Deakin-Coventry Cotutelle - Diabetic Retinopathy

This is a doctoral cotutelle project in risk factor trajectories and development of diabetic retinopathy between Deakin University (Australia) and Coventry University (United Kingdom).

Deakin Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision

A/Prof Robyn Tapp  (Coventry)

Prof Jane Speight (Deakin)

Prof Jonathan Shaw (Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute)

Deakin School

Deakin Faculty


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

Research topic

This is a doctoral cotutelle program project 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 3.5 years. The PhD Student is anticipated to spend at least 12 months of the total period of the program at Coventry University, with the remainder of the program based at Deakin University.

Early detection of microvascular changes, before the onset of clinically significant complications, is key to reducing the burden of diabetes by providing an “early warning system” and an indicator of disease status, enabling improved individualised treatment recommendations. Risk factor trajectories may help inform potential pathways of disease processes and prediction of diabetes related retinopathy, as understanding how models predict risk remains a substantial problem of even newer deep learning approaches.

This project will develop and evaluate risk factor trajectories with the development retinopathy using an extraordinarily large longitudinal cohort. Complication outcomes and clinical data (e.g. HbA1c, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, total cholesterol and diabetes duration) at each time point are available. Linear spline mixed-effects models, (two levels: measurement occasion and individual), fitted using the statistical package MLwiN version 3.02 will be applied.

Project aim

Risk factor trajectories (both the levels and changes in risk factors over time) may influence the development of retinopathy and assist in developing better prevention strategies in the care for people with type 2 diabetes and bring new insight into the pathogenesis of retinopathy.

This project aims to study risk-factor trajectories (in terms of level and change over time) preceding development of retinopathy and to determine the secular trends in the development of retinopathy and other complications of diabetes.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 15 July 2022


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

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 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.
  • Tuition fees offset for the duration of 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 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 Prof Jane Speight to discuss the project before being invited to lodge a formal HDR application to Deakin. The successful candidate will also be required to lodge a separate PhD application to Coventry University via the Coventry 'Making an Application' page.  Please be aware the scholarship may be awarded prior to the closing date.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Jane Speight

Prof Jane Speight
Email Prof Jane Speight