Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Janet Sluggett

Main Campus
City West - SAHMRI

Applications Close
27 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. (Domestic only)

About this project

Improve rehabilitation services for older people 

If you are seeking to advance your career in epidemiology and public health and concerned about improving rehabilitation and aged care services, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within Allied Health and Human Performance. 

Our project focuses on the use of inpatient rehabilitation by older people accessing aged care services in Australia and their health outcomes. 

 We will undertake a series of population-based epidemiological analyses using linked health care, aged care and rehabilitation data, to determine the use of rehabilitation services by aged care recipients in Australia and how that use has varied over time and between individuals and facility/provider characteristics.  

We also aim to discover if use of rehabilitation services is associated with functional improvement and lower risk of re-hospitalisations, ED presentations, mortality and institutionalisation admission to residential aged care (for those who were at home).  

This research will encompass a series of population-based, advanced epidemiological analyses undertaken using the Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) data platform. ROSA captures comprehensive data on the use of aged care services, medications, health care and mortality for all older people who access aged care services (>3 million Australians). Therefore, findings will be highly generalisable, with international impact. 

 We hope that the information generated from this project will be used to inform data-driven policy and practice recommendations for older Australians who may benefit from rehabilitation care services and improve funding and policy arrangements to facilitate access to these multidisciplinary services. 

You will develop expertise in epidemiology and aged care that can be applied to drive improvements in care for older people who access aged care services. This is an exceptional project that will inform policy and practice and advance your career in public health and aged care. 

You will be based within Allied Health and Human Performance and have access to the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). You will collaborate with the innovative ROSA research team and other researchers and experts in this field. With excellent mentorship and guidance, you have the opportunity to thrive in this collegial environment.   

What you’ll do 

In this project-based research degree, you will analyse large sets of aged care, health care, and medicines management data to provide evidence that inform policy and practice. 

You will collaborate closely with ROSA, aged care provider organisations, consumers and clinicians, as well as the team who made important contributions to the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. 

 There are opportunities for you to present at relevant conferences and local events, including the ROSA annual symposia and SAHMRI events, and publish multiple peer-reviewed papers. You will get the chance to present to and interact with the Registry of Senior Australians Consumer and Community Advisory Committee as part of you research. 

Your research will make a meaningful difference for older Australians receiving aged care services. 

Where you’ll be based 

You’ll be based within Allied Health and Human Performance. We offer degrees across a range of allied health and human performance disciplines, encompassing physiotherapy, occupational therapy, podiatry, exercise and sports science, human movement, clinical exercise physiology, speech pathology, medical radiation sciences, health science, public health and medical sonography.   

Our students learn in purpose-built interactive facilities and from industry-informed teachers, and gain hands-on experience working with real patients in our community clinics.   

We deliver high-impact research in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of health issues. We partner with industry to address global health challenges and work collaboratively to solve them. Areas of research strength include pain sciences, rehabilitation, and high performance in sport.  

The University of South Australia’s community clinics provide affordable services to members of the public while giving students valuable opportunities for practical learning. Our clinics include physiotherapy, podiatry, dietetics, and exercise physiology.  

Our graduates are tomorrow’s health workforce: resourceful, engaged, and ready to create positive change in health and wellbeing, both locally and globally.   

We solve critical health challenges, build strong relationships, and produce outstanding health professionals.

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. Additionally, applicants who can demonstrate the following will be highly regarded: 
  • Qualification in medicine, health science, pharmacy, population health, epidemiology, statistics, informatics, data science or a relevant discipline
  • Coursework in statistics, epidemiology, geriatrics, rehabilitation and/or aged care
  • Knowledge of Australia’s aged care and health care systems, including the Medicare Benefits Scheme and hospital data, and/or the aged care system
  • Experience in data analysis with large datasets using statistical software such as SAS, SPSS, R or Stata

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 South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) precinct  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 Wednesday, 27 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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