PhD Scholarship Opportunity – In Partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

A new scholarship is being offered to investigate empowerment approaches for people seeking asylum and refugees. What are the impacts, outcomes and challenges for empowering people seeking asylum?

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 27 September

This Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship is provided by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute in partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. The student will be supervised by Dr Karen Block and located in the Centre for Health Equity, School of Population and Global Health.

Over the last 18 years, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) has worked with thousands of people seeking asylum in our community and in off-shore detention. This includes providing education, employment, training, humanitarian, legal and advocacy services.

Since 2016, ASRC has trained, supported and resourced people with lived experience as part of its Advocacy and Power Program (APP) to become story-tellers and advocates. More broadly, the ASRC seeks to empower people seeking asylum through many programs including the Innovation Hub which includes education, employment, social enterprise, youth and women’s leadership programs. The ASRC also works with people currently seeking asylum in a group known as the Freedom Network to engage in advocacy where it is safe to do so.

The PhD researcher will identify how the ASRC and other agencies seek to empower people with lived experience of seeking asylum including in advocacy activities and explore the impacts of empowerment strategies. The researcher will further develop the research question in the first 12 months with the support of supervisors. Proposals using mixed methods and or participatory approaches are encouraged.


  • Access to ASRC’s programs, staff and reports;
  • Access to the work of the ASRC;
  • Access to a work station at the ASRC;
  • Facilitate and support engagement with people with lived experience, community groups and networks and provide advice around design throughout the research program;
  • Facilitate access to ASRC’s membership base and former and current members who access the service and participate in advocacy activities; and,
  • Participate in a research reference group.


The scholarship benefits include:

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute provides an additional $2,000 per annum (a maximum of $6,000 during candidature) in research support funds. The successful candidate will also receive automatic entry into the Institute’s PhD Program Migration, Statelessness and Refugee Studies.


This scholarship is available to both domestic and international students. The scholarship is conditional upon acceptance into a PhD program at the University of Melbourne.

Applicants must be eligible for acceptance by the University of Melbourne into a PhD program. By the commencement of the program, applicants must have completed an accredited fourth-year program at Honours 1 or Honours 1 equivalence level, or at an Honours 2 level with an outstanding record of professional or research achievements since graduation.

Applicants should possess excellent interpersonal skills. Applicants will ideally be available to commence before the end of 2019.

People with lived experience of seeking asylum are strongly encouraged to apply.


Applicants will be asked to provide the following information. We strongly recommend that you prepare your answers offline (in Microsoft Word or similar) and save a copy for your own records.

  • Name and contact information
  • Intended mode of study (full time/part time)
  • Relevant academic qualifications
  • Any previous academic awards, scholarships or prizes
  • Information about any substantial pieces of research completed as part of previous degrees (up to 250 words)
  • Any research publications you have authored or co-authored
  • Any study or work experience that is relevant to your PhD proposal or that has required you to develop relevant research and writing skills (up to 100 words)
  • Contact details of two references
  • Your CV (upload attachment, up to 2 pages)
  • A brief research proposal – outline preliminary ideas, key research questions, methodologies, relevant conceptual and theoretical approaches; address how the project fits into the specific research program (upload attachment, 1 – 2 pages)
  • Your academic transcripts (upload attachment)
  • If applicable, Masters/Honours thesis examiners' reports (upload attachment)

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 27 September


If you have any questions about the PhD Program or the application process, please contact:

Dr Karen Block on +61 3 8344 0862 or


The Melbourne Social Equity Institute is one of four Interdisciplinary Research Institutes at the University of Melbourne. Each operates with a small directorate and supports and encourages research across disciplinary boundaries.

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute acknowledges an imperfect world. Chances of birth such as class, race, ability or gender can lead to marginalisation and societies are sometimes beset by divisions of culture, economic status or creed. The Institute supports collaborative research between academics, members of community organisations, policy makers and people with lived experiences which helps build fairer societies.