HDR Scholarship - Pregnancy and maternity care during COVID 19

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Pregnancy and maternity care during COVID 19'.

Research topic

The novel coronavirus first identified in December 2019, and has since been identified as SARS-CoV-2, has spread rapidly around the globe. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020. To minimise community transmission, many countries have implemented travel restrictions and quarantine measures whilst health systems have made considerable changes to the way care is delivered - for all peoples, not just thought with COVID-19 disease.

Maternity services, while initially not thought to be on the front line, are significantly impacted by the indirect effects. Each month in Australia, around 25,000 babies are born. In much of 2020, the COVID19 pandemic will affect each one – mostly indirectly as the number of cases have been low. However, even in the first four months of 2020, services have rapidly made significant changes to the way maternity care is delivered – increased use of non-face-to-face care, started telehealth or phone consultations, changed the way antenatal care is provided including use of ultrasound tests, altered women’s support in labour, transformed postnatal ward function and the way home-based postnatal care is delivered and started using personal protective equipment (PPE) at varying levels. The impact these changes have on decision making and clinical relationships between clinicians and women remains unknown.

Project aim

The aim of this research will be to explore the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on women who were pregnant and received maternity services during 2020 and the services which provided that care. A number of projects are possible to develop in more depth which address different aspects of the impact. These include, but are not limited to:

  • describing the outcomes and experiences of women and their babies.
  • describing, comparing and contrasting the changes that occurred across Victoria and across the country
  • exploring the experiences of senior leaders and policy makers
  • understanding the views and wellbeing of staff working in Australian maternity services.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 16 October 2020


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,092 per annum tax exempt (2020 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 currently residing in Australia (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship)
  • 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.

How to apply

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

Find out more

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Alfred Deakin Professor Tracey Bucknall.

Alfred Deakin Professor Tracey Bucknall
Chair in Nursing (Alfred Health) and Alfred Deakin Professor
Email Tracey Bucknall
+61 3 9244 6529

Professor Caroline Homer
Co-Program Director, Burnet Institute
Email Caroline Homer
+61 3 8506 2454