The Spatial Epidemiology Lab (SpatialEpi) is a medical geography and disease ecology research group based at the University of Queensland. A number of Master's, Honours and PhD research opportunities are available.

Job opportunity

Position Title: Business Analyst
Organisation Unit: School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland
Type of Employment: Casual part time
Classification: HEW level 7

Primary Purpose of Position
The School of Veterinary Science is establishing a new One Health Surveillance and Analytics team (OHSARK). The Business Analyst position within OHSARK will help bridge the gap between data collaborators and technical teams to ensure business requirements are translated into effective technology solutions and desired outcomes. The Business Analyst will be responsible for developing, maintaining, and improving end to end business data management and analytic processes for the management, analysis and reporting of human and animal health data. This will include undertaking business analysis activities by liaising with data owners to identify, define and convert business requirements into system and user requirements across a number of health projects within the School of Veterinary Science. The role works closely with the project leads, project manager and project partners located across Australia. The position reports to the project lead, and will be required to direct other professional or technical staff on work relating to specific tasks or projects.

Duties
Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
* Undertake analysis of business processes, investigate data management technical/software operational requirements, problems, opportunities and identify innovative solutions through improvements in automated and non-automated components of new or changed processes.
* Create, analyse, and validate detailed functional, non-functional, system and user-interface specifications.
* Translate business and user requirements into system specifications in accordance with agreed standards.
* Involved in planning of system and development deployment as well as responsible for meeting software compliance standards.
* Develop test strategies, test plans and test scenarios for QA of proposed solutions.
* Assist solution team to design new IT solutions, modify, enhance or adapt existing systems and integrate new features or improvements, all with the aim of improving business efficiency and productivity.
* Write requirements and user stories that have relevant details to ensure the systems specifications meet user/project requirements.
* Documents testing and maintenance of system corrections.
* Own and maintain design documentation through the project life-cycle.
* Undertake continuous improvement activities within the team to ensure services are delivered more efficiently and provide support to stakeholders through appropriate change management activities.
* Work collaboratively with the project team, stakeholders, project manager, software engineers and data scientists to ensure successful and timely delivery.
* Any other duties as reasonably directed by the Program Lead.

Selection criteria
Essential
* Tertiary qualifications in IT, Business or related discipline together with previous experiences in IT business/ systems analysis.
* Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, ensuring that the underlying problem is understood, and a robust approach / solution is developed.
* Demonstrated experience delivering services in an agile development environment and a demonstrated understanding of agile principles.
* Demonstrated understanding of principles of Data Science (data preparation, data on-boarding, business intelligence, visualisation)
* Demonstrated competency in the use of professional business analysis tools and techniques (such as User Requirements models, Use Case Analysis, UML, business domain models, functional and non-functional specification).
* Demonstrated experience applying user-centred techniques and knowledge of artefacts (such as Journey Maps, user stories, storyboards, personas).
* Demonstrated experience of software development lifecycles, their associated artefacts and how different approaches are needed in different scenarios.
* Demonstrated experience of current programming and cloud technologies such as Python, JavaScript, PHP, OpenStack and AWS coupled with good knowledge in data and information modelling.
* Demonstrated understanding of software container design, testing, maintenance and deployment on cloud HPCs
* Exceptional analytical and problem solving skills including the ability to conceptualise, establish and implement new initiatives and innovative solutions within a specified framework.
* Excellent written communication skills, including the demonstrated ability to write clear and precise user and technical specifications.
* Strong interpersonal skills, including the demonstrated ability to communicate and negotiate effectively with a diverse range of stakeholders to achieve outcomes.

PhD opportunities

PhD scholarship in targeted surveillance of major zoonotic arboviral and other vector-borne diseases in Australia using spectroscopy technology
Infectious diseases transmitted by vectors represent a significant health threat to the Australian biosecurity. Detection methods used in current surveillance of these pathogens are expensive, time consuming and require highly trained personnel. The PhD project: We propose to conduct a set of experiments to test the best spectroscopy technique to identify infected vectors and demonstrate its capacity as surveillance tool for vector control programs against these pathogens. The candidate will be based at The University of Queensland within the School of Veterinary Science, Gatton Campus, and will be supervised by Dr. Silvia Ciocchetta, Dr. Maggy Lord, Prof. Malcolm Jones, and Associate Professor Ricardo Soares Magalhães.

This PhD scholarship is funded by the Australian Government, providing a tax-free PhD stipend of $28,597 per annum tax free (2021 rate), indexed annually, and full tuition fee support. The scholarship is for three years, with two possible six-month extensions. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis considering the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

Competitive applicants should have
* A BSc with First Class Honours or Masters degree with distinction, majoring in a relevant discipline (parasitology or molecular biology including cell culture and PCR or molecular epidemiology or ecology).
* Research experience combining laboratory and epidemiological/disease or species ecology skills.
* Academic achievement in the field(s) of life science, biology, entomology, infectious disease epidemiology, species ecology and the potential for scholastic success.
* A working knowledge of molecular biology techniques including DNA/RNA extractions and qualitative and quantitative PCRs, microbiology techniques, handling biosecurity samples and geographical information systems would be of benefit to someone working on this project.
* Excellent time and data management and interpersonal skills.
* Demonstrated evidence of good oral and written communication skills.

Desirable characteristics
* Publication record in international peer-reviewed journals.
* A background or knowledge of biology, entomology, medical entomology, and geospatial modelling is highly desirable.
* Knowledge of script-based statistical languages such as R or Python.

How to enquire
For more information please refer to the UQ Category 1 Scholarship webpage. To submit an expression of interest contact Dr. Silvia Ciocchetta at s.ciocchetta@uq.edu.au. The expression of interest should include a cover letter and CV including names and contact details of 3 referees (2 pages max) and an academic transcript. To verify if you meet the Academic Entry Requirements refer to: https://future-students.uq.edu.au/study/programs/doctor-philosophy-7501#overview

COVID-19 information
With current travel bans extending the timeframe for international applicants to commence, UQ will only accept on-shore (domestic and international) applicants for this scholarship. If the commencing candidate is onshore but interstate, they will be required to come to Queensland to begin.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date. International applicants may need to apply much earlier for visa reasons.


PhD scholarship in multivariate ecological forecasting

The Spatial Epidemiology Laboratory at the University of Queensland seeks a PhD student to work on an exciting new project: forecasting ecosystem responses to environmental change

There is a growing consensus that using models to anticipate the future is vital to mitigate the impacts of environmental change on ecosystems. Yet most ecological models are one-off attempts to predict what ecosystems might be like in many years or decades. This makes it hard for decision-makers to use these models. It also favours models that are not easily scrutinised and improved. A new international study will use an iterative cycle to 1) forecast how species occurrences and abundances will change over short timescales; 2) use predictions to inspect model failures and 3) improve models so that we can continue to learn. This represents a new way of thinking in ecology that, like weather forecasting, has the power to advance our understanding of ecological processes.

The candidate will work within a vibrant team to tackle two major questions in ecological modelling:
(1) When can multivariate models improve forecasts of species distributions, abundances and biodiversity compared to simpler models?
(2) What aspects of models and data control forecast uncertainty across space and time?

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history. Skills in quantitative analysis, ecological modelling, forecasting or statistical programming are highly desired. To verify whether you meet the Academic Entry Requirements refer to: https://future-students.uq.edu.au/study/programs/doctor-philosophy-7501#overview.

Benefits of the project
The student will be based at The University of Queensland within the School of Veterinary Science, supervised by Dr Nicholas Clark and Associate Professor Ricardo Soares Magalhães. The candidate will also work with a diverse group of international researchers. Support will be given by partners at the Ecological Forecasting Initiative and the Spatial Epidemiology Laboratory, including assistance in data analysis, model building and communication.

This PhD scholarship is funded by the Australian Government, providing a tax-free PhD stipend of $28,597 per annum tax free (2021 rate). The scholarship is for three years, with two possible six-month extensions. Funds are also available for the student to attend scientific conferences and workshops.

How to enquire
For more information and to submit an expression of interest, please contact Dr. Nicholas Clark at n.clark@uq.edu.au. The expression of interest should include a cover letter and CV including names and contact details of 3 referees (2 pages max) and an academic transcript. Short-list applicants will be interviewed (via video conferencing if necessary) to better determine the applicant’s fit, motivations and capabilities.

COVID-19 information
With current travel bans extending the timeframe for international applicants to commence, UQ will only accept on-shore (domestic and international) applicants for this scholarship. If the commencing candidate is onshore but interstate, they will be required to come to Queensland to begin.

Expressions of interest will close when the position has been filled, but the successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 1, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.


Needed: candidates with skills in data analysis and / or statistical programming

We are always on the lookout for new students to join the SpatialEpiLab through the University of Queensland’s competitve postgraduate scholarships. An increasing number of our current and future research projects involve analysing large, multistructure Big Data outputs to prepare them for spatial and spatio-temporal analysis. Candidates with interests in applying these skills to spatial epidemiology, time series modelling or other aspects of One Health should contact Associate Professor Ricardo Soares Magalhães or Dr Nicholas Clark to discuss opportunities.

Helpful links

University of Queensland Postgraduate International Scholarships: Information on scholarships offered by our university to support international and domestic applicants

UQ information on other scholarships available for new students: A range of other scholarships and awards are available

Australia Awards Scholarships: Scholarships that aim to contribute to the development needs of Australia’s partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements.