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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.

Partner with an overseas institution

Current funded Joint PhD opportunities

When you undertake a Joint PhD, you are supervised by academics from two institutions. As well as the University of Melbourne, you can partner with an international institution. This means your research will benefit from a truly global perspective. And you will enhance your prospects for an international research career.

We are currently offering the following fully funded Joint PhD opportunities within the theme of health:

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:

Melbourne Bioinformatics

This group of senior bioinformaticians are experts in computational genomics and high throughput computing for life science research.

Academic Lead, Assoc Prof Danny Park and Victoria Fellow Assoc Prof Bernie Pope focus on the human genome. They collaborate on major projects in the cancer genome, human genome informatics and data infrastructure for life science data analysis.

Other experts cover:

  • non-human genomics
  • next-generation sequencing
  • machine learning
  • biological data visualisation
  • software development
  • Galaxy Australia development and resourcing
  • bioinformatics tool development.

Senior Advisor, Assoc Prof Andrew Lonie, is the Director, Australian BioCommons (hosted at Melbourne Bioinformatics), an NCRIS-funded initiative enabling life science research infrastructure. This growing field attracts those with skills in software engineering, human-centred design, tool development, data exchange and platform architecture.

The team is committed to training the next generation of bioinformaticians. They use local, national and international networks to ensure their formal (MSc Bioinformatics) and informal training is up to date.

Contact them regarding research proposals, PhD supervision and co-supervision, bioinformatics skills development and mentoring.


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:

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