HDR Scholarship - Understanding and addressing diabetes stigma

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Understanding and addressing diabetes stigma'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision

Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott (ACBRD)
Matthew Garza (The diaTribe Foundation)


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

There is an entrenched, inaccurate, societal view of diabetes as “a failure of personal responsibility”, which impacts negatively upon the physical and mental health of people with diabetes, and potentially on public and financial support for diabetes care and research. This is an example of what is now referred to as ‘diabetes stigma’, a negative social judgement that may lead to perceived or experienced blame, stereotyping, rejection, exclusion of, or discrimination against, a person or group based on their diagnosis, and management, of diabetes. Research shows four in five people living with diabetes have experienced diabetes stigma, and one in five have been discriminated against. Taking action to end diabetes stigma has been identified as a global priority (e.g. The International Diabetes Federation’s global call to “challenge social stigma” and “stop discrimination against people with diabetes”).

Over the past decade, the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD, Deakin University) has conducted world-leading research to better understand the problem of diabetes stigma. We have explored experiences of, and developed questionnaires measuring, stigma among adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes; identified common sources of stigma (i.e. family / friends, public, media and healthcare providers), and potential consequences of stigma (e.g. internalised stigma, depressive and anxiety symptoms, sub-optimal self-care). This work has inspired and enabled numerous other research studies and initiatives around the world (e.g. dStigmatize). However, there remains limited evidence of effective interventions to address diabetes stigma. The proposed PhD research program is focused on impact, and will progress this emerging and crucial field of research.

The successful candidate will be awarded a three-year Deakin University Industry PhD Scholarship, in collaboration with The DiaTribe Foundation (USA). The candidate will be situated within the Deakin University supervised by Prof Jane Speight and Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott (ACBRD), with external supervision provided by Matthew Garza (Stigma Program Manager, dStigmatize, The DiaTribe Foundation, USA). Students are also expected to spend time at the office of The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes in the Melbourne CBD.

We invite expressions of interest from eligible applicants to complete a full-time PhD focused on advancing this important area of applied behavioural diabetes research.

Project aim

Broadly, the aim of this mixed-methods PhD research is to quantify the scope, and drivers, of diabetes stigma, to inform the development and evaluation of relevant interventions. The exact project aims and methods will be developed, in partnership, by the student and supervision team.

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $30,000 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)
  • Industry top-up stipend of $15,000 per annum tax exempt
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate. 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

Please contact either Prof Jane Speight or Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott to discuss the project before being lodging a formal HDR application to Deakin.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Jane Speight or Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott

Prof Jane Speight
Email Prof Jane Speight
+61 3 522 78415

Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott
Email Dr Elizabeth Holmes-Truscott
+61 3 924 46357