PhD Scholarship Opportunity

PhD Scholarship Opportunity

Melbourne Social Equity Institute in partnership with the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council

A new scholarship is being offered to explore what is required to build and support consumer leadership capacity among the mental health consumer movement in Victoria

Applications close on 5:00 pm (AEST) Wednesday 14 April 2021

This Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship is provided by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute (MSEI), in partnership with the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), under the supervision of A/Prof. Bridget Hamilton (primary supervisor) and Prof. Susan Ainsworth (secondary supervisor). The scholarship recipient will explore how people with a lived experience can be supported to build leadership capacity within the mental health consumer workforce in Victoria.

MSEI and VMIAC are committed to supporting someone who identifies as a person with lived experience and ideally has workforce experience in the consumer mental health area. This expertise will be combined with a strong academic background to ensure their success in this collaborative PhD partnership opportunity.

The area of research would be to explore mental health consumer leadership. We are seeking to answer some of the questions about what is required to identify, support and promote future consumer leaders; to develop leadership capacity building programs and to understand what a sustainable consumer leadership paradigm across the mental health services system in Victoria should look like. Additional areas of investigation may well touch upon such aspects as:

  • the pathways into leadership roles in the consumer mental health movement;
  • the various theoretical approaches to leadership development in business, health and human services as well as across community and consumer advocates that could be adapted and applied to the mental health services sector, and;
  • the unique roles, responsibilities, professional skills and personal attributes that underpin success as a lived experience leader.

The successful PhD student would be expected to further develop their specific research question with this focus in mind in the first 12 months with the support of supervisors as well as mentoring and support from the leadership at VMIAC.

Scholarship Benefits

The scholarship benefits include:

  • Fee offset (full fee-exemption);
  • A stipend of $31,200 per annum (2020 pro-rata rate, tax free) plus a top-up of an additional $23,400 p.a. provided by VMIAC for 3.5 years plus an additional $1600 p.a. for incidental costs such as conference fees and consumables.
  • Allowances as per the Graduate Research Scholarship Terms & Conditions; and,
  • Automatic entry into the Institute’s Doctoral Academy.

In addition, VMIAC will provide:

  • Access to VMIAC’s programs, staff and reports;
  • Access to a work station at VMIAC;
  • Facilitate and support engagement with people with lived experience, community groups and networks and provide advice around design throughout the research program;
  • Facilitate access to VMIAC’s membership base and former and current members who access the service and participate in advocacy activities; and,
  • Participate in VMIAC’s committee of management’s research sub-committee and reference group.

It is expected that the PhD student will participate in the work life and culture of the organisation and as such it is expected that they will aim to make themselves available to undertake specific research tasks (or the like) inside the organisation that add value to their studies and research (approx. 28 hours per month). In particular, VMIAC is keen to ensure that the successful candidate participates in a ‘knowledge transfer platform’ (where the student is able to regularly update and engage with VMIAC on their research) including on-site agency in-services, community updates, seminars, etc.


The scholarship is only available to Australian and NZ citizens or Australian permanent residents. The scholarship is conditional upon acceptance into a PhD program at the University of Melbourne. In line with the requirements of the Australian Government Research Training Program, this scholarship is offered as a full-time commitement. However, for those with caring responsibilities or health issues, it may be possible to access the scholarship on a part-time basis.

VMIAC and the MSEI will jointly shortlist applicants, interview and select the preferred candidate.

Applicants must be eligible for acceptance by the University of Melbourne into a PhD program. By the commencement of the program applicants must have completed an accredited fourth year program at Honours 1 or Honours 1 equivalence level, or at an Honours 2 level with an outstanding record of professional or research achievements since graduation and/or a Masters degree (with a research component) with a grade point average / weighted average mark of 85%.

Applicants should possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills.Ideally, applicants will be available to commence during the first half of 2021, but no later than 30 September 2021.

People from diverse backgrounds with an understanding and appreciation of the lived experiences of marginalisation as well as those with lived experience of mental health services are strongly encouraged to apply.


Applicants will be asked to provide the following information.

  • Name and contact information
  • Intended mode of study (full time/part time)
  • Relevant academic qualifications
  • Any previous academic awards, scholarships or prizes
  • Information about any substantial pieces of research completed as part of previous degrees (up to 250 words)
  • Any research publications you have authored or co-authored
  • Any study or work experience that is relevant to your PhD proposal or that has required you to develop relevant research and writing skills (up to 100 words)
  • Contact details of two references
  • Your CV (upload attachment, up to 2 pages)
  • A brief research proposal – outline preliminary ideas, key research questions, methodologies, relevant conceptual and theoretical approaches; address how the project fits into the specific research program (upload attachment, 1 – 2 pages)
  • Your academic transcripts (upload attachment)
  • If applicable, Masters/Honours thesis examiners’ reports (upload attachment)

If possible, we ask that this information be collated into a single PDF.

Further Enquiries

All applications must be received by no later than 5:00 pm (AEST) Wednesday 14 April 2021. Please send your application to

If you have any questions about the application process please contact A/Prof. Bridget Hamilton at

About the Melbourne Social Equity Institute

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute is one of five Interdisciplinary Research Institutes at the University of Melbourne. Each operates with a small directorate and supports and encourages research across disciplinary boundaries.

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute supports collaborative research between academics, members of community organisations, policy makers and people with lived experiences to help build fairer societies.

About the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council

VMIAC is the peak Victorian organisation for people with a lived experience of mental health or emotional challenges. We’re run by consumers, for consumers. VMIAC is committed to a vision where consumers’ rights are respected and our choices are upheld. VMIAC’s work is premised on the beliefs that:

  • People’s experiences are respected and valued
  • People are experts in their own lives
  • People have a right to self determination
  • People have capacity to make genuine choices, free from coercion
  • People should be safe, respected, valued and informed
  • People’s diversity is embraced

2 thoughts on “PhD Scholarship Opportunity

  1. I am an Australian citizen currently living in New Zealand. I have had significant lived experience, have trained as a Registered Nurse, completed Intentional Peer Support Training and have been working for one year as a peer support worker in Dunedin NZ.
    Is it possible to complete a PHD on line? as I have family commitments currently keeping me here.
    I have strong links with the lived experience movement in New Zealand. I have used services in Australia and New Zealand and have unique insights into consumer experience as a result of this. I am interested in work place dynamics, barriers experienced by the LE workforce in NZ and the role that systemic stigma plays in subverting authentic Peer Support Practice in clinical settings.
    Is it possible to apply for the scholarship while residing here? Is it worth applying with only an undergraduate degree? If my option in this instance is limited, do you have any pathways available to me which could increase my chances of accessing other opportunities with you?
    Thanks for your time.

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