In 2019 the Research Network for Undersea Decision Superiority launched and opened its first call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for projects aligned to the Network’s Strategic Investment Plan.
Subject to a two-stage assessment process, project EOIs had to demonstrate alignment with the Network Strategic Investment Plan and advancement of Australia’s sovereign research capacity and capability in the human sciences.
Forty compliant EOIs were received and eleven projects were down-selected and invited to submit a full proposal. Following a rigorous merit assessment by the Network’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC), against four technical and strategic selection criteria, five projects were recommended by the Network Advisory Board to DSTG. These projects are now underway.
Round 1 Projects
|Measuring and Augmenting Mental and Team Performance in Future Submarine Control Rooms
|Professor Shayne Loft
|University of Western Australia (UWA)
|University of Queensland (UQ), University of Tasmania (UTAS), Macquarie University, University of Southampton
|Identifying neurobiological markers of high mental performance and optimal decision making in individuals and teams
|Professor Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky
|University of South Australia (UniSA)
|Circadian optimised submariner performance through smart LED lighting
|Professor Peter Catcheside
|Flinders University (Flinders)
|UniSA, REDARC Electronics
|Evaluation of Wearable Technologies for Sleep, Fatigue and Endurance Prediction (Literature review)
|Professor Mark Griffin
|Curtin University (Curtin)
|1 year (Project complete)
|Implementation of routine "eccentric" exercises to maintain health and fitness, improve vigilance and attention, and optimise decision making in the submarine
|Professor Ken Nosaka
|Edith Cowan University (ECU)
|Curtin University (Curtin)
Measuring and Augmenting Mental and Team Performance in Future Submarine Control Rooms
Professor Shayne Loft, Dr Ben Lane and their team at the University of Western Australia, in conjunction with collaborators at UQ, UTAS, Macquarie and the University of South Hampton, are utilising the control room use simulation environment (CRUSE) developed by DST at UWA to investigate the important psychological parameters underpinning team performance. The project will develop and validate a new model and measure of team processes and determine their relationship to team performance, develop a novel objective method for monitoring and predicting team mental workload and team task engagement in real-time and examine how team workload, individual differences in operator cognitive capacity, and individual differences in operator social cue utilisation, drive team processes and team performance.
Identifying Neurobiological Markers of High Mental Performance and Optimal Decision Making in Individuals and Teams
Professor Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky at the University of South Australia is leading a multidisciplinary team of researchers from Cognitive Neuroscience, Psychology and Business Management investigating whether innovative, practical and reliable neurobiological markers can be established for identifying personnel with optimal cognitive capabilities and learning potential. Ina’s project will provide guidelines and protocols for an evidence-based approach to enhancing cognitive and learning capacities through optimised cognitive training techniques with integrated neural technology. The evidence from this project will inform whether team-based decision-making is best enhanced by teams composed either of similar or different neurobiological marker profiles.
Circadian optimised submariner performance through smart LED lighting
This project will investigate a strategy to help maximise human cognitive effectiveness in an encapsulated work environment through evidence-based LED lighting design interventions. This project, led by Professor Peter Catcheside and post-doctoral researcher Dr Hannah Scott from Flinders University, with collaborators from UniSA and lighting manufacturer REDARC, will explore work shift schedules, operational cognitive requirements and individual differences representative of the challenges posed for circadian entrainment in an encapsulated work environment and assess the feasibility and effectiveness of using tailored smart lighting to improve alertness and cognitive measures.
Evaluation of Wearable Technologies for Sleep, Fatigue and Endurance Prediction
Wearable psycho-physiological monitoring technologies (WPMT) offer passive and ongoing assessment of human health and are useful tools for providing new insights into safety, performance, and efficiency in a range of high-stakes environments. This project, led by Professor Mark Griffin and carried out by Dr Michael Wilson from the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University, has produced a review of the current evidence and standards across a range of wearable technologies and established a knowledge base regarding the state of the science of current WPMT metrics.
This review is available to RN-UDS members and DST and Defence stakeholders. For more information contact EA-HQF@qfg.qrsrapr.tbi.nh
Implementation of routine eccentric exercises to maintain health and fitness, improve vigilance and attention, and optimise decision making in the submarine
This project, led by experienced exercise scientist, Professor Ken Nosaka at Edith Cowan University, will develop an exercise program that requires minimal time and space to complete, yet is effective for maintaining health and physical fitness as well as improving vigilance and attention. Applications for wearable technologies that integrate with the exercise program to improve program adherence will be developed, and a feasibility study will be run to investigate the effects of the exercise program on health, fitness, cognitive function, and quality of life in on-shore workers with the aim of producing a program that has the potential to better the physical and cognitive health of personnel deployed for long stretches of time.
Round 2 Projects
In early 2020 the Network’s second call for expressions of interest (EOIs) for project proposals opened, specifically aimed at advancing early-to-mid-career researchers (EMCRs) as project lead investigators. Identifying and supporting promising new research talent and promoting enhanced opportunities for diverse career pathways for EMCRs will help the Network meet its objective of building Australia’s sovereign research capability and capacity in the human sciences.
This call was very competitive and the quality of the applications was very high. The total investment in round 2 was ~$1.43M and the leverage amount (cash and in-kind) $3.4M (approximately a 1:2.4 leverage ratio).
The recommended projects will involve a total of up to eighteen undergraduate honours or Masters students, five PhD students and thirteen EMCRs.
|Development of a computational model of adversarial decision making to support human-AI teaming in the undersea environment
|Dr Tim Ballard
|University of Queensland (UQ)
|University of Tasmania (UTAS), University of Western Australia (UWA)
|Enhancing decision making through speech biometrics
|Dr Michelle Magee / Professor Adam Vogel
|University of Melbourne (UoM)
|“Teach a man to fish”: Decision aids that support both learning and performance in complex environments.
|Dr Oren Griffith
|Flinders University (Flinders)
|University of Adelaide (UoA), DST
|Optimising team decision-making effectiveness: The role of adaptive leadership and team environment for trust and voice
|Dr Ruchi Sinha
|University of South Australia (UniSA)
|Australian Catholic University (ACS), UoM, UWA
|Reducing uncertainty in perceptual decision making by training awareness of neurocognitive states
|Dr Dragan Rangelov
|Monash University (Monash), UoM
|Using virtual reality to create novel metrics of expertise in safety-critical decision making
|Dr Matthew Thompson
|Murdoch University (Murdoch)
|Edith Cowan University (ECU), DST
Development of a computational model of adversarial decision making to support human-AI teaming in the undersea environment
This project will use a state-of-the-art model of human decision-making to understand how humans make decisions against adversaries and examine ways to support human-AI teaming in adversarial contexts. Dr Tim Ballard and the team at UQ, UTAS and UWA will develop a computer-based decision task and then use this task to develop and test the model. In the final phase of the project, the team will examine whether the model can be used as an AI agent, enabling the human to achieve decision superiority against an adversary.
“Teach a man to fish”: Decision aids that support both learning and performance in complex environments.
Submariners must interpret increasingly voluminous sensor data and sophisticated analyses so as to understand their environment and determine the best course of action. This project led by Dr Oren Griffith from Flinders University will test whether shaping the human-machine interaction to exploit well-understood human attention and learning mechanisms can result in sustainable, resilient performance improvements. The aim is to achieve this goal by prioritising the development of operator expertise rather than merely focusing on the fastest decisions.
Using virtual reality to create novel metrics of expertise in safety-critical decision making
This human mental performance project led by Matt Thompson at Murdoch University, in association with Dr Luke Hopper at ECU, will use fully immersive 360-degree virtual reality to develop a metric of visuo-spatial decision-making expertise, analytical expertise and meta-decision making expertise. This metric will afford the possibility of detecting individual differences and high performers in the general population, and help select, retain and train personnel in professions that require safety-critical decision-making skills.
Reducing uncertainty in perceptual decision making by training awareness of neurocognitive states
Optimal decisions require a balance of speed and accuracy. This can be achieved through adjustments of an operator’s response criterion. This project, led by Dr Dragan Rangelov from The University of Queensland, will use computational modelling of behavioural and neural data to determine whether criterion adjustments depend on random fluctuations or ‘noise’ in internal states of the observer. A novel neurofeedback approach will be implemented to determine whether operators can be trained to use noise estimation to reduce uncertainty and optimise their decisions.
Optimising team decision-making effectiveness: The role of adaptive leadership and team environment for trust and voice
Submarine teams include technical experts and leaders who operate in unpredictable and low-information environments. Superior team performance - characterised by low tactical errors and unbiased decisions - is most likely when adaptive leaders shape optimal levels of trust and voice among members as operational incidents unfold. This project, led by Dr Ruchi Sinha from The University of South Australia, with a team of experts from UWA, ACU, UoM and UTAS, will utilise a mixed-method design to advance the understanding of the role of adaptive leadership and team environment (trust and voice) on team effectiveness in extreme action teams. It will deliver a practical guide for trainers on the types of team leadership behaviours and team environment features that are most suited for high team performance.
Enhancing decision making through speech biometrics
Stress affects decision-making. In high-stress military operations, where a decision can mean life or death, it is crucial to accurately and dynamically track an operator’s stress levels in-situ and to draw useful correlates with optimal decision-making/mental performance. This project, co-led by University of Melbourne researchers Dr Michelle Magee and Professor Adam Vogel will deliver a sensitive stress monitoring biometric speech algorithm that will have potential tri-service and multi-platform utility with immediate potential in a submariner context.