HDR Scholarship - Reforming Restrictive Practices: Mental Healthcare

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic '.Reforming Restrictive Practices: Mental Healthcare'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Waterfront Campus

Swanston Centre, University Hospital Geelong

Research topic

This project will focus on reforming healthcare practice in regards restrictive practices in Barwon Health’s Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services (MHDAS).

Recommendations from the recent Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System regarding transformation of the mental healthcare system include the imperative of embedding the voice of people with a lived experience of the mental health system in the reform of mental healthcare.

Barwon Health’s Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services (MHDAS) is the sole provider of public mental health services for Geelong and surrounding regions, comprising approximately 305,000 people. MHDAS strongly supports the engagement of people with lived experience in healthcare reform, and, as such, is focused on embedding the principles of co-design within service development, as articulated in state and national mental health plans, and in the Royal Commissions’ recommendations.

Drawing on the expertise of a multidisciplinary supervisory panel that includes the Principle Supervisor in the field of Social Work, the Clinical Director of MHDAS, and a Professor in Social Inclusion, the PhD student will address the specific recommendation from the Royal Commission to eliminate of the use of restrictive practices in mental healthcare facilities.

Project aim

This PhD will explore a range of research methodologies (for example qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods and evaluative methodologies) and generate practical, feasible and sustainable evidence-based strategies, co-designed with those with a lived experience of mental health issues and mental healthcare practitioners.  The research will support MHDAS in reducing, and ultimately eliminating, the use of restrictive practices within mental healthcare practices.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 1 October 2021


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,600 per annum tax exempt (2021 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic 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.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • A genuine interest in mental healthcare reform and the experiences of individuals with a lived experience of mental healthcare
  • Be enthusiastic to work within the healthcare setting on a multidisciplinary project
  • Demonstrated experience in mental healthcare delivery, psychology, social work, or similar
  • High level of self-management, personal motivation, communication, organisational and interpersonal skills

How to apply

Please contact Renae Carolin prior to 27 August 2021 to discuss this PhD, including the option to maintain a clinical or healthcare worker role concurrent with undertaking PhD studies. If successful please email a cover letter addressing the selection criteria to Renae Carolin before 1 October 2021. Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Ms Renae Carolin or Dr James Lucas

Ms Renae Carolin
Email Ms Renae Carolin
+61 422 521 422

Dr James Lucas
Email Dr James Lucas
+61 3 522 78814