Category Archives: Research

ARC Linkage Grant Success


A research project aimed at creating the next generation of Australian forensic experts has received a funding boost from the Federal Government.

Featuring Murdoch University and WA Police, the consortium of universities and law enforcement agencies is looking to improve the interpretation of crime scene evidence – which researchers believe could ultimately lead to more reliable courtroom convictions.

The University of Queensland-led project will identify ways of turning novices into experts more quickly, and has received over $1.3 million in cash and in-kind funding from the Australian Research Council, universities, and Australian’s policing and security agencies.

Dr Matthew Thompson, Lecturer in Cognition at Murdoch’s School of Psychology and Exercise Science, has been testing fingerprint examiners for the past eight years, finding that their expertise is characteristically fast and accurate.

“Surprisingly, very little research has been conducted on how well these examiners perform and how best to train them,” Dr Thompson said. “Contrary to popular belief, forensic comparisons such as fingerprint identification are done by humans not computers.”

Dr Thompson said policing agencies were under pressure to develop more rigorous training practices that ventured beyond mere intuition and tradition.

“Our goal is to develop evidence-based training methods by drawing on knowledge from cognitive science, medical education, forensics, and law,” Dr Thompson said. “The research is about maintaining high standards of forensic decision making, which is vital for ensuring that innocent people are not wrongfully convicted, and will help safeguard Australia from terrorism and crime.”

The industry partners include the Australian Federal Police, Queensland Police Service, Victoria Police, NSW Police Force and the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency National Institute of Forensic Science.

University partners are The University of Melbourne, Murdoch University, The University of New South Wales, and The University of British Columbia, Canada.

“This multi-agency collaboration could lead to more reliable courtroom convictions and help to prevent miscarriages of justice,” Dr Thompson said.

Tall Poppy Award

I’ve received a Tall Poppy Science Award from the Queensland Chief Scientist, Dr Geoff Garrett, and the Queensland Science Minister, Leeanne Enoch.

The Tall Poppy Campaign was created in 1998 by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science to recognise and celebrate Australian intellectual and scientific excellence and to encourage younger Australians to follow in the footsteps of our outstanding achievers. It has made significant achievements towards building a more publicly engaged scientific leadership in Australia.

Continue reading Tall Poppy Award

Fellowship award at the AAA Benefit Dinner

I was awarded The 2013 University of Queensland Fellowship at the American Australian Association Benefit Dinner. The dinner recognises prominent individuals who have made significant contributions to business, economic, social and cultural relationships between the United States and Australia.

Proceeds from the dinner go towards building the Association’s Education Fund. To date, more than 190 Fellows have received awards totalling over US$4 million to pursue studies in critical fields from medical research to sustainability at top institutions such as MIT, Harvard and Princeton.


Continue reading Fellowship award at the AAA Benefit Dinner

Research Excellence Award

I have received the 2013 Postgraduate Student Research Excellence Award from the UQ Psychology Head of School, Virginia Slaughter. As a result, I was invited to speak to my colleagues about my research, which was great fun.

“The prize is awarded for outstanding published research as indicated by the quality and potential impact of the research itself, as well as the relative standing of the journals within the field in which it appears.”

Continue reading Research Excellence Award

UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship

I have been awarded a three-year Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from The University of QueenslandThe scheme aims to attract outstanding recent doctoral graduates to the University in areas of institutional research priority and includes $20,000 research support.

Please join me in congratulating Matt Thompson who has been awarded a UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellowship commencing in 2014.  As we are all aware, these awards are extremely competitive and Matt’s success is an indicator of the very high quality of his research – Professor Virginia Slaughter, Head of School.

Harvard Fellowship from AAA

I have received The 2013 University of Queensland Fellowship from the American Australian Association, worth $40,000 (press release – Emerging Australian stars receive top prizes).  I’ll spend some time at Harvard working with Jeremy Wolfe, who is Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. I will receive the award at Black Tie ceremony at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.


MatthewBThompson-UQ-AAA-Harvard-Fellowship Continue reading Harvard Fellowship from AAA

National Geographic Feature on Face Effect

Our Flashed Face Distortion Effect was featured in the Brain Games program on the National Geographic Channel. Unfortunately, they disregarded the fact that the faces don’t need to be presented in the periphery for the effect to work (as we described in our paper), but we are happy to see the effect being enjoyed by a wide audience.

[youtube=] Continue reading National Geographic Feature on Face Effect