Health

5 minute read

Two women sit next to computers and observe a surgical procedure

As a graduate researcher, you’ll join a supportive and stimulating health research community. We’re motivated to find new cures, treatments and therapies that bring hope to individuals and whole communities. Learn how you can pursue your passion in health research at the University.

We offer a wide range of health research projects for graduate researchers, across many different departments and centres. This means that you’ll find experience and expertise in your specific field of interest. And you’ll access support and guidance to deliver your own breakthrough research.

We also collaborate with 32 affiliated institutes, including the state’s leading research hospitals. So, even though you’re doing your graduate research degree through the University of Melbourne, you might spend your time working elsewhere. This experience will help to expand your networks and enhance your career prospects.

You can also engage with researchers from other disciplines. This might be through one of our multidisciplinary initiatives or institutes. For example, the Creativity and Wellbeing initiative brings together researchers from seven disciplines, including arts, education and health.

So, whatever you’re curious about, you’ll find experts here who share your passion and determination. And you’ll have the resources and infrastructure to make your research happen.

Together, we will continue to solve the biggest health challenges of our time.

Learn how we’re making a difference

For more than 150 years, research outcomes have improved people’s lives – in Australia and around the world.

In the 1930s, we invented a jacket respirator for polio victims. Unlike the iron lung alternative, this meant polio victims could move during treatment.

In the 1950s, we discovered neuraminidase, which enabled the flu vaccine. And a decade later, we progressed our knowledge of immunity by discovering T and B cells.

In the 1970s, researchers at the University invented the bionic ear. This groundbreaking cochlear implant was first given to a patient in 1978. Since then, it has provided hearing to 350 000 people in more than 120 countries.

And today, we’re improving survival rates for pancreatic cancer. We’ve created Australia’s first ‘organoids bank’, where mini pancreatic organs are bombarded with cancer drugs. This new approach to drug testing means researchers can decrease the time it takes to individualise chemotherapy treatment – from months to weeks. This is significant, because average survival is only three to six months from diagnosis.

We’re proud of these past discoveries and inventions. And we’re proud of our ongoing commitment to health research. We’re still leading the way, shaping healthcare delivery on a global scale.

Read more about how health research is improving lives

Explore our research themes

As a graduate researcher at the University of Melbourne, you can pursue opportunities in vital health research, including:

  • Cancer – covering all aspects of research, prevention, detection, treatment, care and health system transformation
  • Child Health – from infancy, through adolescence, and including reproductive potential, so we can optimise whole-life health
  • Immunology and Infection – research, translation, and public health policy and practice
  • Neuroscience – including psychiatry, mental health and psychology.

Join a stimulating health research community

The Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences is the largest biomedical research faculty in Australia.

We employ more than 7000 staff, including 1500 graduate researchers. We’re located in the heart of Melbourne’s biomedical precinct. Depending on your topic, you’ll be aligned with one of our six schools:

Within these schools, there are many different departments and centres. We also collaborate with 32 affiliated institutes, including Victoria’s leading research hospitals. You’ll have the opportunity to join research teams at:

You may also choose to do your research at Melbourne Bioinformatics. This team provides bioinformatics support for researchers in Melbourne’s biomedical and biosciences precinct, including those from affiliated institutes. As a cancer researcher, you could be involved with an international research program such as the Pan Prostate Genomics Consortium.

Work with experts from other disciplines

As a health researcher, you can also work with researchers from other disciplines. This could be through one of the University’s multidisciplinary research initiatives.

Working with colleagues from other disciplines helps you reflect on the world in different ways. Depending on the topic, you might work with experts from areas like fine arts and music, education or law.

Hallmark Research Initiatives

Several current Hallmark Research Initiatives address health-related themes:

  • Creativity and Wellbeing – understanding how and why creativity relates to wellbeing, from infancy to old age.
  • Future Food – working with CSIRO to understand future demand and supply of protein-rich foods.

Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes


Health-related institutes include:

  • Indigenous Knowledge Institute – preserving and restoring Indigenous knowledge. This includes work in language, health and life sciences.
  • Melbourne Disability Institute – improving the health and wellbeing of people with disability.
  • Melbourne Social Equity Institute – addressing disadvantage across social life, including health.
  • Multidisciplinary PhD Programs

    PhD Programs enrich your core PhD studies. They create the opportunity to extend your networks beyond your own faculty. You will attend seminars and workshops with researchers from other relevant disciplines. As a health-related PhD candidate, you could explore the following programs:

    Next steps

    PhD studentship opportunity

    • A full-time graduate research studentship is available for a suitable PhD candidate with a nursing or allied health degree, to work in the Be Sweet to Babies Program of research.
    • This research will improve use of evidence-based pain management, and subsequently, quality of care for neonates, infants or young children and their families/caregivers.
    • The PhD studentship is valued at $35,700 per annum and is indexed and tax exempted. This studentship is for 3 years.
    • Applications close on 31 July 2020.
    • For more information, please contact Professor Denise Harrison.

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