PhD Scholarship Opportunity – Student Food Insecurity in Australia

A new scholarship is being offered to investigate student food insecurity in Australia. 

Expressions of Interest close on Monday 13 September 2021

About the Project

The successful applicant will be interested in understanding and addressing food insecurity among students in Australian universities. Food insecurity affects up to 40% of students in Australian universities and is closely linked to a range of other issues, including mental health, relationships, sustainability, and cultural life.

We seek a graduate researcher with experience in qualitative social research to undertake research on the issue of food insecurity building on the Talking Hunger research project led by Associate Professor Jane Dyson, Associate Professor Gyorgy Scrinis, Professor Craig Jeffrey and Ms Charlene Edwards at the University of Melbourne, supported by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute.

We are particularly interested in recruiting a graduate who is interested in applied research that seeks not only to analyse the problem but also promote food security among students in Australia, working with universities, government, other organisations, the community, and students themselves.

The research is likely to include the following elements:

  • The collection of qualitative material regarding students’ experiences of food insecurity in Australian universities;
  • The exploration of students’ action in relation to food insecurity and thereby advance understanding of youth agency;
  • The use of the research to encourage governments and universities to make food insecurity a policy priority and development of a food insecurity toolkit that can assist them in initiating change;
  • The promotion of public understanding of food insecurity among students in Australia.

The new research may investigate aspects of food insecurity in imaginative ways, and it is not the intention to limit the successful applicant to one approach. The successful PhD student would be expected to further develop their specific research question with this focus in mind in the first 12 months with the support of supervisors.

Unfortunately, the funding for this scholarship is restricted to supporting a domestic student only.

Scholarship Benefits

The scholarship benefits include:

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute will also provide an additional $2,000 per annum (a maximum of $6000 during candidature) in research support funds.

The successful candidate will also receive automatic entry to the Institute’s Doctoral Academy.


The scholarship is only available to Australian and New Zealand citizens or Australian permanent residents. 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 a Postgraduate degree and/or 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 and experience of social science methods.

Applicants will ideally be available to commence before the end of 2021. People with lived experience of food insecurity are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please complete the Expression of Interest Form. Candidates who are shortlisted will be invited to apply for a Scholarship in a competitive round.

All Expressions of Interest must be received by no later than Monday 13 September 2021. Please send your EOI to

Download the EOI Form

Further Enquiries

For any questions about the project scope or eligibility, or the PhD Program and application process please contact Professor Craig Jeffrey,

About the Melbourne Social Equity Institute

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute is one of five 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 supports collaborative research between academics, members of community organisations, policy makers and people with lived experiences to help build fairer societies.

About the School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

The School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences was formally established on 1 April 2021, following the merger of the Schools of Geography and Earth Sciences. The School offers strong undergraduate, graduate and research programs in these core discipline areas, and in the multi-disciplinary fields of Climate Change, Environmental Science and Archaeological Science.

With strengths in both the spatial (local to global) and temporal (deep time as well as recent) dimensions of environmental change, and the human contributions to these, the new School is dedicated to achieving a better future for its students, society and the environment.