PhD Scholarship in Global and Urban Social Studies

This PhD scholarship is attached to an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery 2023 project. The project aims to identify whether neighbourhood liveability influences mental and physical health and healthy ageing.

What is the role of neighbourhood liveability for supporting healthy ageing? 

$34,841 per year for three years

Applications are now open.


One (1) scholarship available

To be considered for the PhD Scholarship, applicants must meet the Eligibility criteria and English requirements as described on the How to Apply page, and should ideally meet the selection criteria below:   

Key selection criteria:

  1. Hold or be currently completing a research degree with a demonstrated research component and experience in statistical analysis.
  2. Good written and verbal communication skills, with an ability to explain technical detail to non-technical audiences.
  3. Previous demonstrated experience with software such as R, Stata, MPLUS, or similar. 
  4. Previous interest in, or knowledge of, built environment and liveability factors such as active transport, public transport, housing, public open space, education, social infrastructure, or planning, and how these factors might be associated with healthy ageing.  
  5. Candidates with some experience in data and regression modelling, survey data analysis, statistics, epidemiology or equivalent will be looked upon favourably.
  6. If you do not hold one of the qualifications detailed under the Eligibility criteria on the How to Apply page, you will only be considered for scholarship if you have previous publications or significant research experience at the discretion of the project lead.

Before applying for the Scholarship, contact Dr Lucy Gunn ( and establish if your research interests are aligned. 

Further details on RMIT University’s research strategy can be found on the Our Research web page.

All applicants should email the following to Dr Lucy Gunn,

  • a cover letter, this should detail alignment with research areas at RMIT and directly address each of the key selection criteria,
  • your Curriculum Vitae, including a section on research skills and their application, and
  • a 1-2 page research proposal focusing on how neighbourhood liveability is associated with the health and wellbeing of older adults. The research proposal is a key part of the application process where applicants must demonstrate the value of their research and their suitability for scholarship selection. 

Your proposal should be developed under the following headings:

  1. Title 
  2. Research questions you plan to investigate in the context of existing research/literature
  3. Methodology/research tasks required to undertake the research.
  4. Significance and impact of the research

Australia and the world’s population is ageing and governments globally are seeking ways of supporting people to stay healthy as they age. A key aspect of ageing relates to the environments in which people live. Neighbourhood environments can impact how people stay connected, socialise, and stay healthy across time.  Furthermore, key aspects of neighbourhoods can contribute to how liveable a place is. 

For example, liveable neighbourhoods include a range of different local services and amenities that are easily accessed through walking, cycling and public transport. They encourage and support more active lifestyles, are safe and support sustainability, include affordable and diverse housing options, public open space, public transport, local education and employment options, leisure and recreation, shops, and local services. Yet, little is known about how neighbourhoods change across time in relation to ageing and how this might impact peoples’ health.

The proposed PhD project is a study of mid to older aged adults and whether local neighbourhood liveability and neighbourhood features support active and healthy behaviours and overall health and wellbeing. Key aims are to identify whether neighbourhood liveability or it’s components influence healthy ageing; and the extent to which this relationship is modified by individual preferences and socioeconomic disadvantage. 

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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.