PhD Scholarship Opportunity – Sexual and Gender-based Violence Against Refugees

A new scholarship is being offered to support work on a major new research initiative, the SEREDA project (SExual and gender-based violence against Refugees: Experiences from Displacement to Arrival).

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 15 June

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne invites applications for an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship. The scholarship will be located within the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. This opportunity is open to domestic students only.

The scholarship is being offered to support work on a major new research initiative, the SEREDA project (SExual and gender-based violence against Refugees: Experiences from Displacement to Arrival).  The project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, Volkswagen Stiftung and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond through the Europe and Global Challenges Initiative, will be undertaken in the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Turkey by a multi-country research team (University of Birmingham, University of Melbourne, Uppsala University and Bilkent University) in partnership with national and international NGOs providing services and support to refugees who have experienced violence.

The research will increase understanding of the incidence and nature of sexual and gender-based violence experienced by refugees fleeing unrest in the Levant Region (with a focus on Syria and Iraq), to strengthen mechanisms for recognising and recording the extent of sexual and gender-based violence, and for providing appropriate responses – from the time of displacement, whilst in transit, and upon resettlement. The project will examine how the health and social consequences of sexual and gender-based violence are identified and treated, and how they shape inequalities in life chances in different countries of refuge.

The scholarship will support a PhD Scholar to work with and learn from an international team of researchers with expertise in refugee health and gender-based violence, and to work closely with our research partners, in particular Foundation House, a leading Victorian provider of services to people of refugee backgrounds who have experienced traumatic events.  The Scholar will have the opportunity to develop their own area of focus within the wider multi-country study.  Examples of appropriate areas for exploration include, but are not limited to:

  • sexual and gender-based violence against LGBTIQ persons
  • sexual violence against men and boys
  • early and forced marriage
  • intimate partner violence in the context of the conflict in, and refugee flows from, Syria and Iraq.

The scholarship provides a full fee waiver and a stipend valued at AUD $27,082 per annum (2018 value; tax free) for full time students and is available for three years.  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 in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.


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 have qualifications at H1 standard (that is, a relevant bachelor degree with first-class honours, a relevant research masters degree at H1 level, or be an honours or masters graduate from a relevant program with a GRSC score of 80 or above), or qualifications and experience equivalent to the H1 standard (that is a degree in a relevant discipline and have an outstanding record of professional or research achievements since graduation).

Applicants should have some experience working or researching with refugee communities and/or in relation to sexual and gender-based violence.  They will possess excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to engage individuals and communities who have experienced trauma in discussion of sensitive issues, and have demonstrated ability to negotiate the ethical considerations associated with such research.  Arabic speakers and people from a refugee or migrant background 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)

More Information

Dr Cathy Vaughan