ETHICS OF BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACES: Merging human beings with machines

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Merging human beings with machines via artificially intelligent brain-computer interfaces is a major scientific achievement of the current decade. It holds the key to countless new therapeutic applications from using thoughts to manoeuvre robotic limbs to controlling psychiatric symptoms. This project aims at (but are is not limited to) exploring, identifying and translating a range of potential postoperative-related vulnerabilities introduced by brain-computer interfaces, especially those related to the notion of agency, autonomy, responsibility, estrangement, identity, privacy, and ownership. This project will develop new knowledge around understanding the phenomenology of brain-computer interfaces, but as well harm prevention in the future use of AI applications in medicine, cognitive science and neurology. Issues associated with algorithmic agency and machine learning gain of autonomy may be considered.

Supported by the Ethics Lab (via Humanities Strategic Research funding), the project comes with a bursary of $5000 in addition to the possibility of applying for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS), and may also include the opportunity to undertake an internship in one of our collaborative partners’ Lab testing brain-computer Interfaces and/or machine learning.

The project is designed to accommodate applicants from a range of disciplinary areas willing to explore the ethics of brain-computer interfaces, including, neuroethics/bioethics, applied ethics, philosophy, cognitive science, computer science, psychology.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Frederic Gilbert


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Masters or equivalent in a discipline closely related to Neuroethics, AI Ethics, Bioethics, Ethics of Emerging Technologies, Applied Ethics, Medical ethics
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Frederic Gilbert to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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