Enhancing Practice – SA Department for Child Protection PhD Research Program

About the scholarship

The Department for Child Protection (DCP) South Australia in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Child Protection (ACCP), University of South Australia, are offering up to 10 scholarships for students interested in completing a PhD with the University of South Australia across the field of child protection. The Enhancing Practice – SA Department for Child Protection PhD Research Program aims to develop the next generation of high-quality state, national and international leaders in child protection research.

The scholarships program will focus on research capturing existing good practice and supporting new and innovative ways of working, building on the Department for Child Protection’s commitment to build a therapeutic system of care capable of responding to the individual needs of children and young people who have experienced child abuse and neglect, including those who cannot remain safely at home.

The program aims to attract and support emerging scholars, including child protection practitioners, to undertake research, relevant to the South Australian context, in a variety of areas with a focus on harnessing existing best practice and building the capacity of frontline child protection professionals.

Key topics will focus on enhancing and expanding practice knowledge with a strong focus on quality and therapeutic care. These include, but are not limited to, responding to trauma and mental health, building therapeutic practice, enhancing reunification practice, creating sustainable partnerships with Aboriginal stakeholders and improving interagency practice.

The scholarships will support PhD projects producing research excellence across a variety of areas of child protection with a focus on improving child protection practice, system and service reform.

In addition to the financial scholarship support and top ups, the successful applicants will have access to research expertise, guidance and supervisory arrangements from the highly skilled and award winning research team at the Australian Centre for Child Protection and discipline research leaders from across the University of South Australia.

Successful applicants will also have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the knowledge base underpinning large scale reform and impact in child protection and ensuring future policy and practice development is founded from an evidence base. Participants in the program will be part of a new generation of research leaders, helping to equip and drive quality and excellence in the sector in South Australia, nationally and internationally in the future.

UniSA’s Australian Centre for Child Protection is Australia’s premier research centre, focused on developing new solutions and approaches to preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect. The ACCP is at the forefront of developing an innovative new public health approach to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.  Their vision and work is led by the desire to develop a system founded on research and clinical excellence which meets the needs of vulnerable children and families.


The scholarship is open to Permanent Residents of Australia and Australian Citizens. Applications are welcome from prospective students with a background or relevant qualifications in a broad range of relevant disciplines including social science and health related disciplines. These include law, justice, social policy, social work, education, health sciences, Aboriginal health, public health, cognitive science, psychology and child protection.

The scholarships are available to persons wishing to enrol in a PhD  program at UniSA or those who are already undertaking their PhD program who are enrolled at UniSA or who would transfer their PhD studies to UniSA if successful.  Applicants must have an honours degree or masters degree or equivalent research or professional experience, and meet the eligibility requirements for a research degree program at UniSA in order to be considered.  Applicants will be considered on the basis of academic merit and research background or equivalent experience.  Applicants must be able to identify a potential primary supervisor prior to applying.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. There is particular support available for projects led by Aboriginal candidates that focus on enhancing outcomes for Aboriginal children, families and communities, or on topics with specific relevance to Aboriginal practitioners and organisations.

Applicants must meet the entry criteria for the award of a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of South Australia


The scholarships will be at the full-time base Research Training Program rate ($28,092 per year is the 2020 rate) , with a $1000 top-up per annum for a duration of 3 years, with a possible extension of up to six months. An additional $5,000 top-up will also be available with each scholarship for research support activities.

How to apply and closing date

Initial applications will be through an EOI process.

  • Applicants to submit a cover letter, with a CV, academic transcript and 1 page summary of proposed topic area to enhancingpracticescholarships@unisa.edu.au . EOI to also specify proposed supervisor and 2 referees.
  • Successful EOI applicants will progress through to the UniSA research degree student application process through UniSA’s Apply Online
  • Commencement of PhD in the 4th quarter of 2020.
  • Application closing date : 6 October 2020

If you have any queries regarding this significant opportunity or the EOI process, or require further information, please contact: A/Prof Tim Moore  (08) 8302 2982 (please leave a voicemail) or email enhancingpracticescholarships@unisa.edu.au