Bass Coast Health PhD Scholarship

Partnering in Healthcare – Health Care Transformation across the Gippsland South Coast

Scholarship value: $30000 per year stipend to support living costs and a Research Training Program (RTP) fee scholarship valued at $30600 per annum for international candidates.

Associated Support Funds:  Small additional funds, to support associated project costs, may be available on an annual basis dependent on the level of Research Training Program (RTP) support received from the Commonwealth

Application form: Bass Coast Health Application Form

Applications will be accepted until 5:00 pm, Wednesday 1 May, 2019. Applicants interviewed will be advised of the outcome at the earliest opportunity, with the successful applicant to commence by 1 June 2019  (preferred date.

Project overview

This PhD scholarship will be of interest to those wishing to gain foundation research experience in fields such as, health service planning, delivery and coordination; workforce development; and public health.  An outline of the project is listed below.  The successful applicant is likely to allocated a unique identifiable component of the project based on their expertise and interests. Supervisors will be assigned based on student and project requirements

Project details


There are many references within the health literature about the need for health agencies to work together[i].  Health Partnerships provide a platform for improved and systemic collaboration between health services.[ii] The Victorian Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) cite the need to establish formal partnership approaches to overcome challenges faced by rural health services.[iii] In response, Rural and Regional Health Partnerships Guidelines 2018-2019 emphasise a more connected approach to health service planning, delivery and coordination. [iv] Furthermore, the needs of local communities are often best addressed by the provision of local platforms for collaboration and decision making. [v]

After many years of working independently, the Boards and CEO’s of South Gippsland Hospital, Gippsland Southern Health Service and Bass Coast Health recognised the potential benefits of working together and agreed to meaningfully collaborate, driven by a sub-regional Clinical Service Plan (CSP).

Implementation of the CSP resulted in Steering Committees being convened to guide the creation of CSP Action Plans focusing on Maternity, Surgery & Anaesthetic and Primary & Community service delivery.

Aim: The overarching aim of the project is that by June 2022, eighty percent of people living in the Gippsland South Coast will receive health care in their local area

Objectives: That each health service will collaborate to create a stronger service system for the Gippsland South Coast catchment by:

  • Implementing and strengthening shared clinical governance processes (establishing and supporting joint Clinical Governance Frameworks an Morbidity & Mortality reviews)
  • Implementing shared referral pathways with role delineation (developed through service mapping and gap analysis)
  • Strengthening the interface with local  and metropolitan health services (establishing formal referral pathways and innovative models of care i.e. telehealth)
  • Developing shared workforce planning and development models to support sub-regional service delivery (joint credentialing, scope of clinical practice; clinical governance frameworks)
  • Engaging with academic and research linkages (e.g. a collaborative PhD scholarship opportunity)

Likely impacts: Bass Coast Health will achieve sub-regional status, providing higher acuity services for the sub-region. Maternity services will be secured at all three health services and strengthened through partnerships and improved governance. Surgery and anaesthetic services will offer greater complexity within the catchment and improved workforce utilisation. Primary and community service provision will be more equitably distributed and integrated across the sub-region offering more innovative service delivery models including an integrated prevention partnership.

[i] Carnwell, Ros, and Julian Buchanan. Effective Practice in Health, Social Care and Criminal Justice: A Partnership Approach, McGraw-Hill Education, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central,

[ii] Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, UK (2003), Assessing Strategic Partnership: The Partnership Assessment Tool

[iii] State of Victoria, Department of Health & Human, October (2017), Statewide design, service and infrastructure plan for Victoria’s health system 2017-2037

[iv] State of Victoria, Department of Health & Human Services, draft document (2018), Rural and Regional Health Partnerships Guidelines 2018-19

[v] State of Victoria, Department of Health & Human Services, draft document (2018), Rural and Regional Health Partnerships Guidelines 2018-19


Principal Supervisor: Professor Simon Cooper

Professor Simon Cooper has worked in acute care in the UK and Australia with experience in intensive care, emergency and paramedicine. He led nurse practitioner developments in the UK prior to moving to Australia in 2008. Until 2014 he worked at Monash University where he commissioned a new nursing school of nursing, prior to moving to Federation University Australia. He has extensive experience in curricula design and innovative teaching approaches with academic interests in emergency care, leadership, teamwork, education and clinical simulation.

Industry Co-Supervisor: Dr Priscilla Robinson

Dr Priscilla Robinson is an active researcher and teacher in the field of public health, particularly research methods and project management, with many years of experience in supervising research theses using a range of methods. She has been actively involved with the development of the project to which this work it attached. She is currently serving on the Boards of Concern Australia and South Gippsland Health Service, and volunteer with RedR (and international Emergency Response organisation). Her full profile, as an Adjunct staff member at Latrobe University, is available at

How to apply:

Prospective candidates should indicate on the & Application for Admission Form that they are applying for the Bass Health Industry scholarship.

The Application for Admission Form (HDR Candidature) is available on the FedUni HDR Apply pageAll applicants should check their eligibility prior to applying.

Applications should include all relevant supporting documentation and FedUni must receive completed referee report forms by the scholarship closing date. As part of their application, prospective Higher Degree by Research applicants are also required to provide:

  • Bass Coast Health Scholarship Application Form
  • Application for HDR Candidature Admission Form
  • Transcripts of all tertiary level academic study
  • Australian citizens must provide a copy of their birth certificate or passport
  • Permanent Residents must provide a copy of their visa and passport
  • International applicants must provide evidence of their student visa when available and passport
  • List of published work with URL links and/or copy of each publication
  • Copy of Honours or Masters thesis abstract
  • Evidence for Australian honours equivalency, if applicable.
  • Any awards or accolades
  • Any other evidence of research performance

Please note: applicants are required to submit a 2500 statement, as outlined on the Scholarship application form. This information will replace the 250 project summary requested on the HDR Application for Admission Form.

Please contact the Graduate Research School at with any questions regarding the application process or conditions of scholarship. Please direct any questions regarding the project to Professor Simon Cooper.