Scholarship details

Study levels


Student type

Future students

Study area

Creative practice and communication and design

Eligibility criteria

Academic performance

Application dates

Applications close
30 September 2020

What you'll receive

This scholarship is for exceptional students to complete a PhD on data visualisation and smart cities. The scholarship is part of the Value Australia project, funded by FrontierSI and QUT and based at QUT’s Design Lab.

A scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually $28,092 per annum for a period of three years will be provided to the successful applicant.

Paid leave is provided equivalent to QUTPRA scholarships. The scholarship does provide a student travel allowance but does not cover relocation expenses or paid extensions.

International students will also receive either:

  • an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Fees Offset (International)
  • a QUT research degree (HDR) tuition fee scholarship.

As the scholarship recipient, you will have the opportunity to work with a team of leading researchers, to undertake your own innovative research in and across the fields of Interaction Design and Urban Informatics, and to gain an internationally recognised postgraduate qualification.

The scholarship will be governed by QUTPRA rules. Attribution of Intellectual Property (IP) are governed by the project agreement between FrontierSI and QUT.


To apply for this scholarship, you must meet the entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT, including any English language requirements for international students.

You must also:

  • have recently completed a first-class Honours degree, a research Masters degree, or a coursework Masters degree with a significant research component from a recognised institution and in a cognate discipline
  • be able to take up the scholarship and begin full-time study preferably in October/November 2020, but before the end of December 2020
  • have a strong interest in undertaking a three-year research project on data visualisation and smart cities
  • develop a research proposal that responds to and aligns with the scholarship topic, that demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the topic area, and that clearly articulates the contribution your research will make
  • demonstrate excellent capacity and potential for research.

Ideally you will also have (not necessary but preferred):

  • demonstrated knowledge in the fields of Interaction Design, Human-Computer Interaction, Data Visualisation and Smart City Data.

How to apply

To apply for this scholarship, email an Expression of Interest including the following to Associate Professor Markus Rittenbruch ( by 11 September 2020:

  • a cover letter
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae (CV), including recent IELTS or equivalent score for international applicants
  • your full academic transcript
  • a two-page research proposal addressing the scholarship topic
  • a writing sample (e.g., copy of an article/essay/thesis you have written
  • details of three referees (email/address/contact number).

What happens next?

We are aiming to fill this scholarship as soon as possible, but the scholarship will remain open until 30 September 2020.

For more information about the scholarship or application process please contact Associate Professor Markus Rittenbruch (

About the scholarship

This PhD project will be affiliated with FrontierSI and Value Australia and contribute to its goals and objectives around smart cities, digital twins, and automated land valuations. Although consumers contribute much of the data upon which these smart city technologies operate, its systems often remain opaque black boxes closed off to public understanding, scrutiny and control. There are also serious concerns around privacy and loss of autonomy.

This PhD project addresses these issues by exploring new methods for the participatory visualisation of smart city data, which at the same time employ good data practices that embed privacy-by-design and autonomy-by-design principles for future-proof smart cities. The project recognises that urban data and spatial information in the digital age has the potential to make our cities more liveable, sustainable, and equitable. Yet this potential can only be realised if the social licence to operate a smart city is underpinned by good data practices. The proposal’s focus on data ethics is a fundamental imperative underpinning all of Value Australia’s work. Therefore, this PhD scholarship will tackle specific spatial data research challenges around smart city data analytics, participatory visualisation, data ethics, and integrity.

The scholarship is suited for future research domestic or international students interested in Interaction Design, Human-Computer Interaction and Data Visualisation and Carrying out applied design-led research, situated within the Creative Industries Faculty and the QUT Design Lab.

About Value Australia

Funded by a CRC-P grant, Value Australia is a FrontierSI-led nationwide underpinning valuation model built on next generation digital infrastructure. It integrates significant data assets from public and private organisations (such as the Valuer Generals across Australia, and the Domain Group). It draws on collective partner capabilities, and develops cutting edge analytical and visualisation research in a world-leading integrated cloud-based decision support dashboard. This will be co-designed with key users in the private sector (banks, real estate, insurance, land developers, property sales), government (councils, valuer general, planning, transportation) and home buyers/sellers to deploy the next generation of effective decision support for all stakeholders involved in land decisions.

About FrontierSI

FrontierSI, a not-for-profit company, was established following 15 years of operations as the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information. We deliver major benefits to governments, industry and the community using our deep expertise in spatial mapping, infrastructures, positioning, geodesy, analytics and standards. FrontierSI provides the infrastructure and collaborative research environment necessary to enable our partners to build the teams and access the expertise and advice required to tackle big, cross-sectoral spatial research challenges capable of addressing Australia’s key economic, social and environmental concerns. FrontierSI is a not-for-profit research and development corporation that directs surplus partner-subscriptions and commissioned project funds into its research program to enable co-funding of research projects with and for our partners.

About QUT Design Lab

Design is no longer just the pursuit of creating objects or artefacts. It is a method and a research approach able to drive Australia’s National Innovation agenda.

Harnessing this potential, the QUT Design Lab was founded in 2016 to employ bold, fresh, and rigorous design-led research to tackle major societal challenges facing society, industry, community, and the environment.

Acting as a hub and home for a diverse team of academics, research students, and industry professionals, the QUT Design Lab supports transdisciplinary collaborations that result in tangible impact and engagement, and which transfer knowledge and technology into beneficial applications for industry and society.

Our mission is “Change by Design.”

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