Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Developing regional cooperation in South Asia

This is a doctoral cotutelle project in in developing regional cooperation in South Asia between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom).

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


Melbourne Burwood Campus (Australia) and Coventry University (UK)

Research topic

This is a doctoral IRP Program project on developing regional cooperation in South Asia between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom).

The successful PhD Student will be awarded a scholarship from Deakin University with the supervision team being drawn from Deakin University and Coventry University. The PhD Student will graduate with two testamurs, one from Deakin University and one from Coventry University, each of which recognises that the program was carried out as part of a jointly supervised doctoral program. The program is for a duration of up to 4 years and scheduled to commence in September 2023.

The PhD Student is anticipated to up to 12 months of the total period of the program at Coventry University, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin University.

Research Project Developing Regional Cooperation in South Asia: Regional relations in South Asia have become increasingly fraught within the last five years, with India and Pakistan (both nuclear powers) periodically threatening war over the Kashmir dispute; and more recently the withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan creating concerns over an increase in cross border terrorism, as well as the spill over of the subsequent humanitarian crisis in terms of refugees into neighbouring countries, already struggling with post-COVID economic deficits. One of the key bodies established to promote regional cooperation, planning and dialogue across South Asia is the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation – known as SAARC. Although SAARC is made up of eight member countries, in recent times its meetings have been dominated by bilateral (two-country) conflicts – namely between India and Pakistan at the detriment of meaningful regional cooperation. This project will i) conduct analysis of SAARCs original charter, and ii) through interviews with senior diplomats from its eight member countries explore: if it is possible to depoliticize SAARC forums (despite this being agreed to at the signing of the charter); And if so whether research findings from this study can help develop a new charter for engagement which can promote better relations at meetings between the countries.

Project aim

The project will allow for an important revisiting of the SAARC Charter as well as a review of previous meetings and summits in order to identify areas for the development of strategies for better engagement. The outcome will be independent research findings, conducted with all the member states as equal stakeholders, which will provide informed recommendations to SAARC and the international community for developing intra-regional cooperation in South Asia. This is crucial for the region due to current tensions between nuclear powers; as well as member states who are currently undergoing humanitarian crises and would benefit from more robust regional support and joint programmes for addressing poverty and terrorism.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Saturday 27 May 2023

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


This scholarship is supported by Deakin University, is available over 3 years and includes:

  • 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:  Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.
  • Full Tuition Fee Waiver for up to 4 years
  • Funding to support travel of PhD Student between Deakin University and Coventry University

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet the PhD entry requirements of both Deakin University and Coventry university, including English language proficiency requirements
  • be enrolling full time and/or part-time
  • be able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia)

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page and Coventry’s research entry criteria page for further information.

How to apply

Applicants should contact Dr Zahid Ahmed to discuss the project. After discussing your application with the Deakin Supervisor, you will be required to submit an Expression of interest directly with the relevant Faculty.
If successful, you will be invited by Deakin University to lodge a formal HDR application to Deakin.

The successful applicant will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the Coventry University application page.

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 Zahid Ahmed
+61 3 924 68362