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Next Generation Technologies Fund – Depicting human vulnerabilities towards cyber threats via trust analytics (High priority) (closed)

Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group
This challenge has closed.
Partners: Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, Data61
Fields of Research: Computer Software, Numerical and Computational Mathematics, Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing, Information Systems, Other Information and Computing Sciences, Distributed Computing, Data Format, Cognitive Sciences
Tags: Cyber, Cyber Security, Data Privacy, Cyber Resilience, Human Behaviour
Audience: Researchers
Anticipated Funding: Assessment based
Call For Applications: August 15, 2018
Applications Open: July 6, 2018
Applications Close (4:30pm AEDT): August 14, 2018
Last Updated: August 20, 2018 5:09 AM
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The Challenge

Although most efforts in cyber security focus on purely technical solutions, a significant proportion of attacks and confidential data spills can be attributed, at least in part, to human errors and negligence. Understanding vulnerabilities via human behaviour will be a critical step towards developing mitigation strategies for these vulnerabilities, and hence improving the cyber security posture of stakeholders of significance to national security.

This project should aim to investigate what individual differences and what patterns of user behaviour can predict people’s vulnerability, directly and indirectly, to cyber threats. Specifically, it should focus on a more robust and accurate measurement of trust in different cyber context, based on generic trust profiles, observable human behaviour, captured physiological signals, and means of interaction. The research could consist of two key components: (1) Experiment design for elicitation of trust profiles, including the development of research hypothesis, collection of behavioural (e.g. mouse & eye movement) and/or physiological data (e.g. GSR, BVP) for human trust measurement and calibration, and (2) evaluation of human trust and responses towards cyber threats under different network contexts. These could be validated in lab-based or crowd-sourced user studies involving diverse groups of humans, taking different roles and adopting different means of human-network interaction.

This research should link several key factors including human, trust and cyber security together into a framework. Such a framework is critical for the understanding of human trusting behaviours, deployment of trust methods in cyber scenarios and applications, and further provide effective knowledge regarding how to calibrate human trust, identify human vulnerabilities and avoid human errors in the cyber environment.

The Partners

Defence Science and Technology (DST) GroupData61

Eligibility Criteria

This opportunity is open to all registered Australian Universities and Australian Publicly Funded Research Agencies. 


  • Successful applicants must be able to meet the milestones and timelines outlined in their submission. 
  • Successful applicants must enter into a Data61 University Collaboration Agreement. 
  • Successful applicants will enter into the appropriate contracting arrangement within 3 weeks of announcement.


Terms and Conditions

Proposals submitted will be assessed equally on the following criteria: 


  • Alignment to Defence strategy and the project priorities articulated in this document 
  • Future science criticality 
  • Collaboration depth (e.g. Collaboration with DST staff, Data61 staff, other universities, an industry partner, etc.) 
  • Delivery of outcomes (e.g. the ability of the proposal to deliver the agreed outcomes and milestones). 
  • Game changing potential to Defence


Please limit submissions to no more than 2000 words. Ensure that all contact details, current and potential DST, Data61 collaborators and/or research partner details are on a separate page/covering sheet. The proposals will be de-identified during the selection process to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. 

Defence and Data61 reserves the right to fund all, some or none of the proposals received under this Call for Applications. 


Contracts and Intellectual Property


Successful applicants will be required to enter into a Data61 University Collaboration Agreement and a subsidiary Collaborative Research Project Agreement with Data61 in order to access project funding. Data61 will enter into contracts with the lead party in each proposal. 

Any IP generated as part of the projects will vest in Data61 unless otherwise agreed, and Defence will receive a license for Commonwealth purposes only. 

Any Commonwealth funding contributed to the projects will be paid in accordance with successful completion of milestones and as negotiated by the parties. Where circumstances necessitate it is possible for a small payment to be made upon execution of the agreement and in accordance with Defence procurement rules. 


How to Apply

Please submit via the DST portal.


Proposals are to be submitted by 4.30pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT), 15 August 2018. Only projects submitted via email to by the above deadline will be considered in this round. 

For further information or assistance, please contact:


Want to know more or not sure where to start?
Click on the page most relevant to you or learn more about how you can get involved:


The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
The Conversation Media Group
IP Australia
Clarivate Analytics
The Australian Research Council
ACT Government
Australian Access Federation
Australian National University
CBR Innovation Network
University of Canberra
University of Technology Sydney
Western Sydney University