PhD Scholarship in Framing and Enabling Children’s Active Play Using Novel Technology

Analyse and understand the internal and external motivations for sustained active play behaviours in young children, particularly in relation to young children’s motivations for using novel technologies that combine physical and digital design elements.

Currently seeking applicants for a PhD position to undertake research as part of this project. This collaborative project is shared between QUT Creative Industries (Professor Thea Blackler, Design), Science and Engineering (Professor Peta Wyeth and Dr. Bernd Ploderer, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Health (Professor Stewart Trost, Centre for Child Health Research), and RMIT (Associate Professor Linda Knight, Education), and funded through the ARC Discovery program. The research investigates how Tangible and Embodied Interfaces (TEIs) offer new opportunities to promote children’s active play in prior-to-school contexts.

You will develop and run visual, observational, interview, and case studies. It is necessary to have a background in early years or early childhood education, with a specialization in play and/or young children’s uses of digital media or technology.

$30,128 per year, tax exempt, for three years.

Applicants must have:

  • A qualification in the areas of early childhood or education including:
    • Bachelor degree requiring at least four years of full-time study in a relevant discipline awarded with Honours. The applicant must have achieved at least a distinction average in the final year OR a Master degree that includes a research component comprised of at least 25% of a full-time academic year (or part-time equivalent) with an overall distinction average OR
    • A Master degree without a research component with at least a high distinction average OR evidence of appropriate academic qualifications and/or experience that satisfies the Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research Training and Development or nominee that the applicant has developed knowledge of the field of study or cognate field and the potential for research sufficient to undertake the proposed program
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams, as well as proven ability to use initiative, and to work independently with minimal supervision to deliver outcomes
  • Demonstrated ability to be open and responsive to change
  • Demonstrated communication skills which will enable you to prepare scholarly and other publications, presentations and funding applications.

Ideally candidates will also have (not necessary but preferred):

  • Demonstrated experience in the planning, conduct, analysis and reporting of qualitative and/or quantitative research in the disciplines of early childhood, education or interactive learning
  • Demonstrated ability to apply research to meet end user needs through designed outputs/outcomes.

Note: candidates will be required to obtain a Blue Card/Working With Children Check.

Submit your application to Linda Knight at Your application must include:

  • A current résumé including:
    • Your academic qualifications
    • A list of any publications
    • Any research grants obtained (including any commercial research contracts and consultancies)
    • Any awards or commendations.
  • A cover letter addressing the eligibility criteria (no more than 2 pages) which includes:
    • Your aims in pursuing a PhD in this area
    • Relevant examples of research projects
    • Full academic transcript
    • Details of 2 referees (email/address/contact number).

As soon as possible.

Three years from commencement.

This Australian Research Council funded project is focused on addressing the critical issue of declining physical activity of young children through understanding and promoting innovative, interactive, active play experiences for children, with a view to increasing their physical activity over the long term. This project focuses on how interactive technologies - which naturally facilitate motor competence through manipulation, gesture and whole body action – offer new opportunities to promote children’s active play. TEIs combine physical artefacts and digital information, allowing interactions to unfold in new situations, across a variety of spaces, and in combination with other activities and experiences.  

This project will seek to find more innovative ways to increase active play and play-based learning through digitally-augmented engagement over the long term, considering systems that allow for emergent behaviour, provide for open-ended, child-led engagement, and support individual and group play. This project will be based on empirical research with children in real contexts.

This scholarship will be governed by RMIT University's Research Scholarship Terms and Conditions.

For more information, please contact Linda Knight at

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.