Deakin 300x300The Scholarship

Deakin University has implemented a Student Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2019—2022, and has formed a set of Action Groups to progress and evaluate the Strategy.  The Strategy aims to:

1)     Identify, address and minimise risk factors that may affect students’ mental health 

2)     Promote protective and preventative factors that influence positive mental health and wellbeing 

3)     Ensure any student who experiences mental health problems is properly supported to continue to learn or re-engage in study.

Profs Tony LaMontagne and Samantha Thomas are Deakin researchers with content and methods expertise in these areas, and serve on the Strategy’s Evaluation Action Group.  The evaluation—overall—will include a variety of general (e.g., improvements in mental health literacy over time across the entire student body) and more focused studies (e.g., improvements in mental health supports for international students), using a variety of methods (e.g., quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews) and data sources (e.g., existing administrative data collected by Deakin, new data collections), both longitudinal and cross-sectional.  There is considerable latitude for the student in the shaping the specific form of the thesis.

We wish to offer a PhD scholarship in this area as a contribution to the overall evaluation.  See

Profs LaMontagne & Thomas will advertise the PhD and run a competitive selection process.  The successful applicant will be a domestic student or on-shore international student (with current visa), will meet Hons H1 or equivalent, and will include LaMontagne & Thomas on their PhD supervisory panel.  The student’s thesis work will be required to contribute to the implementation and/or effectiveness evaluation of the Strategy, including some focus on international students, and will be expected to publish findings in the peer-reviewed literature.  LaMontagne, Thomas and the Evaluation Action group will ensure coordination with other on-going evaluation efforts, and that the PhD student’s work provides value to the Strategy/University as well as having academic value.

This is an exceptional opportunity in an active area of policy & practice development for a suitably qualified and motivated student.  Interested persons are referred to the 2020 Productivity Commission Inquiry Final Report on Mental Health (in particular, section 6.2 on Supporting People in Tertiary Education) and the Australian University Mental Health Framework (Orygen 2020).   


This is a jointly-funded Industry Scholarship, funded 50:50 by the University and Bupa.  Bupa has contributed to the development of the Strategy and is also involved in its implementation, and has a particular interest in international students. 

The scholarship includes a stipend of $28,600 pa (with annual indexing) for 3 years.

Application Process

Please apply through an EoI letter to Prof LaMontagne and an application to Deakin Uni for PhD study in the School of Health & Social Development. :

The EoI letter should be sent to Prof Tony LaMontagne (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and the letter should outline (in one page or less):

  • Your interest in the topic area;
  • The background you bring to the area (we welcome applications from various undergraduate backgrounds), including your education in health or another relevant discipline (e.g., sociology, program evaluation) as well as other relevant experience in research, policy, or practice (including work experience); and
  • A statement of whether you meet Deakin’s H1 threshold for PhD scholarship.
  • The scholarship will remain open until filled, up to late 2021.

Queries about the EoI process should be directed to Prof Tony LaMontagne (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The PhD application (, ideally, will also be lodged as soon as possible following submission of an EoI.  In the section on proposed project, the student should include reference to this particular scholarship opportunity.