HDR Scholarship - Smart digital technologies and the future of democracy in the Muslim world

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Smart digital technologies and the future of democracy in the Muslim world'.

Project Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

A Deakin University PhD scholarship is available for a graduate with interest in studying democracy in the Muslim world. 

Smart digital technologies have had a mixed effect on the prospect of democracy throughout the world. They have contributed to de-centralization of previously powerful and often monopolistic mass media by enabling grassroots citizens to advance their independent voices, empowered them through more effective political communication and organization of dissent, and given them easier access to governments and politicians. Also, the depth and extent of the available data on citizens to governments and big-tech companies, and of the surveillance capabilities they provide, is a clear risk to deliberative democracy. This paradoxical impact has been felt in the Muslim world, with the widespread adoption and popularity of digital technologies among both people and governments over the past two decades. The project, funded by Gerda Henkel Foundation, aims to investigate the impact of smart digital technologies on the prospect of democracy in Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt.

The PhD candidates will join a vibrant team of researchers at Middle East Studies Forum, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) under the supervision of Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh, Prof Ihsan Yilmaz and Dr Zahid Ahmed. The PhD project will examine the impact of smart digital technologies on popular representation and democracy. Arabic language skills and knowledge of the Egyptian political system will be advantageous.

Project aim

  • Develop a rigorous methodology to examine the impact of digital technology on the prospects of democracy in the Muslim world.
  • Produce high quality research output to advance scholarship.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday 31 January 2022


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • 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:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

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 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 Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh before applying. If invited to apply please submit the expression of interest form


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh or Ms Karly Stafford

Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh
Email Prof Shahram Akbarzadeh
+61 3 924 45040

Ms Karly Stafford
Email Ms Karly Stafford
+61 3 522 72793