Discover our new research centres: Performance and Expertise


The Performance and Expertise Research Centre integrates state-of-the-art technology and multidisciplinary research expertise to assess, enhance and future-proof human performance – across individuals, teams and organisations – in a changing world.

Centre expertise

The Centre is hosted by the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences and brings together more than 50 academics from across all four faculties, combining expertise in the areas of data analytics techniques, behavioural measurement tools, physiological measurement tools, simulation methodologies (AR/VR), machine learning and AI, alongside social science, anthropology, economics, media and performing arts.

Research themes

Performance and Expertise conducts basic and applied research across a wide range of sectors to better understand:

  • How to effectively train and optimise expertise – can expertise be transferred across individuals and domains?
  • What are the physical and psychosocial performance characteristics of expertise and what are the psychological and social consequences of the loss of expertise?
  • Can the potential to acquire expertise be assessed and how do experts combine into expert teams?
  • How to best integrate and deploy new technologies to improve and augment expertise.
  • The changing nature of expertise within the context of the modern world, including the (positive or negative) impacts of online work, virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI) on human performance and expertise.

Centre leadership

Professor Michael Richardson, School of Psychological Sciences; Professor Greg Downey, School of Social Sciences; Professor Anina Rich, School of Psychological Sciences; Associate Professor Kim Curby, School of Psychological Sciences; Associate Professor Tim Doyle, Department of Health Sciences; Professor Mark Dras, School of Computing; and Associate Professor Monique Crane, School of Psychological Sciences.

Key partners

The Centre collaborates with a wide range of industry partners and stakeholders, including the Defence Science and Technology Group, Royal Australian Navy, US Department of Defence, Transport NSW, Australian Cricketers’ Association, Optus, Coachella, Unity Technologies, Air Services Australia, Office of Naval Research – Global, YMCA, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, Oracle, and HMS, a Gainwell Technologies Company, as well as SMEs and multinational companies.

Current projects include:

Human-machine teaming and training

Effective team performance depends on individuals learning critical tasks and teamwork skills. This requires training simulations that include intact teams and promote self-guided learning. In collaboration with the Australian Government’s Defence Science and Technology Group, the Performance and Expertise Research Centre has developed cutting-edge computational modelling techniques and AI systems that replicate the behaviour of human teammates in simulated team-training exercises. This reduces the logistical and financial costs of team training, and enables the development of targeted, trainee-specific programs that can be completed remotely.

Enhancing resilience

Until now, daily stressors have been overlooked as catalysts for strengthening resilience. Interventions that help leverage stressor experiences are the only evidence-based solutions shown to successfully support the strengthening of emotional resilience and performance. Supported by the Centre’s trained coaches, individual resilience training programs use guided self-reflection strategies to enhance personal insight into a person’s unique resilience, strengths and areas for growth. The resilience training programs use a novel debriefing strategy so teams can coordinate assets to support resilience. This debriefing protocol is a scalable method for providing team leaders – in both everyday and high-stakes environments – with the tools to enhance team resilience.



In collaboration with the Y NSW and supported by the ARC, the centre has developed evidence-based solutions for selecting, training and maintaining the individual performance of lifeguards. A key component has been the development of virtual reality (VR) training that allows users to develop and practice strategies to improve sustained attention in near-to-real contextual environments.

Read in The Lighthouse: Virtual reality lifeguard training may help save lives

How to engage with the Performance and Expertise Research Centre

Staff interested in contributing to the Centre are encouraged to contact Professor Michael Richardson (, Associate Professor Kim Curby ( or the Centre’s administrative assistant Rebecca Frater-Baird (





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