Matthew Welsh

Dr Matthew Welsh

Senior Research Fellow

Australian School of Petroleum

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences


Dr Matthew Welsh is a psychological scientist specialising in decision making . In his role at the Australian School of Petroleum, he researches how people's decision-making tendencies impact the choices they make and the economic flow-on effects of this for industries like oil and gas, which depend on expert judgement and estimation to reduce uncertainty.

As part of this research, he works with oil companies, helping them to identify psychological biases in personnel and processes and developing training regimes and decision support tools to limit or eliminate those biases.

He teaches into the Australian School of Petroleum's Decision Making courses at Honours and Masters levels; and into the School of Psychology's Masters in Organisational Psychology and 3rd year Individual Differences and Personality Assessment course.

I am a psychological scientist working in the Australian School of Petroleum's Centre for Improved Business Performance (CIBP), which is part of the University's Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER (opens in new window)). Our group, led by Prof. Steve Begg, is funded by companies under a "research club" structure, whereby members join to gain access to all research undertaken by the group.

My primary area of research is in decision making under uncertainty, particularly as it relates to real world problems such as those faced in the petroleum industry. My current focus is on examining the impact, in terms of both accuracy and economic outcomes, of cognitive biases on petroleum decisions and mechanisms for reducing these. These mechanisms include traditional methods such as debiasing through feedback and the use of heuristic decision making methods.

This had led to me consider the role that elicitation plays in the shaping the data provided by both expert and novice decision makers. That is, how should we ask questions in order to translate a person's beliefs into useable, numerical formats while avoiding biases known to affect judgements made under uncertainty.

I have reviewed papers for Psychological Science, Cognitive Science, the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, AAPG Bulletin, SPE Economics and Management, the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Management Research Review and the Journal of Mathematical Psychology.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2013 Senior Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2012 Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2004 - 2006 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Unibversity of Adelaide
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2011 - 2012 University of Adelaide Australia Grad. Cert. Ed. (Higher)
    1999 - 2002 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    1995 - 1998 University of Adelaide Australia BSc(Hons)
    1989 - 1993 University of Adelaide Australia BA(Hons)
  • Research Interests

  • Begg, S.H. & Welsh, M.B. - ARC Linkage Project LP160101460 with Santos and Woodside. $761,000. (2017-2020)
  • Welsh, M.B. & Begg, S.H. – Santos & Woodside. “Centre for Improved Business Performance Phase V “. $150,000
  • Steacy, S., Begg, S.H. & Welsh, M.B. – University of Adelaide Interdisciplinary Research Fund “Psychology of risk perception”. $22,000 (2015).
  • Begg, S.H & Welsh, M.B. – BG Group, ExxonMobil, Santos Ltd & Woodside. “Centre for Improved Business Performance Phase IV”. $300,000 p.a. (2013-2015).
  • Welsh, M.B. – ExxonMobil Consultancy “Biases in group decision making.” $3200 (2010).
  • Begg, S.H & Welsh, M.B. – ExxonMobil & Santos Ltd. “Centre for Improved Business Performance Phase III”. US$112,000 p.a. (2010-2012).
  • Begg, S.H. & Welsh, M.B. - ExxonMobil & Santos Ltd. “Centre for Improved Business Performance Phase II”. US$100,000 p.a. (2007-2009).
  • Welsh, M.B. & Begg, S.H. – Engineering, Computing & Mathematical Science Faculty Grant. “Individual differences in decision making.” $11,000 (2010).
  • Welsh, M.B. & Begg, S.H. – Engineering, Computing & Mathematical Science Faculty Grant. “Cognitive bias in the petroleum industry.” $16,000 (2008).
  • Begg, S.H. & Welsh, M.B. – ExxonMobil Consultancy. $40,000 (2007).
  • Begg, S.H., Smith, C. & Welsh, M.B. - ARC Linkage Project 0453894 “Human Decision-Making Processes and Outcomes Under Uncertainty in the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry”. $42,000 p.a. (2005-2007).
  • Welsh, M.B. - Qantas Travel Grants. Competitively awarded to Early Career Researchers to provide airfares to international conferences. $3300 p.a. (2006, 2008).
  • Welsh, M.B. - ECMS Faculty Overseas Conference Leave Grants. Competitively awarded to ECMS Faculty staff to provide funds toward travel to international conferences. $2000 p.a. (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014).

I teach into the following courses:

Decision and Risk Analysis (PETROENG 4027) in the Petroluem Engineering Bachelors

Human Factors (PSYCHOL 7336) in the Masters of Organisational Psychology

Individual Differences and Personality Assessment (PSYCHOL 3022) in undergraduate Psychology

  • Position: Senior Research Fellow
  • Phone: 83138024
  • Email: matthew.welsh@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 8030
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Santos Petroleum Engineering, floor 3
  • Room: 3 02c
  • Org Unit: Australian School of Petroleum

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