La Trobe University – Sheffield Hallam University Joint PhD Program Scholarships


La Trobe University is offering up to three graduate research scholarships for students to undertake a joint PhD with Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Applications for this scholarship are now open to Australian or New Zealand citizens or Australian permanent residents. The application deadline is 31 October 2020.

Students undertaking the joint PhD program will be enrolled in a PhD at both institutions. Your supervisory team will comprise of academic staff from both institutions who will provide support and guidance throughout your research. As a student enrolled at both La Trobe and Sheffield Hallam, you will have access to services and support provided by both institutions, including a range of professional and personal development programs.

You will begin your studies at La Trobe University where you will spend the majority of your time, but with an expectation that you will spend typically 12 months at Sheffield Hallam University. Travel to and study at the host institution will be subject to the usual immigration requirements.

The joint PhD includes a tailored program of progress monitoring to fulfil the requirements of both institutions. All candidates will write and submit a thesis for defence by oral examination. On successful completion of the program requirements, you will be awarded a PhD jointly by both institutions.

Successful applicants must be available to commence their degree between 1 February and 30 June, 2021, at a La Trobe University campus, and willing to spend typically 12 months based in Sheffield, UK.

There are five joint PhD projects available to applicants, listed below. Up to three scholarships are available, competitively awarded and selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the selected project. Please contact the lead supervisor for more information about these projects.

Scholarships for a range of different projects in the same program are also being offered by Sheffield Hallam University; further information on these scholarships is available through the Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Programmes and Projects page.

Benefits of the scholarship

  • a stipend for up to three and a half (3.5) years, with a value of $28,092 per annum (2020 rate)
  • a Research Training Program - Fees Offset scholarship covering tuition fees for up to four (4) years.
  • a travel allowance to assist with travel between Melbourne and Sheffield and personal expenses while resident in the UK
  • Relocation allowance and publication/thesis allowance or RTP Allowance
  • opportunities to work with outstanding researchers at La Trobe and Sheffield Hallam universities, and have access to our suite of professional development programs

Are you eligible to apply?

To be eligible to apply for this scholarship, applicants must:

  • meet the Doctor of Philosophy entrance requirements
  • not be receiving another scholarship greater than 75 per cent of the stipend rate for the same purpose
  • be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or Australian permanent resident

In selecting successful applicants, we prioritise applications from candidates who:

  • will be enrolled full-time
  • have completed a Masters by Research or other significant body of research, such as an honours research thesis or lead authorship of a peer-reviewed publication, assessed at a La Trobe Masters by research standard of 75 or above

How to apply

Applicants should follow the following steps to apply to La Trobe University. Selected applicants will then be invited to subsequently apply for admission into the PhD program at Sheffield Hallam University.

  • review the scholarship eligibility requirements above
  • review details on how to apply for candidature
  • select a project from the list of available projects below
  • contact the nominated contact person for your preferred project via the email address listed under the relevant project details to obtain their in-principle agreement for you to apply
  • complete a Research Statement Form for your nominated project (only one project can be nominated)
  • complete your application for admission into La Trobe’s PhD program
  • a research proposal is not required
  • submit your application to the La Trobe Graduate Research School ( by 31 October 2020

Who to contact for further information

If you have any further questions, you can submit an enquiry via the Graduate Research School website.

Available projects

Improving management of metabolic syndrome in primary care


Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of risk factors (obesity, cholesterol imbalance, insulin resistance and high blood pressure) that put an individual at increased risk of developing chronic disease. The diagnosis of metabolic syndrome provides a key opportunity for primary care practitioners to intervene to prevent progression to chronic disease through lifestyle change. However, it appears that in current practice the focus is only on the presenting condition and this key opportunity is missed. The candidate will work closely with researchers in Melbourne and Sheffield to explore current perceptions and management of metabolic syndrome in primary care in both countries to improve the way metabolic syndrome is recognised and managed.


Dr Casey Peiris, Prof Nick Taylor (La Trobe); Prof Anna Lowe, Prof Caroline Dalton (Sheffield Hallam)


Casey Peiris

Opportunities for, and impacts of, community influence on alcohol licensing: a comparative study of examples in Australia and the UK.


The availability and accessibility of alcohol have significant impacts on the health and wellbeing of populations through direct and indirect pathways. Alcohol availability is regulated by licensing laws in Australia and the UK, intended to support local economic and cultural interests but also to protect populations from alcohol-related crime and other health and social harms. Recent research has identified some examples of community engagement in alcohol licensing in the UK and Australia. However, we have little knowledge of how the unique licensing legislation, policy, social and historical contexts in the UK and Australia shape opportunities for community involvement in, and potential influence over, alcohol licensing decisions. We also know little about how different mechanisms of involvement, for example ‘topdown’ or ‘bottom-up’, might shape who in the community becomes involved in each context, and therefore whose voices are (and are not) heard when alcohol licensing decisions are made. This has implications for the health and social inequalities faced by some disadvantaged groups in relation to alcohol harms. This PhD research is an opportunity for a comparative case study of examples of community involvement in alcohol licensing processes, to understand more about how communities can be supported to help limit the health and social harms from alcohol in their local areas.


Prof Emmanuel Kuntsche, Dr Claire Wilkinson (La Trobe); Dr Joanna Reynolds, Prof. Paul Hickman (Sheffield Hallam)


Emmanuel Kuntsche

Check my tech: coaching technology in sport and movement enhancement, enrichment, and development


Sport training and performance have been undoubtedly enhanced by digital technologies. Not only do coaches have access to analysis and data as never before, but developing and experienced athletes alike can access performance and learning feedback. In a large country like Australia, technology provides a platform for high-level remote coaching. At developing levels, athletes can use a variety of platforms such as phone apps, instrumented equipment, and virtual reality. At elite levels, advances in computer vision provide unrivalled depth of information for coaches. In addition, however, the appropriate use of technologies can present a challenge and in some cases a paradox of choice (Schwartz, 2004), wherein the many options or ways of using technology may result in decision analysis and dissatisfaction with the selection made. This project will seek to bridge the gap between the technologies and information available, and the learning and skill acquisition principles for their effective use. The project aims to understand the appropriate application of different technologies, from simple filming and feedback, to virtual reality, computer vision, and deep learning, for coaches and athletes in developing and refining movement-general, and sport-specific skills.


Dr Clare MacMahon, Associate Prof Stuart Morgan (La Trobe); Prof Keith Davids, Dr Joseph Stone (Sheffield Hallam)


Clare MacMahon

Shape analysis of the human foot using three-dimensional foot scanning: implications for the design of footwear and foot orthoses


The human foot is a unique yet highly variable structure. Foot shape is influenced by a wide range of factors, including age, sex, body mass, ethnicity and disease. The effects of these factors on foot shape have implications for how the foot functions when walking, and the design of footwear and foot orthoses (insoles) to enhance sport performance and treat painful conditions affecting the foot and lower limb. Due to its complexity, characterising foot shape is inherently difficult, and traditionally this has involved relatively simple measures of length, width and arch height. However, in recent years, optical scanning technology has enabled precise 3-dimensional models of the foot to be captured. This technology has the potential to vastly improve our understanding of foot shape, but to do so requires the development of more sophisticated shape analysis techniques. Therefore, the objective of this project is to deepen our understanding of foot shape and the factors that influence it by collecting 3-dimensional foot scans from a wide range of individuals and developing more detailed analytical approaches for quantifying shape differences. In doing so, this project will have far-reaching practical applications for health and sports performance across footwear and apparel industries.


Prof Hylton Menz, Associate Prof Shannon Munteanu (La Trobe); Dr Simon Choppin, Dr Alice Bullas (Sheffield Hallam)


Hylton Menz

Internet of Thing integrated wearable pulse oximetry device to remotely monitor vital signs


The purpose of this study is to devise new Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and integrate them into a miniaturized pulse oximetry device to monitor patient's vital signs such as the blood oxygen saturation level and respiration rate. Pulse oximetry allows blood's oxygenation to be monitored in a continuous, accurate, and non-invasive manner and from its signal a number of vital sign signals such as respiratory signal can be extracted. Respiration rate is one of the most important indicators of health deterioration in critically ill patients. Oximetry operates by using light emitting diodes to shine red and infrared light through the tissue and measuring the proportion of light absorbed by the blood. Normal oxygen saturation is usually between 96% and 98% and reduction from this level is considered dangerous and requires urgent medical attention. An IoT integrated, wearable, miniaturised pulse oximetry device will be designed, and its effectiveness will be evaluated. The novel aspects of the device include: innovations based on the latest IoT technologies to provide safe, reliable and robust communication between the device and clinicians, miniaturisation of the pulse oximetry device to a size that can be comfortably worn by patients from infants to adults and developments in data analysis using latest developments in artificial intelligence.


Prof Wei Xiang, Dr Robert Ross (La Trobe); Prof Reza Saatchi, Prof Heather Elphick (Sheffield Hallam)


Wei Xiang