Visualisation of Supply Chains: Using Virtual Reality to Illuminate Modern Slavery in Global Trade


The supervisory team will also include Dr Arunima Malik and Dr Marcus Carter.

This project will employ multi-region input-output analysis and a comprehensive global database to trace modern slavery in global supply chains.  It will employ the latest in 360° video and virtual reality technology, high-powered PCs and Oculus rift headsets as tools to engineer a VR experience of these modern slavery global supply chains as they snake around the world.

The technical issue to be addressed will be to construct a Virtual Reality environment driven by the input-output matrix of the global economy.  The environment will need to accommodate the addition of specific organisation supply chains and the introduction of new social and environmental indicators over time as data become available.  This constitutes a major step forward in conceptualising the output of input-output modelling both for communication and analysis and to identify actions that can be taken based on this analysis.

The applicant will join a multidisciplinary team based with the ISA Research Group at the School of Physics and incorporating the knowledge, industry experience and technical expertise of the Department of Media and Communications and the Immersive Learning Laboratory facilities of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies featuring high-powered PCS and Oculus Rift headsets.

ISA develops leading-edge research and applications for environmental, social and economic sustainability issues, bringing together expertise in environmental science, economics, technology, and social science. The Department of Media and Communications critically investigates emerging technologies and content practices, such as Virtual Reality.


Dr Joy Murray, Dr Arunima Malik

Research Location

School of Physics

Program Type



The project is part of a larger project to address modern slavery in the supply chain.
Modern slavery is the scourge of our time, with 40.3 million people estimated to be trapped therein and while jurisdictions worldwide are realising the need to take action there is mixed response from procuders and consumers. The plight of workers in many supply chains is dire, particularly in textiles, seafood, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and mining. Inequalities cover environmental as well as social issues and include biodiversity loss, carbon emissions, particulate matter, water use, waste, inequality, poverty, occupational safety and health; and child labour and slavery. The focus of this study is on modern slavery, however it is expected that the virtual reality architecture will be built so that other social and environmental supply chain issues can be addressed in future.

The project will use multi-region input-output (MICRO) analysis and one of the world's most powerful databases of the global economy - the global IELab - together with the latest in 360° video technology, virtually rendered environments (using software such as Unity), high-powered PCs and Oculus rift headsets, as tools to engineer a VR experience of modern slavery in supply chains as they snake around the world. This VR experience will be used in programs to support consumer and producer learning about: what constitutes modern slavery; how supply chains can be made transparent so that we can see where it occurs; and what we can do about it when we find it.

The IELab provides a platform for combining detailed bottom-up process information about the system under sutdy (i.e. this case modern slavery) with comprehensive top-down input-output data on the background economy. This project requires collection of data on slavery from a wide range of sources (e.g. ILO; Global Slavery Index; Global Estimates of Modern Slavery; US funded International Organization for Migration's Counter-Trafficking Module Database; annual EU list of geographical and sector hotspots of slavery). Inserted into the IELab these data will provide the data feeds for creating graphical representation of supply chains and illuminating where slavery exists. The resulting input-output-assisted 'slavery footprint' will become part of an existing suite of social IO applications. However, Virtual Reality visualisation of the slavery footprint will break completely new ground.

Additional Information

This is not a funded position.  Applicant is responsible for obtaining a stipend if needed.

Interest and prior engagement in broader sustainability will be beneficial.

The supervisory team will also include Dr Arunima Malik and Dr Marcus Carter.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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input-output analysis, Virtual Reality, data visualisation, social effects of trade, supply chain analysis, MRIO

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2483

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