the use of autonomous technologies in Australia and the Asia pacific. This project aims to fill this gap in knowledge by focusing on social services in Australia and the Asia pacific.  
The aim of this student project is to complete small case study/ies of the use of automated technology, which will be included in a Centre of Excellence report that will be launched in February 2021.

The case study can be one of the following, selected by the student: 

Automated technologies (possible case studies) 

  • Nadia NDIS Chat bot
  • Robodebt
  • Childstory reporter (NSW Child Protection)
  • Other?

Jurisdictions (possible case studies)

  • Australia
  • Vietnam
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Fiji
  • Japan
  • Other?

There is room for the student to suggest a different relevant case study/ies, if they have special interest. 
The case study will involve desk top research and data analysis, and result in an approximately 1000-word report that will be included as a case study in a larger report (with the student accredited as author of the case study). 
One or two students can be assigned to this project, working on different case studies which interest them. 

This project will be located in UQ Node of the ARC Centre for Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society, based at the School of Social Science. The resulting case study will become part of an official Centre research report. There is also the possibility of co-authoring a journal article based on the case study. 

Expected outcomes and deliverables: Scholars will gain skills in data collection, analysis and report writing, as well as developing social understandings of digital technology. The scholar will also have the opportunity to contribute to an ADM+S Centre research report (as contributor or co-author, depending on type of contribution), and build professional connections with Australia’s multidisciplinary leaders in the social, legal and ethical dimensions of new and emerging digital technologies (including Artificial Intelligence). There is also the possibility of co-authoring a journal acritical based on the case study. 
Suitable for: This project is open to applications from students with a background in social science, 3-4 year or postgraduate students. High level analysis and writing skills. 
Primary Supervisor: Dr Lyndal Sleep, Professor Paul Henman
Further info:

If applicants would like to contact supervisor prior to submitting an application, please contact Lyndal via email l.sleep@uq.edu.au with questions or to arrange a time to chat

Feel like quitting: Analysing the emotions of smokers undergoing lung cancer screening

Project title: 

Feel like quitting: Analysing the emotions of smokers undergoing lung cancer screening
Project duration: 6-8 weeks
Description:

The International Lung Screen Trial (ILST) is a large cohort study of lung cancer screening. This project supports the Brisbane arm of this trial. In conjunction with the School of Social Science, clinician-researchers at The Prince Charles Hospital and UQTRC are undertaking a sub-study to the ILST into the emotional dimensions of lung cancer screening experiences for long-term smokers. The successful applicant will analyse facial data using state-of-the art emotion recognition software. Observed facial expression will be correlated to interview transcripts (verbal expression / speech) to enable conclusions about the emotional experiences of lung cancer screening. 

Expected outcomes and deliverables: Scholars can expect to sharpen their statistical analysis skills and gain advanced skills in using the emotion recognition software iMotions. 
Suitable for:

This project will be of interest to computer science students, bioinformatics students or pre-med students. Biomedical science or Social Science students with experience in bio/statistics, and in using quantitative software may also have the required skills. UQ enrolled students only. 

Other desirable qualities:

  • Team-oriented
  • Self-directed
  • Willing to learn
  • Have at least basic coding and IT skills
  • Have an interest in big data
  • Have an interest in harnessing technology for health
  • Have excellent communication skills
Primary Supervisor: A/Prof Rebecca E. Olson, School of Social Science
Secondary supervisors: A/Prof Henry Marshall (TPCH); Dr Felicia Goh (Medicine Program)
Further info:

Students looking for more information can contact r.olson@uq.edu.au or f.goh@uq.edu.au 

The UQ Winter Research Scholarship Program provides students with an opportunity to gain research experience working alongside some of the University's leading academics and researchers.

Each year the School of Social Science offers research placement opportunities for students through the UQ Winter Research Scholarship Program.

Applications for the 2021 Winter Research Program have closed.