HDR Scholarship - Ethical, legal and social implications of genomic testing

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Ethical, legal and social implications of genomic testing'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Direct-to-consumer genomic testing is a rapidly growing and unregulated industry, despite major ethical, legal, social issues and related health and financial harms that must be urgently addressed. The successful candidate will be working as part of Gen(e)quality, an international trans-disciplinary consortium. The aim of this consortium is to develop the consumer advocacy tools and resources needed to address this deficit.

The successful candidate will focus on tests based on mechanisms of gene regulation (epigenomics), the genomics of symbiotic microbes (microbiomes) and metabolites. These fall under the banner of ‘genomics’ but have received much less attention than genetic tests.

The successful candidate will engage with diverse subsets of the Australian public in focus groups or workshops to establish the current state of understanding and demand for such tests. The project will meet an important and urgent need to support those who are more susceptible to chronic disease, and therefore more likely to be targeted for testing, including Indigenous Australians, people of low socioeconomic status, and those with disabilities.

In the focus groups, we will discuss the ethical, social and financial implications of genomic tests, and co-design a consumer engagement and education platform, including a web app and printed consumer guides. These will be developed, as required, for specific population sub-groups and disseminated widely using established communication networks.

Project aim

The following project aims will be addressed by the successful candidate as part of the Gen(e)quality team:

  1. To review the ethical, legal and social implications of direct-to-consumer genomic testing, with a focus on epigenetics and microbiomes
  2. To evaluate existing educational resources for such technologies
  3. To engage with specific stakeholder groups about genomic testing and in doing so understand their knowledge, needs and concerns
  4. To develop co-designed consumer guides to genomic testing with the help of our stakeholder groups and to distribute these via our trusted health information partner Healthdirect Australia.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Tuesday 1 December 2020


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,600 per annum tax exempt (2021 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • 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 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:

  • experience in conducting focus groups or workshops

How to apply

Interested applicants should contact via email A/Prof Jeffrey Craig before applying for the project. Applicants invited to submit a full application should follow the instructions on the How to apply page


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Jeffrey Craig or A/Prof Neera Bhatia

A/Prof Jeffrey Craig
Associate Professor
Email Jeffrey Craig
+61 3 522 78655

A/Prof Neera Bhatia
Associate Professor
Email Neera Bhatia
+61 3 924 46594