Scientia PhD Scholarships

Offering 10 scholarships with SPRC researchers

The UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme is part of our dedication to harnessing our cutting-edge research to solve complex problems and improve the lives of people in local and global communities. Scientia scholars will have a strong commitment to making a difference in the world with demonstrated potential for contributing to the social engagement and/or global impact pillars of the UNSW 2025 Strategy. The Scientia Scheme is targeted in that applicants will apply to a specific research area with an identified supervisory team and application is by nomination.

  • Work on high quality research projects with the best supervisory teams in world class environments.
  • $40k a year stipend for four years.
  • Tuition fees covered for the full four-year period.
  • Coaching and mentoring will form a critical part of your highly personalised leadership development plan.
  • Up to $10k each year to build your career and support your international research collaborations.

Further details of the scheme are available from the UNSW Scientia Scholarships site.

To learn more about the strategic research areas being offered by SPRC, please browse below.

If you are interested in applying, please contact the Primary Supervisor listed to discuss the opportunity.

The deadline for applicants to contact supervisors and complete the initial application form is 12 July 2019.

UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarships with SPRC primary supervisors

Aboriginal governance and representative structures in NSW

Primary supervisor: Professor Ilan Katz
Secondary supervisors: Dr BJ Newton (SPRC) and Dr Kyllie Cripps (UNSW Law)

Project description
Unlike most countries with Indigenous populations, there is no single representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. Instead, a diverse range of community, regional and state level bodies exist, each with their own accountabilities and governance structures. Aboriginal governance structures are extremely complex and variable depending on the local history and context. There has been no systematic examination of Aboriginal governance structures in Australia and how they interact with each other and with non-Aboriginal governance structures. Research in this area will become an important factor in the ongoing discussions about Indigenous recognition and self-determination in Australia.

Cognition and decision-making in consumer-directed aged care markets

Primary supervisor: Dr Myra Hamilton
Secondary supervisors: Professor Carmelle Peisah (UNSW Psychiatry) and Scientia Professor Kaarin Anstey (UNSW Psychology)

Project description
New consumer-directed care markets in Australia's aged care system could provide older people and their carers with more choice and control over the services they receive. However, for older people to enjoy the benefits of consumer-directed care, they need the capacities and resources to exercise meaningful choice and control. Differences in cognitive functioning and access to appropriate family support interact in the new service landscape to create or amplify inequalities in older people’s access to aged care services. This interdisciplinary project explores these inequalities and the potential role of families in mitigating them, and proposes policy solutions.

How does artificial intelligence in the workplace affect employee wellbeing?

Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Zhiming Cheng
Secondary supervisors: Professor Massimiliano Tani Bertuol (UNSW Canberra) and Dr Sarah Cook (UNSW School of Social Sciences)

Project description
China is at the global forefront of adopting artificial intelligence (AI) in workplace. However, there is little empirical analysis based on high-quality data of how AI impacts workers. By analysing a unique longitudinal employer-employee matched dataset from manufacturing sector in China, this project examines the mechanisms through which AI affects employee wellbeing – measured by a series of subjective and objective indicators – in positive and negative ways. While focused on China, the findings will have wider significance internationally, and can inform public policy for positive work-life outcomes and efficient allocation of resources for mitigating the negative impacts of AI on workers.

Intergenerational equity and well-being within and between generations

Primary supervisor: Dr Yuvisthi Naidoo
Secondary supervisors: Associate Professor Bruce Bradbury (SPRC) and Dr Trish Hill (SPRC)

Project description
Population ageing is generating significant social and economic challenges in Australia and other countries. Fiscal pressures on retirement income, health and aged care systems, along with the distribution of housing, employment and care between generations have profound implications for social cohesion and well-being. This intergenerational distribution of contributions and costs across all social policy spheres will be a central issue for decades to come. This project will draw upon new sources of survey and administrative data and collect complementary qualitative data to document current challenges and to explore future policy options.

Markets in early childhood education and care: Inequalities, rights, regulation

Primary supervisor: Dr Natasha Cortis
Secondary supervisors: Dr Megan Blaxland (SPRC) and Dr Jennifer Skattebol (SPRC)

Project description
Quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) sets foundations for children to learn and thrive, and reduces social inequality. This project will develop knowledge about market approaches in ECEC, to inform effective regulation and optimise outcomes for generations of Australian children. We welcome proposals related to markets and quality in ECEC, including market-making in policy; locational, socioeconomic or other inequalities; experiences of providing and receiving care; and comparative studies of care regulation. We encourage focus on under-researched areas of ECEC such as family day care, out of school hours care or in-home care.

Tackling the harms from alcohol with better government policy

Primary supervisor: Professor Alison Ritter
Secondary supervisors: Dr Claire Wilkinson (SPRC) and Dr Michael Livingston (La Trobe University)

Project description
Alcohol is a leading cause of death, ill-health and social problems globally. In Australia, alcohol-related harm is increasing. One policy tool available to governments is regulation – but how can governments better regulate alcohol? And in what circumstances? A key policy challenge is balancing regulatory restrictions, social benefits, and civil liberties.

This project provides the opportunity for in-depth study of government regulation of alcohol, including analysing policy processes, and assessing policy trade-offs. Multiple research methods are encouraged such that the work produces new knowledge and insights directly relevant for governments in tackling this major social and public health problem.

Violence, abuse and people with intellectual disabilities - recognition and prevention

Primary supervisor: Professor Karen Fisher
Secondary supervisors: Dr Heikki Ikaheimo (UNSW School of Humanities & Languages) and Professor Sally Robinson (Flinders University)

Project description
The Social Policy Research Centre project will research how people with intellectual disabilities understand and enact their right to live free from violence and abuse and the policy implications in the highly topical contexts of the Royal Commission into Abuse of People with Disability and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Topics could cover access to justice for people with complex needs and could contribute to recognition theory and disability theory to explore intersections between disability, interpersonal and institutional violence, safety and gender. Preference is for innovative participatory approaches to address the sensitivities of the topic and to enable co-production.

UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarships with SPRC additional supervisors

Adapting stabilised networks to overcome health inequities in primary health care

Primary supervisor: Associate Professor Jane Lloyd (UNSW Public Health & Community Medicine)
Secondary supervisors: Associate Professor kylie valentine (SPRC) and Professor Mark Harris (UNSW Public Health & Community Medicine)

Project description
In Sydney, health services are faced with a growing population with high levels of culturally and linguistic diversity. This creates challenges associated with access to healthcare and can exacerbate health inequities. This interdisciplinary project will examine how primary health care may learn from social science theory of stabilised networks. This theory enables investigation of how apparently neutral systems such as healthcare prescribe standards; and the exclusion of those who do not conform to these standards i.e. do not speak English, have low health literacy and cannot afford care. This project will examine how we might adapt healthcare to improve access.

Creating better communities for young families: co-designing community measures for children

Primary supervisor: Professor Valsamma Eapen (UNSW School of Psychiatry)
Secondary supervisors: Professor Ilan Katz (SPRC) and Dr John Eastwood (UNSW Women's and Children's Health)

Project description
This project will demonstrate that communities can utilise a range of datasets to address early childhood risk factors and improve families’ wellbeing. The project will involve working with two disadvantaged communities, with professionals and community members. These communities have high numbers of Aboriginal and CALD residents. The first phase will analyse of existing community level data. The candidate will then use qualitative and quantitative methods to work with community and identify actions that can be taken to address these issues. The PhD will focus on the process and the knowledge translation by taking these methods to scale across Australia.

Improving the physical health of people with severe mental illness

Primary supervisor: Scientia Professor Mark Harris (UNSW Public Health and Community Medicine)
Secondary supervisors: Dr Catherine Spooner (UNSW Public Health and Community Medicine) and Professor Karen Fisher (SPRC)

Project description
People with severe mental illness have poorer physical health and shorter life expectancy than other people. Reasons include health behaviours, effects of psychotropic medications, trauma and access to preventive healthcare. CPHCE and SPRC are working with mental health consumers to understand their experience of preventive healthcare and improve their access and physical-health outcomes. The PhD will use participatory methods to understand the barriers and define their rights and preferences. It will then codesign and evaluate world-first interventions that improve the capacity of consumers, carers and health care providers to meet their preventive care needs in primary healthcare and the community.

Long-term care insurance and services in China

Primary supervisor: Katja Hanewald (UNSW Risk & Actuarial Studies)
Secondary supervisors: Associate Professor Bingqin Li (SPRC) and Dr Hazel Bateman (UNSW Risk & Actuarial Studies)

Project description
This project studies the development of long-term care insurance and services in China. The project will make three contributions: (1) We will document different models of long-term care service provision, funding and governing structure that have emerged in China. (2) We will analyse the costs associated with different long-term care arrangements. (3) We will analyse the scalability of different long-term care models to the level needed given China’s rapid population ageing. The project will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team of top researchers in the field.