Apsara Abeysiriwardhane

UTAS Home Dr Apsara Abeysiriwardhane

Apsara Abeysiriwardhane

National Centre for Ports and Shipping

Room F98 , Swanson Building

+61 3 6324 3482 (phone)

  • Naval Architect at Ship Design and Consultancy firm, UAE, 2007 – 2012
  • Lecturer at Kotelawala Defence University, Sri Lanka, 2012 – 2014
  • PhD Researcher, University of Tasmania, 2014 – 2017
  • Academic staff (Casual), Australian Maritime College, 2014 – 2017
  • Academic staff (Full time), Australian Maritime College, 2017 – 2018
  • Human Factors Advisor - Projects, Metro Trains Melbourne, Australia, 2018 – 2020
  • Lecturer in Maritime Engineering, University of Tasmania, 2020 to present


Dr Apsara Abeysiriwardhane is a qualified naval architect and an academic professional with over 13 years of diversified service experience in the maritime industry. She completed her PhD in Maritime Human Factors at the University of Tasmania in 2017. Subsequently, she becomes an applied HF professional in the application of best practice HF analysis and system safety methods in the development of safety-critical maritime and rail applications and operations. Apsara is a pioneering researcher in the maritime education domain to develop a novel pedagogical framework for integrating Human Centred Design knowledge into maritime education. Presently she is holding a position as a Lecturer in Maritime Engineering at the Australian Maritime College. Her research interest includes maritime human factors, human centred design approach in socio-technical system design, resilience engineering, ship's dynamic stability, maritime education and training, and maritime autonomy.

Career summary


  • PhD (2017) ‘Shaping Ships for People: Human Centred Design Knowledge into Maritime Education’, Australian Maritime College, University of Tasmania
  • BSc (Hons) (2007), Ocean University, Sri Lanka

Languages (other than English)

  • Sinhalese


Professional practice

  • Member, Royal Institution of Naval Architects
  • Member, Engineers Australia
  • Member, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia


Naval Architecture, Ships Stability, Ship Design and Construction, Applied Mechanics, Marine Mathematics, Engineering Design and Presentation

Teaching expertise

  • Naval Architecture
  • Applied Ship Design
  • Ship Manoeuvrability
  • Resistance and Propulsion
  • Human Centred Design
  • Research Methods
  • Supervisor of final year research projects

Teaching responsibility

  • Unit coordinator and lecturer for: JNE235
  • Unit coordinator and lecturer for: JNE238
  • Unit coordinator and lecturer for: JNE319
  • Unit coordinator and lecturer for: JNE122

View more on Dr Apsara Abeysiriwardhane in WARP


Apsara’s research experience is in the field of Maritime Human Factors (HF) and Human Centred Design (HCD). Her work involves:

  • Application of HCD into the safety-critical ship design life cycle from concept to implementation;
  • Application of HF into new development projects and rail system designs;
  • Interaction between human and machine for modern ship systems;
  • Integration of HF and HCD knowledge into maritime education;
  • An ecosystem perspective of future skills and capability in the autonomous maritime industry.

Research Themes

  • Environment, Resources and Sustainability
  • Marine, Antarctic and Maritime
  • Data, Knowledge and Decisions

Fields of Research

  • Naval Architecture (091102)
  • Maritime Engineering (091199)
  • Design Innovation (120302)
  • Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
  • Computer-Human Interaction (080602)
  • Automation and Control Engineering (091302)
  • Ship and Platform Structures (091105)
    *Decision Support and Group Support Systems (080605)

Research Objectives

  • Water Transport (880299)
  • Water Safety (880206)
  • Education and Training Theory and Methodology (939902)
  • Expanding Knowledge in Technology (970110)
  • Expanding Knowledge in Engineering (970109)
  • Passenger Water Transport (880204)
    *Workplace Safety (940505)


  • Apsara is currently involved in an EU funded collaborative research project named Human Maritime Autonomy Enable (HUMANE), which is lead by the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Some of Apsara's past research collaborations include:

  • Developing eLearning packages of the EU funded research project CyClaDes aiming to raise awareness and spread knowledge about user-centered Design of ships and shipborne operations.
  • Contributed to the development of the Cyclades framework which supports the shipping industry in improving user-centered design for ships and ship systems.

Current projects

  • Co-Investigator on a collaborative research project with Blue Economy CRC Co: Scoping Study Projects; Aquaculture Vessel Requirement scoping study.
  • Member of an EU funded collaborative research project named Human Maritime Autonomy Enable (HUMANE), which is lead by the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Fields of Research

  • Marine engineering (401501)
  • Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy (390113)
  • Maritime transportation and freight services (350904)
  • Interaction and experience design (330310)
  • Ship and platform structures (incl. maritime hydrodynamics) (401504)
  • Engineering practice (401003)
  • Higher education (390303)
  • Naval architecture (401502)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in engineering (280110)
  • Water safety (270410)
  • Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences (280111)
  • Water transport (270499)
  • Maritime (140108)
  • Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum (160301)
  • International sea freight transport (excl. live animals, food products and liquefied gas) (270405)
  • Expanding knowledge in education (280109)
  • Coastal sea freight transport (270402)
  • Domestic passenger water transport (e.g. ferries) (270403)


Total publications


Journal Article

(8 outputs)
2021Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft MH, Ghosh S, 'Learning and learning-to-learn by doing: An experiential learning approach for integrating human factors into maritime design education', Maritime Technology and Research, 3, (1) pp. 31-48. ISSN 2651-205X (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.33175/mtr.2021.241912 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft MH; Ghosh S


2021Ghosh S, Abeysiriwardhane A, 'The influence of information technology on the implementation of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code: A shift from paper-based to paperless ships', Maritime Technology and Research, 3, (3) pp. 299-311. ISSN 2651-205X (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.33175/mtr.2021.249024 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Ghosh S


2020Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft MH, Ghosh S, 'An action research and scaffolding based approach for maritime design education: a contribution towards shaping ships for people', Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs, 12, (3) pp. 159-180. ISSN 1836-6503 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2020.1791784 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft MH; Ghosh S


2020Ghosh S, Bowles M, Abeysiriwardhane A, 'Developing a methodology to investigate the correlation between seafarer students' perception of authenticity in assessment and their achievement', Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs pp. 1-21. ISSN 1836-6503 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2020.1783742 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Ghosh S; Bowles M


2020Ghosh S, Bowles M, Abeysiriwardhane A, 'Does excluding students from co-creation of rubrics affect their academic achievement in the associated authentic assessment task?', Australian Journal of Maritime & Ocean Affairs pp. 1-16. ISSN 1836-6503 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/18366503.2020.1810602 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Ghosh S; Bowles M


2016Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft M, Petersen ES, Enshaei H, 'Human-centred design knowledge into maritime engineering education; theoretical framework', Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 21, (2) pp. 49-60. ISSN 2205-4952 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/22054952.2017.1287038 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 7

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Petersen ES; Enshaei H


2015Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft M, Petersen ES, Enshaei H, 'Investigate and stimulate future maritime designers' context of use knowledge: a workshop approach', International Journal of Marine Design, 157 pp. 179-193. ISSN 2048-7541 (2015) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Petersen ES; Enshaei H


2014Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft M, Enshaei H, 'Human factors for ship design; exploring the bottom rung', International Journal of Marine Design, 156, (C1) pp. 153-162. ISSN 2048-7541 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3940/rina.ijmd.2014.c1.32 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Enshaei H


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
2017Lutzhoft M, Petersen ES, Abeysiriwardhane A, 'The psychology of ship architecture and design', Maritime psychology: research in organizational & health behavior at sea, Springer International Publishing, M MacLachlan (ed), Switzerland, pp. 69-98. ISBN 978-3-319-45430-6 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-45430-6_4 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Petersen ES


Conference Publication

(3 outputs)
2021Cha M, Jayasinghe SG, Enshaei H, Islam R, Abeysiriwardhane A, et al., 'Power management optimisation of a battery/fuel cell hybrid electric ferry', Proceedings of 31st Australasian Universities Power Engineering Conference (AUPEC 2021), 26-30 September 2021, Virtual Conference, Online, pp. 1-6. ISBN 978-1-6654-3451-5 (2021) [Refereed Conference Paper]

DOI: 10.1109/AUPEC52110.2021.9597787 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Jayasinghe SG; Enshaei H; Islam R


2016Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft M, Styhr Petersen E, Enshaei H, 'Incorporate good practice into ship design process: future ship designers meet end users', Proceedings of Ergoship 2016: Shaping Shipping for People, 6-7 April 2016, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-11. (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Styhr Petersen E; Enshaei H


2015Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft M, Petersen ES, Enshaei H, 'Future ship designers and context of use; setting the stage for human centred design', Royal Institute of Naval Architects International Conference: Marine Design 2015, 2-3 September 2015, London, United Kingdom, pp. 1-16. ISBN 978-1-909024-42-7 (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Petersen ES; Enshaei H


Other Public Output

(1 outputs)
2017Abeysiriwardhane A, Lutzhoft M, Styhr Petersen E, 'Human centered design knowledge for maritime designers: enough preaching, time to practice', NMIO Technical Bulletin, National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office, United States, 12, 1, pp. 7-11. (2017) [Magazine Article]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Lutzhoft M; Styhr Petersen E

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Aquaculture Vessel Requirement scoping study (2020)$49,351
The Purpose of this scoping study is to understand the likely requirements of the service vessels needed to efficiently and sustainably operate and maintain offshore aquaculture farms in the future. Developing an understanding of the likely environmental, operational and technical constraints will enable an assessment of current vessel types and technologies to be conducted and the development of a typical vessel specification and concept design. A comprehensive review of the existing Australian and international maritime classification standards and Human Centred Design guidelines from the design, building, construction, and survey perspectives of the aquaculture support vessels will be carried out under this study.
Blue Economy CRC Co ($49,351)
Scoping Study Projects
Administered By
Blue Economy CRC Co
Research Team
Shearer C; Sembukutti Vidanelage BJ; Jayasinghe Arachchillage SDG; Chin CKH; Abdussamie N; Abeysiriwardhane HSA; Dove TW; Tomlinson N

Research Supervision

Apsara is currently co-supervising one external research project at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Degree: PhD
Title: Future skills and competence in the maritime industry – an ecosystem perspective
Commenced: 2019




PhDDeep Learning-based Human-Autonomy Teaming (HAT) for Maritime Autonomy2020
PhDSafety Management in the Australian Domestic Commercial Vessel Fleet: Rate of uptake and development of safety culture in small to medium size businesses2020