Per annum for three and a half years. Fee relief additional.

Opening date

Closing date



Who is it for?

Future PhD candidates, Australian Citizen, New Zealand Citizen, Permanent Resident

Where is it available?


How is it paid?

Fortnightly stipend


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 newly enrolling in a PhD. The application deadline is 30 October 2021.

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.

The successful applicant must be available to commence their degree between 1 February and 30 June 2022, at a La Trobe University campus, and willing to spend typically 12 months based in Sheffield, UK.

Available projects

There are three joint PhD scholarship projects available to applicants, 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.

The dream-team: investigating the influence of sleep restriction on the health, wellbeing and performance of team-sport athletes

Lead Supervisor: Matt Driller

Elite athletes are facing increasing training and competition demands alongside high levels of psychophysiological stress, resulting in several factors that could have an influence on sleep disturbances. However, the influence of reduced sleep on team-sport specific measures of strength, power and agility are yet to be established. Therefore, this PhD will be made up of a series of novel studies that will investigate the impact that sleep restriction may have on cognition, psychophysiological function, athletic performance and wellbeing of team-sport athletes.

The effect of head impact exposure on brain health and movement adaptability

Lead Supervisor: Kane Middleton

Concussion continues to be an international concern across contact sports. Recently, there has been growing interest in the effects of sub-concussive head impacts. The repeated nature of these head impacts in sport has an accumulative effect on the brain and have been shown to affect the visual and balance systems of the body. This project aims to quantify the acute and chronic effects of head impact exposure on brain health and movement adaptability, and whether task-related intervention strategies moderate these effects. This would have considerable impact for sports administrators, coaches, and players in relation to understanding the risks associated with head impact exposure and the utility of intervention strategies to reduce the detrimental effects. This project is in collaboration with Prevent Biometrics (

High intensity resistance strength training for older adults with hip osteoarthritis

Lead Supervisor: Adam Semciw

This PhD project aims to develop and implement a high intensity resistance exercise program for older adults with hip osteoarthritis. The successful candidate will work with world leaders in exercise, hip function and osteoarthritis at La Trobe University and Sheffield Hallam University. They will develop skills in supervised exercise prescription for people with hip osteoarthritis, assessment of muscle function with electromyography and analysis of muscle size and quality with magnetic resonance imaging. The findings of this project will help to shape rehabilitation for hip osteoarthritis and minimise the negative sequalae of this condition.

What are the central and peripheral changes in athletes with a history of a hamstring strain injury (HSI)?

Lead Supervisor: Ebonie Rio

Hamstring strain injuries (HSI) remain the most prevalent muscle injury in football (Australian Football and soccer), factors that have evaluated but not confirmed across populations (muscle and nerve). There have been no projects that have combined an evaluation of peripheral and central factors. This project will combine the evaluation of a number of potential risk factors for recurrent hamstring injury.

We will examine the changes in the brain and spinal cord in athletes who have had a HSI using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS provides a non-invasive method of assessing the excitability and inhibition of the brain in athletes with and without a past history of an HSI. Research in other injuries conducted by our research group has identified changes in excitability and inhibition, which importantly, were able to be normalised with specific neuroscience based rehabilitation. Peripheral muscle changes will be evaluated using analysis of muscle aponeurosis size and hamstring muscle fascicle length. Muscle fascicle length will be examined using extended field of view B-mode ultrasonography, an advancement on current techniques in this area.

Modifiable factors associated with post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis in runners following knee surgery

Lead Supervisor: Benjamin Mentiplay

Knee osteoarthritis occurs in an alarming number of young adults who have previously undergone knee surgery. One potential contributing factor to this accelerated development of osteoarthritis is participation in high-impact exercise, such as running, which is often taken up post-surgery as an alternative to contact/twisting sports. This PhD project aims to investigate modifiable factors (e.g., weekly training load or movement patterns) that are associated with knee osteoarthritis outcomes (MRI features and symptoms) in runners who have had knee surgery. The successful candidate will be supervised from leading experts across an international collaboration between La Trobe University and Sheffield Hallam University.

The FINCH study - Faith communities In partnerships promoting Community Health and wellbeing

Lead Supervisor: Bruce Rumbold

This PhD project will explore opportunities and challenges involved in building a policy and practice framework for local health promotion networks that engage faith communities. The social implications of the evidence that spiritual and religious belief is a social determinant of health are poorly developed and the potential for collaborations between faith communities and public health agencies have largely been neglected. Faith communities remain an under-utilised resource in health promotion at the local level. Insights from the project will contribute to health promotion policies and practices targeting a wide range of issues, connecting these with possibilities for enhanced wellbeing through sustainable collaborations that actively involve local faith communities.

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 $28,597 per annum (2021 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
  • an allowance to relocate to Melbourne to commence the degree 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 entry 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
  • select a project from the list of available projects listed above
  • contact the nominated lead supervisor for your preferred project to obtain their in-principle agreement for you to apply
  • review and follow the steps in how to apply for candidature
  • complete your application for admission into La Trobe’s PhD program and include the Research Statement form
  • a research proposal is not required
  • submit your application to the La Trobe Graduate Research School ( by 31 October 2021

Who to contact for further information

Graduate Research School,