PhD Scholarship in Health Economics

A PhD Scholarship in Health Economics is available through the NHMRC Centre for Mental Health System Improvement based at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

The Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health System Improvement (CREMHSI) is a five year program of research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The overarching goal of the CREMHSI is to design a model mental health service system for Australia that would optimally reduce the burden of mental disorders.

The work of the CREMHSI will include a detailed analysis of how the model differs from the existing service system, the identification of policy instruments, and a knowledge transfer strategy describing how policy and services need to be changed to move from the existing system to the model system. This goal will be reached while delivering scientific advances and building research capacity in three streams of research:

  • Priority setting for cost-effective mental health interventions and service platforms
  • Mental health system planning to maximize the delivery of evidence based services
  • Translation of evidence-based service system planning into policy

We are seeking a candidate with an interest in economic evaluation for use in priority-setting within the mental health context to undertake a PhD in Stream 1 of the CREMHSI. The project will be supervised by A/Prof Cathy Mihalopoulos and will be located at the Melbourne Burwood campus. The PhD candidate will specifically work in the area of eating disorders and will need to undertake work in the following areas:  

  • Assemble the evidence on the epidemiology and burden (measured in DALYs) of eating disorders in Australia
  • Assemble the existing evidence on the cost-effectiveness of interventions to decrease the burden attributable to the eating disorders. The CREMHSI will use an established Australian approach to priority-setting (ACE (Carter, Vos et al. 2008)) known to decision-makers that considers issues of relevance to decision-makers over and above the technical cost-effectiveness results (such as equity impacts and feasibility)
  • Assemble the best evidence to describe those interventions for which good cost-effectiveness data is unavailable and estimate the burden averted by these
  • Stratify the interventions by the severity of symptoms (distress), functional impairment and support needs (with more severe disorders possibly needing a more resource intensive package), and other criteria deemed relevant by decision-makers (e.g. based on equity impacts)
  • Using the existing resource allocation in Australia, the effectiveness of current services and their utilisation (the latter two combined being called 'effective coverage'), estimate the burden averted by the current service components or platforms (Model A)
  • Estimate the burden able to be averted by each component of the service system (and therefore the system as a whole) if the components were delivering the most effective and cost-effective interventions (Model B) with resource allocation across the components at the current level
  • Estimate the maximum reduction in disease burden with optimal resource allocation if the service components were delivering effective and cost-effective interventions (Model C)
 Model AModel BModel C
Current practiceX  
Current resource allocationXX 
Optimal practice XX
Optimal resource allocation  X

Application period/Closing date

21 April 2014

Value and benefits

  • A stipend of $25,392 per annum tax exempt

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the scholarship applicants should be enrolling full-time and possess the following:

  • Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full-time and must hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a Master's degree in a related field with a substantial research component (or equivalent). Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.
  • Postgraduate qualifications in health economics (e.g. a Master of Health Economics or a Master of Public Health with a Health Economics specialisation) are preferred.
  • Applications are open to Australian or New Zealand citizens, Australian permanent residents or international applicants.

Terms and conditions

Please refer to the terms and conditions (PDF, 127.7 KB) of award.

How to apply

Please refer to the Apply for a research degree webpage for application information.

Further information

 Please contact A/Prof Cathy Mihalopoulos via email or phone +61 3 92517383.

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