HDR Scholarship - Mentoring for research translation capability building in rural and regional health practitioners

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Mentoring for research translation capability building in rural and regional health practitioners'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


Negotiable - Deakin campuses include Melbourne Burwood Campus, Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, Geelong Waterfront Campus and Warrnambool Campus

Research topic

DELIVER is a Commonwealth funded (Medical Research Future Fund) research program under the Rapid Applied Research Translation grant scheme led by the Western Alliance Academic Health Science Centre. The Program is being conducted in partnership with healthcare consumers (older people and their carers), regional and rural health services in the Barwon South West region and Grampians region, universities (Deakin, Federation, Monash and University of Melbourne) and primary healthcare providers across western Victoria.

DELIVER Program has two primary aims:

  1. to support increased, sustained, health service research capability across the region.
  2. to improve healthcare at home or closer to home for older people in regional and rural areas using rapid research translation, digital tools and co-design.

Mentoring is a commonly used approach to build research capacity and capability in researchers based in health services and in academia. Mentoring has also been used as a strategy to increase research translation capability in practitioners. However, there is a lack of evidence supporting the most effective approaches to mentoring for building research translation capability in practitioners working in rural and regional health settings, where the challenges to conducting research and translating evidence into practice may differ to those experienced in metropolitan settings. Moreover, the skills, qualities, and training needs of research translation mentors in these settings have not been explored. Finally, what makes for an effective research translation mentorship dyad to enable research translation in rural and regional health services, has not been investigated empirically.

This proposed project aims to understand how mentoring can build research translation capability in rural and regional health practitioners by determining what mentoring characteristics work, for whom do they work, in what circumstances, and why?

The findings of the project will inform research translation capability building strategies that involve mentoring and academic-health service partnerships.

Project aim

The project aims are to:

  1. Identify the enablers and challenges associated with research translation mentoring
  2. Identify whether mentoring influences research translation capability for practitioners working in rural and regional settings and if so how
  3. Identify the skills, characteristics required of research translation mentors
  4. Identify any differences between the needs of rural and regional practitioners from different clinical backgrounds (e.g., allied health, medicine, nursing)
  5. Identify the environmental and other factors that influence the outcomes of research translation mentorships in rural and regional health settings
  6. Determine the training and support needs for research translation mentors

Possible methods and skills developed:

  • Mixed methods - quantitative / qualitative research
  • Participatory research
  • Health service research skills (implementation, interviewing, focus group facilitation, survey design, qualitative and quantitative data analysis)
  • Industry experience
  • Network building

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 1 December 2023


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $33,500 per annum tax exempt (2023 rate)

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.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Bachelor degree with Honours or Master’s degree with a substantial interdisciplinary research component in fields of social and /or health sciences.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies, ideally experimenting with innovative research methods that are engaging for participants
  • Evidence of publication or reports in written form
  • Ability to work in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment

Applicant attributes include:

  • Strong background in healthcare (either within a health service or health related area)
  • High level of organisation and accurate record keeping
  • Experience in preparing written research documents and oral presentations on research activities and outcomes
  • Preparing and submitting publications from research activities to peer-reviewed journals and conferences
  • Analytical and numerical analyses
  • Team attitude through participation in group development and research activities and contribute to other projects within the DELIVER program

How to apply

Please email your expression of interest (EOI) to A/Prof Kate Huggins. The EOI should include official academic transcripts (tertiary level only - including grading scale and evidence of completion), CV including names and contact details of at least two referees and a 1-2 page cover letter outlining your skills, experience, research topics of interest and why this opportunity interests you.

If you are successful you will then be invited to submit a formal application.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact A/Prof Kate Huggins

A/Prof Kate Huggins
Email A/Prof Kate Huggins
+61 3 5227 3970