Study As
Full Time or Part Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Tasha Stanton

Main Campus

Applications Close
14 Aug 2022

Study Level
Masters by Research

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$28,854 available to domestic applicants only

About this project

Help design an innovative new virtual reality program for people with phantom limb pain.

Did you know you can experience pain in a limb that is missing? Following limb amputation, many people develop a phantom limb, or a feeling that the limb is still there. Unfortunately, up to 80% of people also experience phantom limb pain and, in some, this pain is debilitating. Phantom limb pain is notoriously difficult to treat. Brain-based treatments, such as mirror therapy, have shown promise in reducing pain but they have important limitations that reduce their clinical effectiveness. For instance, to help reduce pain, the dosage needs to be high - this is difficult because prolonged mirror therapy can be boring. Further, in people with lower limb amputations, mirror set-ups are difficult, meaning that the illusion is commonly broken resulting in reduced benefit. Lastly, if people have amputations of both limbs, mirror therapy is impossible.

We need new and engaging treatments for phantom limb pain. Working with industry experts in virtual reality (Virtetic), this project aims to create and evaluate a new game-based virtual reality program for people with phantom limb pain. The outcome of this project will have real-life applicability for people with phantom limb pain by reducing both their pain levels and the degree to which pain interferes with their lives. Further, the findings of this project will create opportunities to expand this new virtual reality platform and roll-out to clinics across Australia.

You will be based in Melbourne and will work with Virtetic and Alfred Services Amputee Clinic as part of this project. You will be located at Virtetics office in the Melbourne Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Melbourne, where youll be working closely with the Virtetic team and will be co-located with multiple other health tech start-ups. You will also be able to join activities such as workshops, seminars, and discussions held by the Human-Robotics Lab at the University of Melbourne. You will have access to high-speed laptops, head mounted displays (virtual reality goggles), and various motion-based systems, including electromyography to measure muscle activity that can be integrated into virtual reality platforms. In addition, you will be an integral part of the BodyinMind research group at UniSA in Adelaide where you will have regular online contact with ~20 other PhD and Masters students.

Supervisory Team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a one year living allowance scholarship of $28,854 is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. A second year of living allowance scholarship is possible but not guaranteed. 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 for domestic students or international students.

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 Masters by Research.

Additionally, applicants must meet the project selection criteria:
  • Be located in Melbourne (or be willing to relocate)
  • Have a clinical background (e.g. undergraduate degree or masters degree in physiotherapy, exercise science etc.) and/or previous virtual reality experience with clinical populations (e.g. as a research assistant)
Applicants who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Pain Science training
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.

A full-time candidate is preferred but applications will be accepted from those wishing to study part-time. The successful candidate will be based out of Melbourne but have access to all resources at the BodyinMind research group and all resources available to research students at UniSA.

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 Sunday 14 August 2022.

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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