Project-based scholarships

La Trobe University has a range of doctoral scholarships available for specific research projects or themes as part of our end-of-year scholarship round. Successful applicants will receive a scholarship that can help with fee-relief, living costs, and more.

In addition to the projects listed below, there are a number of projects available for the ARC Research Hub for Medicinal Agriculture.

We also have a range of specialist scholarships available, including industry and international partnership projects. You can find a list of current opportunities on our Graduate Research Scholarships page.

How to apply

Information on how to apply is available on our Graduate Research Scholarships page.

Make sure to read through the relevant project description closely too as many research projects have special eligibility conditions for applicants.

Available projects

School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport

Project title: Effects of a Lactobacillus strains probiotic supplement on bone metabolism and bone mass in Australian early postmenopausal women. Randomized, placebo-controlled intervention study.

Description

This study will examine the effect of a 12-month supplementation with a probiotic supplement that combines three strains of Lactobacillus on bone metabolism as well as on volumetric and areal bone mineral density in Australian early postmenopausal females with an increased risk for osteoporosis.

Supervisors

George Moschonis

Special conditions

  • The candidates should have a strong nutrition background.
  • Experience in conducting nutrition-related research would also be a plus.

More information

For more information, please contact George Moschonis.

School of Engineering and Mathematical Science

Project title: Measure theoretic results for limsup and liminf sets

Description

This project aims to develop new powerful measure theoretic techniques in mathematics that will be used in establishing some indispensable results in analytical number theory (Diophantine approximation) and dynamical systems. A particular aim will be to estimate the size of well (or badly) approximable sets in terms of Lebesgue and/or Hausdorff measure (and dimension) for certain restricted settings in Diophantine approximation.

Supervisors

Mumtaz Hussain, Marcel Jackson

Special conditions

  • Applicants with a strong background in number theory, dynamics or analysis will be preferred.
  • Preference will be given to those who have already completed a Master’s or Honour’s thesis in number theory or in dynamical system.

More information

For more information, please contact Marcel Jackson.

Project title: Realising Industry 4.0: Joining Digital Twin with Machine Learning for Design Optimisation

Description

Industry 4.0 is a group of disruptive technologies that is transforming manufacturing and has the potential to revolutionise the manufacture of a range of high value products leading to significantly improved more efficient and more sustainable designs. A Digital Twin is a computational model of a device which can be used to simulate and optimise its performance, without recourse to building expensive physical prototypes. This project aims to realisation machine learning based automated optimisation using the digital twin model for industrial 4.0 application.

Supervisor

Wei Xiang

Special conditions

The prospective candidate should have:

  • prior experience in programing for machine/deep learning algorithms
  • 1-2 publications with an impact factor greater than 1.0.

More information

For more information, please contact Wei Xiang.

Project title: 3D Semantic Scene Understanding with Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence

Description

Visual scene understanding studies the task of representing a captured scene in a manner emulating human-like understanding of that space. Attaining this understanding is crucial for applications such as entertainment, robotics, smart home, security systems, healthcare, assisted living, etc. The student will investigate the benefits of including human activity information in indoor scene understanding challenges, aiming to demonstrate its potential contributions, applications, and versatility. Various vision sensors can be considered such as normal cameras, depth cameras and 360 spherical cameras.

Supervisor

Wei Xiang

Special conditions

The prospective candidate should have:

  • prior experience in programing for machine/deep learning algorithms
  • 1-2 publications with an impact factor greater than 1.0.

More information

For more information, please contact Wei Xiang.

Project title: Ultra-high Pressure Short-pulse, Laser-induced Synthesis of Lonsdaleite and DLC Phases

Description

The world’s strongest/hardest materials are often created through application of “extreme” process conditions. Using a dynamically-driven diamond-anvil cell (DAC), combined with ultra-short-pulsed ultraviolet laser processing, we will be exploring novel synthesis routes to metastable carbon phases, e.g. lonsdaleite and diamond-like carbon, from low-cost iodomethane and iodocycloalkane precursors.

Supervisor

James Maxwell

Special conditions

The candidate must:

  • be willing to perform all experimental work at the ET building in Bendigo
  • have previously taken EMS5NME or equivalent.

More information

For more information, please contact James Maxwell.

Project title: What can we learn from COVID-19? The long term “keepers” from the rapid transformation of learning and teaching at Universities through working and learning from home.

Description

This project develops a sustainable model for learning and teaching in a post COVID-19 world. It investigates staff and student experiences, technology adoption and pedagogical advancements and researches both the new status quo and future retention of these recently adopted approaches with a focus on STEMM disciplines

Supervisor

Birgit Loch

More information

For more information, please contact Birgit Loch.

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Project title: Virtual and Augmented Reality of South African Palaeolithic and Early Hominin fossil sites

Description

Archaeologists collect rich and complex spatiotemporal data in the course of their fieldwork. The aim is to incorporate this data into a 3D immersive VR database, as well as create in field AR tools for the reanalysis of archaeological legacy data. This will be done at the Palaeolithic site of Amanzi Springs and early hominin site of Drimolen in South Africa.

Supervisor

Andy Herries

More information

For more information, please contact Andy Herries.

Project title: Resource extraction and transport from Berribee Silcrete Quarry, northwest Victoria

Description

This project focuses on the extraction and transport of high-quality raw material from Berribee Quarry in northwest Victoria. This quarry is located on the Country of the Ngintait and First People of the Millewa Mallee and preserves a subsurface deposit that was exploited using extraction pits. The geochemistry of this source will be characterized using pXRF to trace the movement of this high-quality raw material across this important cultural landscape.

Supervisors

Nicola Stern, Jillian Garvey, Rebekah Kurpiel

Special conditions

This PhD is associated with ARC DP200101875 Environmental and cultural change along the Central Murray River, which will cover fieldwork expenses.

The successful applicant will be expected to participate in project reading groups and workshops.

More information

For more information, please contact Nicola Stern.

Project title: Indigenous mobilities to and through Australia: agency and sovereignties

Description

This project traverses historical and contemporary events, issues, politics and knowledges associated with Indigenous mobilities. The successful applicant will work with an interdisciplinary team of Aboriginal, Māori, Pasifika and non-Indigenous scholars to research regional histories of Indigenous mobilities which, if they choose, can be focused on their own communities.

Supervisor

Katherine Ellinghaus

Special conditions

The candidate should be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

More information

For more information, please contact Katherine Ellinghaus.

Project title: Investigating Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts in Australia

Description

This PhD is part of an ARC Linkage Project, 'Improving Spiritual Health Care for LGBT Australians', exploring the history, scale and nature of religion-based LGBT conversion practices in Australia, and developing education and training resources to support best practice spiritual care for LGBT people. It is a partnership between La Trobe, Macquarie, the Victorian State government, Brave and AGMC. The specific focus and scope of the PhD will be decided by the candidate in consultation with the project team, although candidates with an interest in researching conversion practices in multi-cultural and multi-faith contexts or the psychological impact of LGBT conversion practices are particularly encouraged to apply.

Supervisor

Timothy Jones

Special conditions

Candidates must:

  • have undergraduate qualifications in sociology, history, social-psychology, social work, or a related discipline.
  • A background in work with LGBT and/or religious communities is desirable.

More information

For more information, please contact Timothy Jones.

Project title: PhD Research Scholarship in Modern Australian History

Description

This scholarship is offered as part of the Australian Research Council Linkage Project, ‘The ACTU in the Making of Modern Australia.’ It will be awarded to a candidate wanting to study modern Australian history of labour, and is open to any aspect of 20th century labour.

Proposals are particularly welcomed that explore women’s or Indigenous labour history, focus on workplace issues and conflicts, or themes of  gender, leadership or activism within organisations or communities.

Supervisor

Diane Kirkby

Special conditions

Please include a preliminary research proposal of no more than 300 words (if you need assistance, use our Guide to Writing a Research Proposal [PDF 68KB]).

More information

For more information, please contact Diane Kirkby.

Project title: Geoarchaeology of Hydraulic Collapse (Sri Lanka) Research Scholarship

Description

This scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding archaeologist to undertake doctoral research into the development and failure of the low-density urban state of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka).

This PhD scholarship is part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded project An archaeological investigation into the collapse of Polonnaruva, Sri Lanka.

The successful candidate will work as part of a larger team to investigate the development and failure of the low-density urban state of Polonnaruva (Sri Lanka). The medieval “collapse” of Polonnaruva marked the end of the lowland kingdoms in Sri Lanka’s arid north, and the end of a distinctive and successful form of hydraulic low-density urban settlement. Recent research at Anuradhapura suggests the very economic system that enabled these kingdoms to flourish within a marginal environment, may have facilitated their collapse.

The PhD student will undertake inter-disciplinary investigations to produce a chronological narrative for the development, management, and abandonment of the Polonnaruva urban hinterland and its hydraulic infrastructure.  These investigations require integration of archaeological field survey and GIS based mapping of sites and hydraulic features (canals, sluices, reservoirs) with geoarchaeological analyses of associated soil and sedimentary stratigraphies through application of Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL), radiocarbon and thin section micromorpohology.

Supervisor

Keir Strickland

More information

For more information, please contact Keir Strickland.

School of Life Sciences

Project title: The role of the early innate-host response in control of viral infection

Description

This project will utilise an array of cellular and molecular biology techniques to describe changes at the cellular level during a viral infection, and how they impact the outcome of viral infection.


Supervisor

Karla Helbig

Special conditions

Candidates must:

  • Have a background in cellular or molecular biology.
  • Experience in tissue culture, confocal microscopy or bioinformatics analysis of 'omics data' would be advantageous.

More information

For more information, please contact Karla Helbig.

Project title: Development and validation of sustainable fungicide platform against Botrytis

Description

As a member of the ARC-funded ITR Hub for Sustainable Crop Protection, the HDR candidate will develop and validate an RNAi-based fungicide platform for targeting pathogens of domestic and global significance to horticulture, including Botrytis. The final objective is to deliver a product with zero crop residue and low risk for resistance development.

Supervisor

Kim Plummer

Special conditions

The candidate will be part of the ARC Hub for Sustainable Crop Protection and will actively participate in Hub activities, including, but not limited to, workshops and general meetings.

More information

For more information, please contact Kim Plummer.

Project title: Genetic epidemiology of filarial parasites

Description

Parasitic nematodes, particularly filarial parasites, are major contributors to global disease. The Grant/Hedtke lab is developing new diagnostic tools to aid elimination of the filarial diseases lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis by applying population genomics to questions concerning parasite transmission, drug response to mass drug administration, and basic biology and evolution.

Supervisors

Warwick Grant, Shannon Hedtke

Special conditions

Candidate must have a background in either bioinformatic analysis of genomic data and/or parasite molecular biology. Applicants with a background in infectious disease modelling may also apply.

More information

For more information, please contact Warwick Grant.

Project title: Developing a sustainable monitoring system for invasive alien species in Australia

Description

One of the key challenges with managing invasive alien species once they have arrived and established in a country, is monitoring their spread. The information obtained from monitoring is needed to quickly identify newly invaded localities so the weed or pest can be eradicated, or to identify priority areas that it is expanding into so that the invader can be contained. Australia does not yet have a nation-wide monitoring program for invasive alien species. This PhD research project will combine citizen science, data science and information on species distributions to develop a monitoring approach and indicators for tracking priority invaders in Australia. This PhD project forms part of an ARC Discovery Project (DP) on the role of common species in communities and ecosystems, and is a collaboration between Prof. Melodie McGeoch (La Trobe University, Australia), Prof. Cang Hui (Stellenbosch University South Africa) and Prof. Walter Jetz (Yale University, USA).

Supervisor

Melodie McGeoch

Special conditions

The successful candidate will have majored in ecology, have a working knowledge of R and a background and interest in statistics and/or data analysis.

More information

For more information, please contact Melodie McGeoch.

School of Molecular Sciences

Project title: C-H to C-F bond metathesis using gold and electrochemistry

Description

C-F bonds are a critical feature in many drugs or drug candidates, but they are challenging to synthesize in a cheap and efficient manner. In this ARC Discovery Project supported project we will use electrochemistry as the oxidant to generate C-F bonds from simple fluoride sources.

Supervisors

Jason Dutton

Special conditions

Candidates must:

  • Have experience in synthetic chemistry and handling air sensitive reagents

More information

For more information, please contact Jason Dutton.

Project title: Electrochemical sensors

Description

Chemical analysis is a vital activity in our society primarily carried out in laboratories using complex instrumentation. The breakthrough sensing technology envisioned in this project will enable simple, low-cost tests which can be used by non-scientists for applications ranging from pollution monitoring to health testing and medical diagnostics.

Supervisors

Conor Hogan

Special conditions

Candidates must:

  • Have some experience with voltammetric techniques

More information

For more information, please contact Conor Hogan.

Project title: Role of the cell death and cell survival pathways, apoptosis and autophagy, in cancer

Description

A careful balance between cell death and survival is essential. Both apoptosis and autophagy dictate these processes. Dysregulation of these pathways is the basis of many cancers. This project will utilise cell biology, biochemistry and animal models to understand how this happens and identify new ways to treat incurable cancers.

Supervisors

Erinna Lee

More information

For more information, please contact Erinna Lee.

Project title: Modulating the innate immune response

Description

Dysfunction of the innate immune system leads to overactive or underactive responses such as extreme cytokine storms or inability to fight cancer cells. The project will investigate cellular proteins involved in suppressing overactive immune responses and consider their pharmacological regulation. Outcomes will enable improved control of the immune system.

Supervisor

Helen Irving

Special conditions

The research project is based at the La Trobe Bendigo campus.

More information

For more information, please contact Helen Irving.

Project title: New perspectives on quantum sensing

Description

This project will develop quantum sensors capable of detecting magnetic signatures from drones, submarines, and other vehicles, making new advances in real-time magnetometry. This project will provide training in quantum technologies, a key sovereign capability and a projected $4bn industry for Australia by 2040.

Supervisor

Russell Anderson

Special conditions

Applicants must meet the conditions necessary for student Participation in the Defence Science Partnering Deed 2.0.

More information

For more information, please contact Russell Anderson.

School of Psychology and Public Health

Project title: Understanding heavy alcohol consumption cultures among nurses and lawyers

Description

This PhD scholarship will support an ethnographic project investigating drinking cultures among nurses and lawyers. The Project aims to generate new knowledge on sociocultural practices of drinking in the groups and illuminate relations between drinking cultures and harms. A strong background in anthropology, sociology, posthuman theory or science and technology studies is preferred.

Supervisor

Robyn Dwyer

More information

For more information, please contact Robyn Dwyer.

Project title: Investigating the role of cost in alcohol purchases

Description

This project will use already collected data to compare the alcohol purchasing patterns of drinkers in four countries.

Supervisor

Sarah Callinan

Special conditions

Potential students will need experience in quantitative analysis, proficiency with Stata preferred but not essential.

More information

For more information, please contact Sarah Callinan.

Project title: Alcohol’s harm to others (I)

Description

This prestigious scholarship, established by La Trobe University associated with an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, will be awarded to an outstanding applicant who is interested in exploring harms from others’ drinking using epidemiological survey methods, statistical analyses of response agency data and health economics.

The Harm to Others Scholarship (I) will focus on estimating the extent and cost of harm experienced from others’ drinking nationally, using and developing their epidemiological and health economics skills.

Applicants should have a high level of achievement, including a first-class honours degree or equivalent. As an applicant you should have an interest in public health, quantitative studies and health economics. An interest in international health is desirable. Your project will address a range of potential problems linked to the drinking of others, including family violence, car crashes, hospitalisations and the economic costs of alcohol’s harm to others.

Supervisor

Anne-Marie Laslett

More information

For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Laslett.

Project title: Alcohol’s harm to others (II)

Description

This prestigious scholarship, established by La Trobe University associated with an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, will be awarded to an outstanding applicant who is interested in exploring harms from others’ drinking using epidemiological survey methods and qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews.

The Harm to Others Scholarship (II) is a survey and mixed-methods doctoral research project studying inequalities in harm from others’ drinking and the harm experienced from others’ drinking in families and among respondents in different relationships with drinkers.

Applicants should have a high level of achievement, including a first-class honours degree or equivalent. As an applicant you should have an interest in public health, quantitative and qualitative methods. An interest in international health is desirable. Your project will address a range of potential problems linked to the drinking of others, including family violence, health inequalities and more subtle impacts on relationships and roles.

Supervisor

Anne-Marie Laslett

More information

For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Laslett.

Project title: Drugs, sex/gender and human rights

Description

This PhD scholarship will support a qualitative project aimed at critically investigating the relationship between drug policy, sex/gender and human rights. Ideally the project will focus on illicit substances but innovative proposals exploring licit substances will also be considered. A strong background in gender studies, sexuality studies, posthuman theory, sociology or science and technology studies is preferred.

Supervisor

Kate Seear

More information

For more information, please contact Kate Seear.

Project title: Infectious disease, gender and stigma

Description

This PhD scholarship will support a qualitative project aimed at investigating the relationship between infectious disease, gender and stigma. Ideally the project will address the blood-borne virus hepatitis C, but other health issues will also be considered. A strong background in gender studies, sexuality studies, sociology or science and technology studies is preferred.

Supervisor

Suzanne Fraser

More information

For more information, please contact Suzanne Fraser.

Project title: Men, Sex and Sexuality

Description

This PhD scholarship provides an outstanding candidate with an opportunity to undertake significant research on men, masculinity, sexuality and consent, as part of an ARC DECRA project, 'Sexuality, masculinity and technology: men and intimacy in the digital age'. This project is exploring how young, heterosexual men in Australia are navigating and negotiating intimacy, sex, and consent in wake of #metoo politics and awareness around sexual violence against women. This project will enhance knowledge on the ways young men engage with women, and enhance capacity to build community collaboration in working with men on gender equality. This DECRA is also a partner project to an Australian Research Council Discovery Project (2019-2022) 'Improving Australia's legal, policy and educational response to the technological transformation of sex and intimacy" led by Dr Jennifer Power with Dr Waling as a co-investigator exploring medical, mechanical, and digital technologies and their impact on the sexual and intimate lives of Australians.

This research scholarship, based in the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), will be awarded to an outstanding candidate who is interested in contributing significant new knowledge toward understanding men’s engagements with sex, sexuality, and consent practices.

As a student you will work with Dr Andrea Waling and have an opportunity to develop a project on a topic that compliments and extends ‘Sexuality, masculinity and technology: men and intimacy in the digital age.’

Supervisor

Andrea Waling

Special conditions

An interest in the field of gender studies, sexuality studies, sociology, and/or technology studies, and some experience in conducting research, particularly involving qualitative data analysis, cultural analyses, and working with community stakeholders will be regarded favourably.

More information

For more information, please contact Andrea Waling.

La Trobe Rural Health School

Project title: Providing Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Australia

Description

Mental health services across Australia, are not adequately resourced to meet the demands of our population. This shortage of appropriate services is even worse in rural areas, where in addition to COVID-19 pressures, communities have experienced bushfires, droughts and floods.  Thus there is a need to develop novel approaches to providing preventive and recovery mental health resources and services to rural communities.  Working with the local PHN, and rural health services, this project will pilot novel approaches to mental health care for rural communities.

Supervisor

Tim Skinner

Special conditions

Successful applicant must live in a regional or rural area

More information

For more information, please contact Tim Skinner.

Project title: Understanding Drivers of Obesity in Rural and Remote Populations

Description

Rural and remote Australian populations have higher rates of adiposity and obesity than metropolitan populations. Whilst there is an abundance of research on drivers of obesity, these are largely based on metropolitan populations, and do not account for the differences seen between rural and metro communities. This research will explore the determinants of obesity in rural populations, to inform the development of community level interventions.

Supervisor

Tim Skinner

Special conditions

Successful applicant must live in a regional or rural area

More information

For more information, please contact Tim Skinner.