Deakin – Copenhagen(SUND) - The Digital Child (DigiChild) Program

Applications now open. A joint PhD scholarship with Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'The Digital Child (DigiChild) Program.’

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisors

Dr Trine Flensborg-Madsen (University of Copenhagen)


Deakin University (Warrnambool Campus, Australia) and the University of Copenhagen (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, SUND, Denmark).

Research topic

This is a joint doctoral PhD program project between Deakin University (Australia) and the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND), Denmark. The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Deakin University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and SUND. The PhD Student will graduate with jointly badged, jointly awarded single testamur recognising that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral PhD program. The program is for a duration of 3 years.

The PhD Student is anticipated to spend between 6 to 12 months of the total period of the program at SUND, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin University.

The reason topic is Child development and digital technologies.

Rapid technological development and introduction of more handheld screen-based devices have changed the way and the amount of time children interact with screens. Today’s children thus spend more time using digital entertainment than previous generations, and the coronavirus pandemic has increased the tendency of parents to introduce screens at a younger age. The overarching aim of the DigiChild study is to investigate whether and to what extent screen-time affect cognitive development in pre-school children. The DigiChild project will be a large longitudinal study of pre-school children to use objective measures of both screen-time, screen-content and cognitive outcomes.

Project aim

The Digital Child (DigiChild) program will investigate the influence of screen-use on cognitive and socio-emotional development in a cohort of approx. 1000 Australian preschool children who will be followed for two years. Data will be based on an internationally unique combination of objective measures on screen-use (app-driven phone- and tablet data) with measures of cognitive development derived from national register data (language assessments in kinder-garden and school), app-based tests and parent-reports. The specific aims are to investigate:

  1. Whether the amount of screen-time in the pre-school years is associated with cognitive and socio-emotional development at school-start.
  2. The extent to which the content of screen-use modifies effects of screen-time.
  3. The role of family characteristics and home environment on effects of screen-use.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • 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.
  • Funding to support travel of PhD Student between Deakin University and SUND including funds towards flights, visas and an additional top-up allowance from Deakin. Please note additional funding support from SUND is available to students for the part of the stay at SUND.

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 the entry requirements for Deakin's Phd Program and University of Copenhagen's PhD program -  This includes English language proficiency requirements and a masters degree (2 years) in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum 80%
  • be able to physically locate to both the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND) (Denmark) and Deakin University (Australia)

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

How to apply

Applicants should email Dr Sharon Horwood to discuss the project before being invited to lodge formal HDR application to Deakin. The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to SUND via the Submit your Phd Application including an extensively prepared project proposal.  

Please be aware that screening for this advert will commence immediately and the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Sharon Horwood

Dr Sharon Horwood
Senior Lecturer
Email Sharon Horwood
+61 3 55633294