About Us

The Appleton Institute is a multidisciplinary research hub in Adelaide, as well as a CQUniversity Distance Education Centre in South Australia.

Our team are involved in research, teaching and community engagement in a wide range of areas including safety science, sleep and fatigue, human factors and safety management, applied psychology, human-animal interaction, and cultural anthropology. In 2013 our brand new, state-of-the-art sleep laboratory was opened with 6 bedrooms and time-isolation capabilities and is now collecting data on sleep, fatigue and performance in a number of projects.

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, the Appleton Institute was formally established as part of CQUniversity in January 2012.

The Institute is overseen by renowned fatigue and human factors expert Professor Drew Dawson, and is complemented by a team of 30 researchers.

Professor Dawson first established the group at the University of Adelaide in 1992. Since then it has grown to become the largest behavioural sleep research group in Australia, as well as broadening its expertise to include safety science, applied psychology, cultural anthropology, human factors and safety management systems.

The Appleton Institute was named after the late Dr. Arthur Appleton, the first Vice-Chancellor of CQUniversity, who also had strong ties to South Australia through his appointment as Head of Metallurgy at the South Australian Institute of Technology (now UniSA).

In 2013, a brand new, state-of-the-art sleep laboratory was opened with 6 bedrooms and time-isolation capabilities, and is now collecting data on sleep, fatigue and performance in a number of projects.

Also in 2013, a brand new teaching program in Safety Science began.

The Appleton Institute is a multi-disciplinary centre for professional researchers with international reputations. Its personnel are internationally renowned for their:

  • world-class research
  • collaborative research culture
  • excellent infrastructure
  • ability to develop high quality teaching programs
  • capacity to attract, teach and develop higher degree research students and early career research academics
  • engagement with government, industry, and the wider community

The Appleton Institute team includes specialists in:

  • Human Factors and Safety Science
  • Sleep, Circadian and Exercise Physiology
  • Clinical, Cognitive and Biological Psychology
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Animal Behaviour and Human-Animal Interaction
  • Social Inclusion and Community Development
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Statistical Analysis

The Appleton Institute's multi-disciplinary team collaborates with a huge range of experts in a broad range of fields. The Institute work with partners including:

  • First-class international universities (e.g. Cornell Medical School, Harvard Medical School, Karolinska Institute)
  • Sleep and circadian research laboratories in Australia (e.g. Sleep and Chronobiology Research Group at Monash University, Circadian Physiology Group at the University of Adelaide);
  • Government departments (e.g. Public Transport Authority of Western Australia, Safework SA, SA Health, RailCorp NSW)
  • Industry groups (e.g. Bushfire CRC, Rail CRC)

Individual companies The Institute's research is primarily funded by national competitive grants and industry-based research contracts. Its collaborative approach is emphasised by its philosophy:

"If we don't have all the expertise for a new project, we do have the contacts to build a specialised team and make it happen".

The Appleton Institute is one of only a few research institutes in the world with the necessary facilities, expertise and experience to conduct multiple-day, live-in studies to assess the impact of sleep restriction on metabolic function.

The Institute's new premises have a state-of-the-art accommodation suite that houses four participants concurrently, each with their own bedroom, lounge and bathroom. The suite, configured like a serviced apartment, also has a shared kitchen, dining room, laundry, and gym, so participants can reside in comfort during studies.

The suite is equipped with technologies that permit continuous monitoring of measures related to the function of the human sleep/wake, neurobehavioural, metabolic, and endocrine systems. Facilities also include an advanced interactive rail simulator and a neurocognitive testing laboratory.