Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow, University of Sydney

Tara Murphy is Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow at the University of Sydney. Her research is interdisciplinary, investigating the application of novel computer science and software engineering techniques to data-intensive astronomy research.

Tara is leading the VAST project: An ASKAP Survey for Variables and Slow Transients. This project is investigating astronomical objects that vary on rapid timescales. These objects act as a laboratory for studying extreme physics. VAST will allow us to answer questions about the formation of black holes, the missing mass in our Galaxy, and the origin of many exotic objects that burst and flicker in the distant universe. Tara is also working on transients surveys with the Murchison Widefield Array, a low frequency SKA pathfinder.

Tara is Director of the National Computer Science School and the NCSS Challenge - two high school outreach programs that encourage students to engage with IT.


  • 2016–present
    Associate professor, University of Sydney
  • 2010–2015
    Senior lecturer, University of Sydney
  • 2006–2009
    ARC Australian Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Sydney


  • 2004 
    The University of Edinburgh, PhD (Astrophysics)
  • 1999 
    The University of Sydney, Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Honours)

Grants and Contracts

  • 2016
    The radio transient sky in real time
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Future Fellow
  • 2011
    Extreme Events: Mining the Radio Sky for Gamma-ray Bursts with Intelligent Algorithms
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Discovery Project
  • 2010
    New Dimensions in Radio Astronomy: Mining Sparse Datasets with the Australian SKA Pathfinder
    Chief Investigator
    Funding Source:
    ARC Super Science

Research Areas

  • Astronomical And Space Sciences (0201)
  • Galactic Astronomy (020104)
  • Cosmology And Extragalactic Astronomy (020103)
  • Artificial Intelligence And Image Processing (0801)