Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Fanke Peng

Main Campus
City West

Applications Close
28 Sep 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$32,500 p.a. (2023 rates) available to domestic applicants only

About this project

Harness co-design methods to address youth mental health issues

If you are seeking to advance your career in public health and concerned about addressing youth mental health needs, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE), in partnership with Wellbeing SA. 

Youth mental health is a significant social issue garnering international attention. In Australia, young people experience disproportionately high rates of mental illness, coupled with limited uptake, retention, and adherence to psychological services and treatments. 

Co-design offers human-centric principles and practices to solve complex, systemic issues, such as those in the mental health domain. The project will examine the application of co-design in mental health studies to build a novel approach to co-design research in the context of youth mental health. 

The project aims to develop an augmented model, drawing on creative co-design methods, experience-based co-design, and low-contact co-design to offer a holistic approach to youth mental health research and practice. The model offers an integrated tool that researchers can use to build appropriate studies to support enquiry into youth mental health challenges, ranging from co-design for production and solving discrete problems, through to design for transformation, and solving complex, wicked problems. 

You will join the dynamic cohort within the IVE. With a wealth of mentoring from experienced and renowned researchers in their fields, you will develop a strong core of skills and abilities and start building a highly collaborative professional network.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will review and analyse literature from across mental health, co-design, positive and sustainable psychology, and the public policy discourse through a design thinking lens. By identifying the strengths and limitations of the current literature, we aim to propose a Youth Mental Health Co-design Model. 

Upon completion of the project, you will gain skills in data collection and analysis and co-design methodologies, allowing you to take the next steps in your unstoppable career. As part of the project, you may get the opportunity to travel conferences and workshops to present your work and findings from the project.

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE). As a world leader in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), IVE is a unique alignment of computer science, engineering, neuroscience, art, architecture, and design.   

IVE is responding to the challenge of increased demand for AR and VR technologies globally. Our researchers are leaders in many areas of AR and VR research including wearable computing, interface design, empathic computing, 3D visualisation, perception, and telepresence.
IVE is one of the largest concentrations of AR and VR research in Australia. Our vast experience in advanced manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT), interactive art, and design for healthcare and defence allows us to work in collaboration with our industry partners to transform industry and solve large-scale societal challenges.

Supervisory team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $32,500 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Applicants should also submit a full research proposal (approximately 2500 words) that has been developed in consultation with the proposed principal supervisor. A template to help guide this application is available here.

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our City West campus in the heart of Adelaide.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Thursday 28 September 2023.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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