Professor Paul Salmon | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professor Paul Salmon

PhD (Human Factors) Brun., MSc (Applied Ergonomics) Sund., BSc (Sports Science) Sund.

  • Professor of Human Factors
+61 7 5456 5893
Office location
Sunshine Coast

Paul M. Salmon is a Professor in Human Factors and is the creator of the Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Paul has over 22 years’ experience of applied Human Factors research in areas such as road and rail safety, aviation, defence, sport and outdoor recreation, healthcare, workplace safety, and cybersecurity.

His research has focused on understanding and optimising human, team, organisational and system performance through the application of Human Factors theory and methods. He is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing and Service Industries journal, and has co-authored 22 books, over 290 peer reviewed journal articles, and numerous book chapters and conference contributions. Paul’s work has been recognised through various accolades, including the Chartered Institute for Ergonomics and Human Factor’s 2019 William Floyd award and 2008 Presidents Medal, the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Australia’s 2017 Cumming memorial medal, and the International Ergonomics Association’s 2018 research impacting practice award.

In 2022, Paul was awarded the Queensland Health award for excellence in the ‘pursuing innovation’ category. Awarded to the Bridge Labs program exploring the translation of systems thinking and HFE methods in healthcare practice.

Paul's current research interests include the application of systems thinking and Human Factors and Ergonomics to global risks and existential threats. Paul is also interested more generally in the development and extension of Human Factors theory and methods and the translation of Human Factors research in practice. He currently leads major programs in the areas of accident analysis and prevention, risk assessment, road safety, cybersecurity, outdoor recreation, and artificial general intelligence.

Stay in touch with Paul and visit his other page:

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Professional memberships

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Australia
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter
  • Australian Aviation Psychology Association
  • Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences


  • 2022 Queensland Health award for excellence in the ‘pursuing innovation’ category. Awarded to our Bridge Labs program exploring the translation of systems thinking and HFE methods in healthcare practice.
  • 2021 Dr Eric Wigglesworth Memorial Lecture presented at the Australian Institute of Health and Safety Annual Education Awards.
  • 2020 HFES Microsoft Award for Best Cybersecurity Paper, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual meeting, awarded for co-authored paper describing the use of systems HFE to design interventions to disrupt the trading of illicit goods in darknet marketplaces.
  • 2020, Paul Salmon is named as Australia's top researcher in the field of quality and reliability in The Australian's 2020 Research magazine.
  • 2019 UK Chartered Institute for Ergonomics and Human Factors William Floyd Award for outstanding and innovative contributions to ergonomics and human factors. Award recognises a single project or programme of work that has made a significant and innovative contribution to ergonomics and human factors to a product, system, organisation or workplace. Awarded in recognition of the ARC Linkage funded research program on railway level crossing safety (LP100200387)

  • 2019 Microsoft Award for Best Cybersecurity Paper, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual meeting, awarded for the following paper: Salmon, P. M., et al. (2019). Breaking bad systems with Human Factors and Ergonomics: Using Work Domain Analysis to identify strategies to disrupt trading in dark net marketplaces. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, Seattle, November 2019

  • 2019 PROSE award finalist, award recognises “annually recognize the very best in professional and scholarly publishing by bringing attention to distinguished books, journals, and electronic content in 58 categories” (PROSE, 2019).
  • 2018 International Ergonomics Association award for research impacting practice. Awarded to Salmon and his team for the ARC funded Linkage UPLOADS research program (LP1101000387, LP150100287)

  • 2017 Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors Annual conference best paper award, for the paper 'Setting the Standard: A Systems Approach to the Design and Evaluation of Safety Standards'.
  • 2017 and 2016 USC Advance teaching awards ‘Advancing the Student Experience,’ for the Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems PhD student program. Awarded to individual staff or teams who engage with students outside of the classroom or teaching environments to make an outstanding contribution that substantially improves their overall experience at USC.

  • 2016 Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Australia's Cumming Memorial Medal, Awarded for highly esteemed human factors and ergonomics-related research or application in a relevant area of human factors and ergonomics.
  • 2015, Vice Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence in Research, University of the Sunshine Coast.
  • 2014 Australian Aviation Psychology Conference Best paper award, Lenne, M. G., Salmon, P. M., Beanland, V., Stanton, N. A., (2014). The application of decision making paradigms to map real world decision making at rail level crossings.

  • 2013 Peter Vulcan Award for Best Research Paper, Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference 2013, Brisbane. Awarded to the paper ranked best against the following criteria: scientific/technical merit of the work, potential contribution to road safety, and originality of approach.

  • 2012, Best paper award, Australian Aviation Psychology Symposium, November 2012, for the following paper: Salmon, P. M., et al (2012). A Human Factors analysis of Kerang using systems and schema theory. In Proceedings of the Australian Aviation Psychology Symposium, Sydney, November 2012.

  • Scopus Young Australian Researcher of the Year Award Finalist (one of three), Humanities and Social Sciences, 2011. Award based on last two years of research output, and involves research impact and esteem measures using the objective Scopus database
  • The UK Ergonomics Society Presidents Medal Award, 2008. Presidents Medal honours institutions or organisational groups whose work has made a significant contribution to original research, the development of methodology, or application of knowledge within the field of ergonomics. Awarded to the Human Factors Integration-Defence Technology Centre research group
  • Royal Aeronautical Society 2007 Hodgson Prize for best research and paper. Awarded to research team comprising researchers from Brunel, Cranfield, Linkoping, and Limerick Universities for development of methodology to predict pilot errors during cockpit certification process
  • Monash Researcher Accelerator, January 2011. Accepted into the Monash University Research Accelerator scheme cohort of 70 leading researchers performing within the top 3% of the university (based on publications and national competitive grants)
  • Monash University Award for Excellence in Research by Early Career Researchers (Central Portfolios), August 2012
  • Monash University Accident Research Centre Early Career Researcher Award Winner, June 2009, Recognises research excellence by researchers within 10 years of the start of their research career

Potential research projects for HDR and Honours students

  • human factors and ergonomics
  • systems analysis and change
  • product design and evaluation
  • road safety
  • workplace safety
  • road user behaviour
  • accident causation and analysis
  • teamwork
  • disaster preparedness, response and recovery
  • human computer interaction
  • defence
  • complexity theory

Research grants

Project name Investigators Funding body Year Focus
Managing the risks associated with artificial general intelligence Salmon, Read, Thompson, Stanton, Baber & Hancock Australian Research Council, Discovery Project. $460,522 2020  
NextGen Accident Prevention: a new theory and toolkit for safer systems Paul Salmon, Neville Stanton, Guy Walker,Patrick Waterson. Australian Research Council, Discovery.(A$387,756) 2018  
Optimising illicit dark net marketplace interventions. Paul Salmon, David Lacey, Adrian Cherney, Neville Stanton. Australian Research Council, Linkage (A$426,600) 2016  
From data to action:  A new process for developing injury countermeasures Paul Salmon (lead CI), Natassia Goode (CI), Caroline Finch, Clare Dallat, David Strickland, Brendan Smith, David Petherick Australian Research Council Linkage (A$746,000) 2015 This project aims to understand how reporting systems can improve workplace safety
Distributed situation awareness and road safety:  Development of theory, measures, guidelines and interventions Paul Salmon NHMRC Post doctoral Training Fellowship (A$290,032) 2010–2014  
A new complex systems approach to road trauma: Applying systems thinking to the fatal five Paul Salmon Australian Research Council,  Future Fellowship (A$850,000) 2015  
An innovative theory driven approach to enhancing situation awareness among road users in Australia Paul Salmon, Michael Lenne, Guy Walker Australian Research Council Discovery scheme (A$ 141,366) 2012–2015  
Understanding and preventing injury in the led outdoor activity domain:  A theory driven approach to injury surveillance and prevention Paul Salmon, Michael Lenne, Caroline Finch, Erin Cassell Australian Research Council Linkage scheme (A $ 319,000) 2012–2015  
Application of contemporary systems-based methods to reduce trauma at rail level crossings Michael Lenne, Paul Salmon, Neville Stanton, Tom Triggs Australian Research Council Linkage scheme (A$960,000) 2012–2015  
Strengthening safety culture in logistics operations Michael Lenne, Paul Salmon, Natassia Goode, Peter Hillard Air Express 2012  
The potential application of 'shared space' principles in the ACT to improve safety and amenity Jessica Edquist, Paul Salmon, Bruce Corben NRMA Road Safety Trust 2011  
Research into the implementation and road safety benefits of Pedestrian User Friendly Intelligent (PUFFIN) technology Paul Salmon, Jessica Edquist, Jennie Oxley NSW Centre for Road Safety 2011  
The effects of motion on battle management system performance Michael Lenne, Paul Salmon, Tom Triggs Defence Science Technology Organisation 2011  
Human performance using vehicle systems Michael Lenne, Tom Triggs, Paul Salmon Defence Science Technology Organisation 2010  
The nature of errors made by drivers Michael Lenne, Paul Salmon Austroads Road Safety Taskforce 2009–2010  
A human factors analysis of the critical decisions preceding safety compromising accidents and incidents Michael Lenne, Paul Salmon Bunnings Warehouse Ltd 2009–2010  
Human error and systems failures in fatal crashes in the ACT and NSW Michael Lenne, Paul Salmon, Michael Fitzharris NRMA Road Safety Trust 2008–2009  

Research areas

  • Human factors and ergonomics
  • Systems analysis and design
  • Sociotechnical systems
  • Situation awareness
  • Transportation safety (road, rail, aviation, maritime)
  • Sport
  • Workplace safety
  • Defence
  • Cybersecurity
  • Accident causation and analysis
  • Teamwork and distributed cognition
  • Disaster preparedness, response and recovery
  • Land Use Planning and Urban Design

Teaching areas

  • Human Factors
  • Ergonomics
  • Human Computer Interaction
  • Qualitative Research Methods

Professor Paul Salmon's specialist areas of knowledge include applied human factors research across a range of safety critical domains, including road safety, defence, workplace safety, aviation, emergency management, rail transport and outdoor education.

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