Associate Professor Christian Jones

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Associate Professor Christian Jones


Research areas

  • human–computer interaction
  • affective computing and emotion
  • interactive experiences
  • computer gaming and serious games
  • animation and play
  • mobile technologies and social media
  • interactive museums and new digital media
  • technology mediated communities and systems to affect social change, including mental health and suicide prevention
  • augmented, virtual and mixed reality
  • physical wellbeing
  • road safety
  • environmental conservation
  • biometrics
  • positive psychology

Program coordinator


Associate Professor Christian Jones is both an academic and commercial entrepreneur. He has a successful track record of managing large-scale academic research projects and spinning out Intellectual Property for industrial commercialisation.

Christian is the leader of the Engage Research Lab — where technologies for social good are designed — and Associated Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts, Business and Law.

He joined USC in November 2006 to build collaborative research projects across the University and with local, national and international industry and government. Immediately prior to this he had an academic position in computer science at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, as well as founder and CEO of a UK-based emotion engineering company, Affective Media.

He heads up large scale collaborative projects in mental health and wellbeing, physical health and fitness, abuse prevention, road safety, augmented and virtual reality, affective computing (emotion), human computer interaction, and videogaming and serious games.

His research into affective computing considers how to develop systems that can automatically recognise human emotion and respond appropriately. He has developed systems that recognise human emotion from speech and from biometric sensors, and has applied these systems to create emotionally intelligent cars, robotics, mobile communications, customer relationship management, audio players and computer games.

Christian's PhD (conferred 1998) developed a talking-head animation systems capable of automatically lip synching to speech and he has worked with a wide range of speech-enabled technologies, including video compression, immersive virtual reality, entertainment, e-business and interactive digital television. This work enveloped many technical disciplines including speech physiology, communicative psychology and sociology, together with acoustic analysis, speech recognition and computer-based facial modelling and animation.

Christian is recognised by academia, industry and government as an international expert in interactive media, and have achieved awards and commercial success. His video games research has won industry awards (gold award for excellent in crime prevention, Games for Change ‘Most Significant Impact’ nomination, and keynotes at industry events: PAX, G4C), academic recognition (from the Young and Well CRC, and best paper awards at International conferences: INTERACT and BHCI), and government recognition (invited presentations to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia governments and Intellectual Property being used in projects across Asia, Africa and US of significant social, environment, cultural and commercial benefit). He led the videogame and wellbeing project in the $35m, 75 partner, Young and Well CRC and led the acoustic emotion recognition program in the EU Humaine network of excellence (5m Euro, European Union funded, 33 partners from 14 countries) now the AAAC (Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing).

Christian researches, develops and promotes interactive technologies that involve, inform, and inspire people to change their world. Transforms lives across multiple domains and disciplines, Christian operates within three main themes: Health and Wellbeing, Environment and Place, and Safety and Protection.

  • Health and Wellbeing projects encompass mental health (the Young and Well CRC), physical health (Champion Edge), rapid virus diagnosis (Gates Foundation and Department of Health), alcohol misuse (Queensland Health, DRUG ARM Australasia, Drink Safe Coalition and auDA Foundation), Dementia (Churches of Christ, National Medical and Scientific Research, Wicking Trust and Mason Foundation), Autism (Autism Centre of Excellence), Indigenous health (communities in Queensland and NT), and Health promotion (Arts Queensland).

  • In Environment and Place, research projects include community engagement (the NSF funded National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center), environment management (Smart State funding), water management (Queensland Water Infrastructure), and environmental education (Marecet and local councils).

  • In Safety and Projection, research projects include child projection (Queensland Police Service, Daniel Morcombe Foundation and Telstra), and road safety (Transport and Main Roads, RACQ and Queensland Police Service).

His work has been published as over 100 international peer-reviewed conference and journal articles, and also covered in the New Scientist, Newsweek International, Beyond Tomorrow, and the ABC and BBC.

You can also stay in touch with Christian at:


  • Vice-Chancellor's Medal for Engagement (2010), University of the Sunshine Coast
  • University Medal for Excellence in Teaching (2001), Heriot-Watt University

Professional qualifications

  • Chartered Engineer from the Engineering Council, UK
  • Chartered IT Professional, from the British Computer Society
  • Member of the Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Institute of Learning and Teaching
  • Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (formerly IEE)
  • Honorary Fellow of the Human Communications Research Centre, UK
  • Honorary Fellow of the College of Science and Engineering at Edinburgh University

Research grants

2016 — Augmented Reality Road Safety, Christian Jones, Vikram Saran, Philip Petersen (Transport and Main Roads). An augmented reality app which displayts animated road scenarious overlaid over the real world view on tables and smartphones. the experient was conducted on learner drivers, their parents, and elderly drivers to evaluate the app's efficiency. This was measured and evaluated by the comprehension and transferable learnings achieved through different deliveries of road safety information from paper-basded road rules to the augmented reality app.

2016 — Campion Life — physical activity game, Christian Jones, Jesse Clement, Sky Johnson (Champion Edge). Champion Life is an Australian-developed online platform that seeks to instil healthy lifelong habits in young Australians. It is a pilot program that promotes health and physical activity among kids aged 9–13. It aims to improve their fitness and wellbeing development by harnessing the power of real-life motivational events. Champion Life works by making healthy habits a game in a way that is aligned to the national HPE curriculum. It is delivered on video featuring positive role models that children look up to.

2016 — Orbit tablet app, Christian Jones, Colleen Stieler-Hunt, Ben Rolfe (Daniel Morcombe Foundation). A touch-based mobile game app to educate children aged 8–10 about sexual abuse prevention. The project compiled learning objectives around sexual abuse prevention from latest international research. Participatory methodologies with children in upper primary school play wer also used to understand the reward system in the games they play. The game is evaluated using standardised international measures, 'What If'. 

2016 — Orbit — Sexual abuse prevention game for Indigenous communities, Christian Jones, Melody Muscat, Colleen Stieler-Hunt, Ben Rolfe (Daniel Morcombe Foundation). Teaching upper primary and lower high school children in Indigenous communities about sexual abuse prevention. The research follows the NHMRC best practice guidelines for researching with Indigenous communities, and adlopts a co-design methodology to build the new sexual abuse game, including new Indigenous artwork, music, script, and voices.

2016 – Marine Mammals Alive exhibition, Christian Jones, Mark Bilby, Blake Marple (MareCet, Malaysia). This research will explore how virtual reality underwater experiences can promote public appreciation and participation in marine conversation. The viewer is presented with an immersive underwater experience using the Occulus Rift that features 3D computer generated animations. Visitors to the exhibition will be asked a series of questions before and after the VR experience. These questions will investigate the visitor's knowledge of marine mammals residing in Malaysian waters and their role in the marine ecosystem. They will be queried on previous participation and willingness to participate in marine conservation activities.

2015 – Multi-virus rapid and sensitive test kit, Joanne Macdonald, Christian Jones (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, A$135,000). Research and development of a rapid field test for detecting mosquitoes infected by pathogens such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya, using an innovative lateral flow dipstick. The technology to allow photos of the dipsticks to be taken using the smartphone app will be developed. This will then instantly analyse the photos for immediate and accurate diagnosis. The trial is to be completed in Cairns.

2015 – A single rapid kit for detection of Ross River, Barmah Forest and other arboviruses in mosquitoes, Joanne Macdonald, Christian Jones (Department of Health Funding Initiative for Mosquito Management in Western Australia). We have developed a simple diagnostic test able to detect multiple pathogens that reduces costs compared to performing individual assays, and does not require specialised equipment. The assay detects nucleic acid molecules using an amplification procedure that requires a rapid incubation at a single temperature, followed by detection using simple paper strips (similar to a pregnancy test dipstick). We will apply this technology to develop field-amenable assays for detection of the common mosquito-borne diseases in Australia, including Ross River, Barmah Forest, West Nile, and Murray Valley encephalitis viruses.

2015 – Driver courtesy project, Christian Jones, Bridie Scott-Parker, Nicholas Hansen (RACQ (A$100,000). The research aimed to understand the effect of driver courtesy and discourtesy on other road users, the effects on the driver exhibiting the behaviour, the motivations for driving discourteously, and the motivators to become more courteous when driving. It also recommended strategies to promote courtesy in road users. The project was achieved by a comprehensive review of driving courtesy literature; focus group research to explore driver's perceptions; and simulator-based research to investigate the impact of courteous and discourteous driving behaviour.

2014 – Makeway Lab, Christian Jones (Arts Queensland, Makeway Labs, Kolff Kollective). A health and design initiative using 3D printing technologies training to motivate and reskill patients. The project researched and developed a program for dialysis patients and resulted in an exhibition and pop-up shop featuring work by several dialysis designers.

2014 – RoadHero, Christian Jones, Amanda Cavalcanti (Transport and Main  Road Community Road Safety Funding). RoadHero aims to turn today's passengers into safe and responsible drivers of the future. This early intervention and prevention tool is a fun and engaging smartphone/tablet game (app) based on road safety and safe driving habits, played by primary school-aged children while in a vehicle (eg car or bus). Children are engaged in safe road use long before they become drivers themselves, and can exert a positive influence upon the driving of their parents, their greatest role models. Moreover, safe cycling and pedestrian behaviours will be reinforced, further reducing their on-road risk.

2014 Visitor expectations and experience survey – Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Christian Jones, Niamh Jones (Sunshine Coast Council). A detailed understanding of visitor expectations and experiences in visiting Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, which has informed planning of the redesign of MCSR including building works and interactive interpretation. The report has been used extensively by the architects and planners, and the Concept Design Advisory Panel.

2013 – Serious Urban Play, Ben Rolfe, Nicholas Hansen, Nicholas Stevens, Christian Jones (Sunshine Coast Council project). Serious Urban Play is an online co-operative multiplayer game for urban planning education. The game is browser-based and runs on any platform. The aim of the game is to accommodate a community of 1,500 households within a 1500m x 1500m playing surface while ensuring the communty has a balance of happiness, environmental outcomes, economic viability and mobility.

2013 – Memory Keeper:  A digital therapeutic approach to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Christian Jones, Margaret McAllister, Mary Katsikitis, Florin Opresu (National Medical & Scientific Research grants). Tablet-based software application for use by carers, family and persons with Alzheimer's which collects, collates, and presents personalised memories as a way of reducing anxiety, agitation, disorientation and depression in residents, reduce need for medical sedation, and to enhance family connections.

2013 – N2E:  An interactive learning resource for future nurse leaders in education, Margaret McAllister, Mary Katsikitis, Florin Opresu, Christian Jones (auDA Foundation). Researched and developed the N2E platform, an online community for nurse educators to explore and share innovations in learning and teaching using digital stories. Content collated from hosted workshops showcasing latest L&T practice in nurse education.

2013 – EcoVis, Susan Bohmer, Chelsea Caldwell-Ternezis, Pat Harding, Sam Hoogvliet, Christian Jones, Debra Livingston, Megan Marks, Ben Rolfe, Uwe Terton, Daniel Wood (Sunshine Coast Council project). Data visualisation for communicating environmental messages and promoting behaviour change. It is a collaborative research venture between USC and SCC’s Community and Cultural Programs, and Economic Development departments, providing USC with an innovative cross-disciplinary research project, and SCC with a cutting-edge public artwork that emphasises its mission ‘to become Australia’s most sustainable region: vibrant, green, diverse’. Researched and developed an innovative interactive artwork, called ‘People’s Garden’ which was showcased at the Noosa Junction.

2013 – GroupMap, Christian Jones, Nicholas Hansen, Ben Rolfe (Sunshine Coast Council project). Researched, developed and tested a multiuser interactive digital map for community discussion and engagement. Has been used in SCC risk management, community forums, USC teaching, partner/community planning (eg Churches of Christ residential planning), PhD and Hons research projects, and SESYNC research.

2012 – Exploring the impact of video games on young people's mental health. Research into the positive influences of computer games on flourishing mental health of young people, Christian Jones, Mary Katsikitis, Laura Scholes, Daniel Johnson (Young and Well CRC:  A$35m, 75 partners, federally funded social innovation CRC around youth mental wellbeing. Researched and authored a review of latest research findings in support of videogames and flourishing mental health and based on psychological theory. Published in journals and at academic conference, presented to the videogames industry at the PAX industry conference, at mental health conferences, and in national and international media.

2008–2012 Smart Forests Alliance Queensland (SFAQ), Helen Wallace, Stephen Trueman, David Walton, Christian Jones, Peter Waterman. Partners: Queensland and Northern Territory departments of primary industries, CSIRO, and two national timber companies: Integrated Tree Cropping Ltd and Forest Enterprises Australia Ltd (Innovation Projects Fund, National and International Research Alliances program  Department of State Development  A$19m). The research aims to boost to Queensland's hardwood plantation industry, encouraging industry investment by promoting the potential for our hardwood plantation forests to be carbon sinks for companies and individuals.

2010– Interactive exhibits for environmental management, Christian Jones. Partners:  Sonia Marshall, Sunshine Coast TAFE; Mitchell Smith, Diretor, Sunshine Coast TAFE (Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast TAFE  A$200,000). Research and development of a multi user interactive ultra-wide display wall to allow multiple visitors to interactive with a developing narrative around environmental management.

2010 – Needs of nurse educators, Margaret McAllister, Christian Jones, Leonie Mosel Williams, Teressa Schmidt. Research Assistants: Kristina Malko-Nyhan, Tara Gamble. Partner: Sunshine Coast TAFE (USC Open Learning and Teaching grants program). An exploration of the needs of nurse educators working in a range of Australian contexts.

2009 –  Knowing You, Knowing Me — Mother and children alcohol reduction intervention using technology mediated communication, Christian Jones, Mary Katsikitis, Melody Morley. partners: Queensland Health, DRUG ARM, DrinkSafe Coalition (auDA Foundation, Queensland Health, DRUG ARM, DrinkSafe Coalition – A$40,000). To promote healthy mother and daughters relationships using education and shared experiences to encourage positive modelling against alcohol misuse.

2009 – PTT — The Development of a Best Practice Model for Capacity Building Pre-service teachers during their workplace placement experience using mobile and online resources to support mentoring, Christian Jones, Christopher Dann, Elizabeth Toohey, Beverly Lowe, Noel Meyers (Faculty of Science, Health and Education – A$106,000). Designing and building mobile and online mentoring and assessment resource for use with teachers and students on pre-service workplaces. Mobile delivery will allow teachers to record performance in the classroom.

2009 – Photoboard, Christian Jones (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, USC).   To develop a novel technology solution using mobile phones to allow participants to converse using photographs displayed on large scale public displays, and record and evaluate the immerging usage behaviour of the photographic visual communications.

2009 – Eco TourGuide, Christian Jones (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, USC). To develop and evaluate an interactive in-car and walking system (EcoGuide) providing targeted interpreted, safety and regulator information based on visitor location (GPS), interest and prior knowledge, to guide, monitor and educate visitors within environmentally sensitive areas to help them minimise their impact and support long term environmental and economic sustainability.

2008–2012, FeelingSafe – Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Learning Environment, Christian Jones, Michael Nagel, Kay Pozzebon, Kenneth Young, Laura Scholes, Colleen Stieler-Hunt. Partners: Telstra Foundation, Queensland Police Service, Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Education Queensland, Department of Child Safety, Sunshine Cooloola Services Against Sexual Violence Inc/Laurel House (Telstra Foundation, Queensland Police Service, Daniel Morcombe Foundation A$583,000). Research and development of an interactive online gaming resource for children aged 8-10 to learn skills and strategies to protect themselves from sexual abuse and support to disclose abuse.

2008–2010, Fraser Young Explorer project, Christian Jones, Elizabeth Ryan, Chris Dann, Bill Allen, Bill Carter (Ian Potter Foundation and Queensland Water Intrastructure  A$40,000). Developing interactive handheld devices to offer self-guided field-based educational for School children visiting remote environments. The project is developing GPS triggered content and activities allowing students to complete education tasks, report findings and blog experiences using mobile devices. Data is synchronised and available to students for project work on return to school.

2008–2010, A Blueprint for Developmental and Operational Arrangements for Integrated Public Contact and Education, Bill Carter, Christian Jones, Sonia Marshall (Queensland Water Infrastructure Pty Ltd  A$40,000). Research into best practice for technology mediated education for interaction science centres/museums.

2007–2010, Being safety smart, Christian Jones, Kay Pozzebon. Partner(s): Queensland Police Service, Daniel Morcombe Foundation, Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, Education Queensland, Chancellor State Primary School (Queensland Police Service and Daniel Morcombe Foundation A$53,000). Research and development of an interactive online game for early primary school children addressing anti-abduction strategies and child safety awareness.

2007–2010, Location-based interactive services for visitor management on Fraser Island, Christian Jones, Kathy Lynch, Tony Stiller, Ron Neller, Bill Carter. Partners: Queensland Police Service, Environmental Parks, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (USC Seed grant). To develop and evaluate an interactive in-car and walking system to guide, monitor and educate visitors on Fraser Island to help them minimise their impact and support long term environmental and economic sustainability.

2005–2009, Humaine network of excellence, Christian Joanes (Heriot-Watt University). Partners:  33 partners from 14 countries (European Union 5m). Full partner of the Humaine network of excellence, the key resource community in emotions and humanmachine interaction. Humaine (Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion).

2006–2007, Strategic research infrastructure funding, Ruth Aylett, Christian Jones (at Heriot-Watt University) (UK Strategic Research Infrastructure Funding 3 project 85,000 GBP). The addition of motion capture equipment for the virtual reality laboratory  Co-investigator.

2004–2006, Emotionally intelligent in-car conversational interfaces, Christian Jones (at Heriot-Watt University and Affective Media Limited). Partners:  Edinburgh University, Stanford University and Toyota Info Technology (Toyota and EdinburghStanford Link Programme – 150,000 GBP). Joint research between Toyota, Stanford University, California, and Heriot-Watt University to investigate emotionally intelligent in-car conversational interfaces.

2003–2006, Emotionally intelligent systems, Christian Jones (at Heriot-Watt University and Affective Media Limited). Partners: Digital Animations Group (Scottish Government SPUR award 300,000 GBP). Scottish Government SPUR award for research into emotionally intelligent systems. An R&D support scheme to develop new products and processes.

2002–2003, Acoustic emotion recognition, Christian Jones (at Heriot-Watt and Affective Media Limited). Partner: Digital Animations Group (Scottish Government SMART award 85,000 GBP). Scottish Government SMART award for research into acoustic emotion recognition. A competition-based incentive for developing new, highly innovative and commercially viable products to the benefit of the national economy.

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