HDR Scholarship - Empowerment and shared decision making in patient experience when living with multimorbidities

Applications now open

A Joint PhD scholarship between Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic of 'Empowerment and shared decision making in patient experience when living with multimorbidities'.

Project Supervisor

School OR Institute


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

This project and scholarship are offered as part of a collaborative joint PhD program with the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by a team of leading researchers from Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen and will graduate with a joint PhD from both institutions. It is anticipated that the PhD candidate spends at least six months during the program at the University of Copenhagen.

Worldwide, multimorbidity is highly prevalent and increasing and is more common among people from disadvantaged groups, such as those from non-English speaking or lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Although individual diseases dominate health-care delivery people with multimorbidity need a broader approach. Shared decision making involves health professionals working together with patients and families to ensure the patient’s values, goals and concerns are addressed. Active inclusion of patients and families in decision making enables both communication about benefits, risks and uncertainties of treatment. It also enhances incorporation of patient preferences and priorities into clinical decisions and goal of care. The process towards empowerment begins with participation of the individual, which leads to ownership with the ultimate goal of giving the individual control over their own health conditions.

The increasing digitalisation of both information and services and have added to the challenges of multimorbidity both for community members and providers. The digitalisation of health services has profound impact on the communication between patients (end users) and health providers. Health technology has the potential to support those who have the resources and competence to take advantage of increasing market of health services. It also has the potential to engage and empower those who are disadvantaged or underserved, if barriers such as low health literacy can be overcome. Understanding the complexities of shared decision making in patients with multimorbidities can help to identify the challenges and solutions in the underlying use of technology when facilitating patient participation in their health care, and of how opportunities for shared decision making can be enabled.

Project aim

The aim of this PhD is to undertake research exploring the nature of patient communication and shared decision making in multimorbidity, and to devise solutions that promote patient engagement and improved outcomes in the areas of self-care, clinical decision making, patient satisfaction, readiness for use of technology and effective and efficient use of healthcare resources. Specific studies will seek to:

  1. Understand the patient journey and the impact of each service touchpoint on patient experience with communication and care
  2. Understand the impact of other health service factors (includes HPs perceptions/experience) on the patient experience
  3. Co-design for patients and health services to support greater patient empowerment/engagement and support sustainability on an organisational level.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm AEST, Monday 29th June 2020


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,092 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $A500-$A1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas to commence the program in Australia
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen, including English language proficiency requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component
  • be able to physically locate to both University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Deakin University (Australia).

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Bodil Rasmussen

Dr Bodil Rasmussen
Chair in Nursing (Western Health)
Email Prof Bodil Rasmussen
Ph. +61 3 924 46425