Academic Director of AIE Institute (Academy of Interactive Entertainment)
Director of the Virtual Reality Lab at the Simulation Hub, Macquarie University
Associate Professor Manolya Kavakli is currently the Director of the Virtual Reality Lab at the Simulation Hub located at Macquarie University. She recently accepted a Professorial role as the Academic Director of AIE Institute (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) starting from August 2018, reducing her involvement at Macquarie University to a research only position at 0.2FTE. The Academic Directorship role at AIE involves not only establishing new training programs targeting the development of BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees in computer games, arts and animation, but also establishing industry related research labs with industry funding (supported through Microforte, a computer games company). AIE currently focuses on vocational education programs, such as training and production of computer games, 3D animation and visual effects for job ready professionals in games industry.
Associate Professor Manolya Kavakli is an active researcher in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Her research involves virtual reality and motion tracking technologies for the development of training simulations and improvement of human performance and expertise. She gained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in 1990 and 1995 from Istanbul Technical University and was awarded a NATO Science Fellowship in 1996 for postdoctoral research. In 1998 she received a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Sydney, Australia. Until 1999 she worked as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University. In 2000, she started lecturing in IT at the School of Information Technology, Charles Sturt University and became the Acting Course Coordinator of the Bachelor of Computer Science (Games Technology) degree which was the first of its kind in Australia. In 2003, she became a Senior Lecturer at Department of Computing, Macquarie University, and established the Virtual Reality Lab. She is the founding member of VISOR (Virtual and Interactive Simulations of Reality Research Group). She was a member of CEPET (Research Centre for Elite Performance, Expertise, and Training) until recently accepting the position at AIE Institute.
Kavakli supervised 10 postdoctoral fellows and 123 postgraduate students (11 PhD, 4 MSc, 7 Honours, 34 MIT project, 24 MIT Special Topic, 11 French MEng internships, and 32 MIT/MEng internships) in HCI. At present, she has been supervising 9 PhD and 1 Mres students in this domain. In 2013 and 2014 Dr Kavakli was employed as a Visiting Research Professor at the Virtual Immersion Research Group, Image Institute – Laboratory Le2i, Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Arts et Metiers ParisTech, Chalon Sur Saone, France. She has been the recipient of 21 awards, including 5 fellowships and 9 Best paper awards and nominations in the last 6 years. She received 31 research and infrastructure grants from a number of scientific international organisations including the Commonwealth, the Australian Research Council, the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, Turkish Republic State Planning Organization. Her research has been profiled in international media 44 times including ABC TV, ABC 7:30 Report, ABC and SBS Radio, Sydney morning Herald. She frequently reviews grants for the ARC Linkage, Discovery, Decra, and Linkage Infrastructure Schemes, New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, The Marsden Fund Council, Royal Society of New Zealand and The Research Council for Culture and Society at the Academy of Finland.