HDR Scholarship - Gambling in older adults

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Gambling in older adults'.

Project Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

This research is partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council.

This PhD Scholarship aims to understand how gambling is becoming normalised for different population subgroups.

The grant is led by A/Prof Samantha Thomas at Deakin University in Australia, and involves collaboration with an outstanding interdisciplinary team of researchers: Dr Hannah Pitt (Deakin University); Dr Sean Cowlishaw (University of Melbourne), Prof Mike Daube (Curtin University), A/Prof Melanie Randle (University of Wollongong), Prof Rebecca Cassidy (Goldsmiths, University of London), and Prof Sylvia Kairouz (Concordia University, Canada).

This PhD Scholarship focuses on how gambling is normalised for older adults. Studies show that older adults in Australia participate in gambling more regularly than other age groups, are at increased risk of gambling harm.

While some have suggested that older adults are an attractive target audience for the gambling industry, there has been very limited research that has examined the factors that may influence why older adults regularly engage in gambling, and why they may be vulnerable to experiencing gambling related harm.

Project aim

This thesis is primarily qualitative in approach. It will be completed by a publication model of thesis. The study aims to:

  1. Determine how promotional tactics used by the gambling industry may be used to appeal to older adults.
  2. 2. Document the range of factors that may influence how older adults engage with, and form attitudes towards different forms of gambling.
  3. 3. Develop local level public health prevention strategies to respond to the factors contributing to normalisation in older adults.

The project will involve three distinct phases of research, including content analyses of marketing materials, qualitative interviews with older adults, and working with community stakeholders to develop strategies aimed to prevent gambling harm. The project involves a content analysis of promotional materials, qualitative interviews with 50 older adults, and participation in a workshop aimed to develop evidenced based solutions for preventing gambling harm in older adults.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

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

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Applicants should have a previous research experience with qualitative methods. A degree in public health, health promotion, or the social sciences is preferable.

How to apply

Interested applicants should email their CV and academic transcript to A/Prof Samantha Thomas.

Applicants invited to submit a full application should follow the instructions on our How to Apply page.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Samantha Thomas

A/Prof Samantha Thomas
Associate Professor of Public Health
Email Samantha Thomas
+61 3 9244 5453