Helping to make the world a safer place through understanding why accidents and injuries happen is a key factor that drives University of the Sunshine Coast Professor Paul Salmon, who was recently named one of Australia’s top researchers.
For the second year in a row, The Australian’s Research magazine has named Professor Salmon the nation’s best researcher in the field of quality and reliability, based on publications and citations.
As the Director of USC’s Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, Professor Salmon and his team focus on accident prevention research and ways to enhance performance though optimising systems across a diverse range of areas.
Recent research includes investigating what causes accidents and near-misses on roads, advanced vehicle automation, developing new ways of preventing doping in sport, and an app to predict the likelihood of bushfires.
Professor Salmon said the recognition helped to raise awareness about the critical role of Human Factors and Ergonomics (HFE) and the work the centre was doing to find ways to improve human health, wellbeing and safety.
“Quite often there is a misunderstanding that HFE is all about the design of office desks and chairs, when really it is a systems science that is all about understanding complex systems, their behaviour, and how they can be optimised,” he said.
“A lot of our work in the centre involves the use of HFE to respond to complex societal and global challenges – for example artificial intelligence, Covid-19, road safety, cybersecurity, occupational violence, patient safety and the design of healthy urban environments.”
USC Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Ross Young congratulated the centre on receiving national acknowledgement for leading-edge research with strong benefit and impact.
“The centre makes an important contribution to the community, business and government through improved systems development, planning and decision-making processes,” Professor Young said.
Professor Salmon is the editor-in-chief of the Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries journal, and has co-authored 21 books, more than 240 peer-reviewed journal articles, and numerous book chapters and conference contributions.