Mt Helen - PhD (Industry) scholarships

Federation University is seeking PhD candidates for fully-funded projects co-designed and co-supervised by IBM scientists and leading academics within the University’s research centres.

Successful applicants will be based at Federation University’s Mt Helen Campus and will receive a scholarship of $40,000 per calendar year in partnership with the Department of Education and Destination Australia.

Successful applicants will also have the opportunity to participate in an industry-based internship.

Current project opportunities

These opportunities are open to suitably qualified people with relevant academic qualifications and demonstrated fundamental technical knowledge (e.g. multimedia processing and analytics, machine learning, IoT and data science) relevant to the application domain of each project (e.g. health, engineering and supply chain).

Specific skills and interests relevant for each project are listed below.

Please direct any questions regarding the projects to the first listed supervisor in the project description.

Developing digital approaches to chronic disease management in older people


The Happy Life Club is a global innovative clinician coach driven method to assist patients with chronic illness management. Chronic illnesses account for 90 per cent of global disease burden. The PhD project will employ digital health approaches, AI and multimodal data analytics to maximise patient reach and clinical effectiveness.

Background and interests relevant to the project

Behavioural sciences, IT, data science


Federation University: Professor Colette BrowningProfessor Shane Thomas
IBM: Dr Rahil Garnavi, Dr Michal Chorev

Affiliated research centre

Health Innovation and Transformation Centre

Decision support to achieve net zero carbon for land managers and enterprise managers


To meet Sustainable Development Goals, many enterprises aspire to achieve net zero carbon. Working with regional industries, this project uses sensors and artificial intelligence to access the quantity and quality of data for carbon monitoring, modelling, accounting and visualisations, as an evidential base for their claims of carbon neutrality.

Project outcomes will include collaborative development, regional data sharing and the uptake of digital technologies including data federation, visualisation, image analysis, modelling and AI.

Academic background

IT, data science, AI, agriculture


Federation University: Dr Birgita Hansen, Dr Nathan Robinson

IBM: Dr Arun Vishwanath, Dr Ram Kolluri

Affiliated research centre

Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation

Maximising data integration and interoperability for better regional outcomes


Rapid regional change through climate, population and economic pressures is an urgent global issue. This project explores the use of data sharing and modern smart technologies to enhance regional liveability, prosperity, innovation, safety and social connectedness in the rapidly growing City of Ballarat, using data visualisation and analytics to improve planning.

Academic background

Data science, design thinking, smart cities, organisational strategy and Organisational change


Federation University: Associate Professor Helen ThompsonDr Shoaib Riaz

IBM: Professor Iven Mareels

Affiliated research centre

Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation

Scholarship details

Scholarship amount: $40,000 per annum*, funded by Department of Education and Destination Australia

Fees: Up to $32,000 per annum covered by a Research Training Program Fee-Offset Scholarships (domestic students) or a Federation University Tuition Fee Scholarship (international students).

Applications are now open.


Scholarship applicants must be eligible to undertake a PhD. Applicants must verify that they meet the eligibility requirements outlined on the Graduate Research School website before they apply.

If you are making a case for Honours equivalence, in order to demonstrate your eligibility, please ensure that you provide detailed information to support your case.

Applications are open to Australian residents, Australian permanent residents and international applicants.


  • Students are expected to commit to full-time study for the duration of their candidature.
  • Scholarships are for a period of three years and extension to scholarships will not be granted.
  • Successful scholarship applicants must reside in or relocate to Ballarat and study on campus.
  • Successful scholarship applicants must participate in an internship period.
  • Successful scholarship applicants must formally assign, in advance, all rights, title and interest they may have in any IP developed to the University prior to commencing a project.

View the general conditions for Federation University HDR scholarships on the Graduate Research School website. Where these conditions differ to those on this form, the conditions outlined for this specific scholarship take precedence.

How to apply

Applicants who do not complete all steps will not be considered.

Step 1: Follow the application process outlined at: How to apply

Step 2: Provide a 1000-word statement covering the following areas:

  • Discuss your motivations for applying for this PhD scholarship, and your intended outcomes (both for yourself (personally and professionally), and for the sector)
  • Discuss some of the key existing research literature which impact this topic area
  • Discuss your relevant background and experience as they are relevant to the project
  • Discuss how an internship may positively impact on your project and future career.
  • Discuss potential challenges and how you might overcome them
  • Applicants are not required to provide a 250 Project Summary.

    Step 3: Complete the Scholarship Expression of Interest Form