Rita conducts industry-focused research to improve the health and safety performance in the construction industry. She links theory with practice and undertakes research of practical application.
Rita actively conducts research in construction work health and safety, safety governance and social responsibility. Her research has been funded by government bodies, private construction organisations, and cooperative research centre (CRC). So far, she has been awarded more than AU$ 2 million research funding. She has also disseminated her research findings to a global audience through actively publishing in international leading construction management journals and presenting in international conferences.
- Health and safety climate/culture
- An integrated supply chain approach to safety
- Leadership in health and safety
- Health and wellbeing in construction
- Organisational governance in health and safety
- Corporate social responsibility
- Building safety and supply chain integrity
- The Emerald Research Methodology Award for the Paper "The influence of Safety Leadership, Social Support, and Psychological Capital on Construction Safety Climate", Awarded by Association of Researchers in Construction Management (ARCOM), UK, 2018
- Highly Commended Paper Winner for the Paper "Facilities Management Service and Customer Satisfaction in Shopping Mall Sector" published in Facilities, Awarded by Emerald Group Publishing, 2014.
- Grand Prize in Outstanding Dissertation/Thesis Awards for Postgraduate Students, Awarded by Hong Kong Institution of Surveyors (HKIS), 2012.
- UGC Full Scholarship for Outstanding Mainland Students (HK$ 300,000), Awarded by University Grants Committee (UGC), Hong Kong, 2004 – 2007.
External Research Funding
- Risk governance for procurement in future fuels, AU$ 313,100, Funded by Future Fuels CRC, 2021 – 2022.
- Conversations about life, health and safety: Social supports for young construction workers' health and safety, AU$1,161,835, Funded by Insurance and Care (icare) Foundation NSW, 2021 – 2023
- WHS Literature Review – Young and Older Construction Workers, AU$27,950, Funded by by Insurance and Care (icare) Foundation NSW, 2019.
- Participatory governance of integrated and resilient residential and mixed-use developments, AU$18,000, Funded by RICS Research Trust Grant, 2019 – 2020.
- Safety climate survey for Whareroa WPC Refurbishment Project, AU$4,044, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2018.
- Safety climate survey for Aquila Project, AU$4,044, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2017 – 2018.
- Multiplex Safety Survey, AU$2,300, Funded by Multiplex Constructions (Vic) Pty Ltd, 2017.
- Work Health & Safety benchmark survey design and analysis, AU$134,284, Funded by Australian Capital Territory - Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, 2017.
- Picasso Project safety climate survey (RMIT External Funding Project Code: 0200316095), AU$11,880, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2017.
- The impact of Supervisors' and Site Managers' behaviour on work health & safety in the construction industry, AU$98,768, Funded by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, 2016 – 2017.
- Safety climate measurement for Whareroa Everest Project, AU$15,940, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2015 – 2016.
- Safety Climate measurement for Water Treatment Project, AU$15,940, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2015 – 2016.
- Learning and decision making for improved process safety, AU$278,600, Funded by Energy Pipelines CRC Ltd, 2015 – 2019.
- Safety Climate measurement for Edendale Project InteGreat, AU$15,836, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2015.
- Safety climate measures for Fonterra's Clandeboye project Phoenix, AU$15,375, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2015.
- Work Health and Safety (WHS) culture maturity model and climate tool validation, AU$78,136, Funded by Australian Constructors Association Limited, 2014 – 2016.
- Safety climate measures for Whareroa dry store extension project, AU$13,625, Funded by Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited, 2013 – 2014.
Internal Research Funding
- Co-sponsoring the visit of Dame Judith Hackitt, a former chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive to RMIT, and developing collaboration initiatives towards a safer built environment (Capability Development Fund), AU$4.000, Funded by Urban Features Enabling Capability Platform (ECP), RMIT University, 2018.
- Governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the construction industry (PCPM School Research Theme Grant), AU$10,000, Funded by School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, 2017.
- Construction sector executive remuneration schemes (PCPM Research Project Seed Funding), AU$6,000, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, 2015.
- Developing an international collaborative research project to explore the use of "smart" clothing in monitoring construction workers' health and safety (DSC International Research Seed Fund), AU$5,000, Funded by College of Design and Social Context (DSC), RMIT University, 2013.
- Workplace Health and Safety Culture, Funded by Australian Contractors Association (ACA), 2013. (Project CIs: Prof. Helen Lingard, Prof. Nick Blismas, Prof. Ron Wakefield)
- From finger-pointing to lifesaving: A supply chain approach to construction OSH, Funded by Construction Program (NIOSH) US, 2009 – 2015. (Project CIs: Prof. Helen Lingard, Prof. Nick Blismas, Prof. Ron Wakefield)
- Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Real Estate and Construction, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2011
- Bachelor of Science (1st Class Honour), Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, 2007
- Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Centre for Construction Work Health and Safety Research, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University, 2012-2014.
- Research Assistant, Department of Real Estate and Construction, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2011-2012.
- Assistant Engineer, China Overseas Holding Limited, Hong Kong, 2007.
- Oswald, D.,Lingard, H.,Zhang, R. (2022). How transactional and transformational safety leadership behaviours are demonstrated within the construction industry In: Construction Management and Economics, 40, 374 - 390
- Cheung, C.,Zhang, R.,Wang, R.,Hsu, M.,Manu, P. (2022). Group-Level Safety Climate in the Construction Industry: Influence of Organizational, Group, and Individual Factors In: Journal of Management in Engineering, 38, 1 - 11
- Lingard, H.,Zhang, R.,Hayes LaBond, C.,Clarke, J.,Doan, T. (2022). Situated Learning: How Interactions with Supervisors Shape Construction Apprentices’ Safety Learning and Practice In: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 148, 1 - 11
- Cheung, C.,Zhang, P.,Cui, Q.,Hsu, M. (2021). The antecedents of safety leadership: The job demands-resources model In: Safety Science, 133, 1 - 13
- Bowen, P.,Zhang, R.,Edwards, P. (2021). An investigation of work-related strain effects and coping mechanisms among South African construction professionals In: Construction Management and Economics, 39, 298 - 322
- Zhang, P.,Bowen, P. (2021). Work-family role blurring and conflict among South African construction professionals In: Construction Management and Economics, 39, 475 - 492
- Zhang, R.,Holdsworth, S.,Turner, M.,Andamon, M. (2021). Does gender really matter? A closer look at early career women in construction In: Construction Management and Economics, 39, 669 - 686
- Turner, M.,Zhang, R.,Holdsworth, S.,Andamon, M. (2021). Taking a broader approach to women's retention in construction: Incorporating the university domain In: Proceedings of the 37th Annual Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference (ARCOM 2021), Glasgow, United Kingdom, 6-7 September 2021
- Lingard, H.,Pirzadeh, P.,Zhang, R.,Turner, M. (2021). Job quality and construction workers’ mental health: A life span developmental perspective In: Proceedings of the Joint CIB W099 & W123 Annual International Conference 2021: Good health, Changes & innovations for improved wellbeing in construction, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 9-10 September 2021
- Zhang, P.,Bowen, P. (2021). Work-family conflict (WFC) – Examining a model of the work-family interface of construction professionals In: Safety Science, 144, 1 - 12
1 PhD Completions2 PhD Current Supervisions
- Risk Governance for Procurement in Future Fuels - Research Program 2 – Social Acceptance, Public Safety and Security of Supply. Funded by: Future Fuels CRC from (2021 to 2022)
- Participatory governance of integrated and resilient residential and mixed-use developments. Funded by: RICS Research Trust Grant 2019 onwards from (2019 to 2020)