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Student Opportunities

The Molly Wardaguga Research Centre has multiple  higher degree by research opportunities available.

Yolŋu Country      Photo: Pat Josse

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Where can I study?

Our projects are available at:

  • Darwin (Larrakia Country)

  • Galiwin'ku (Yolŋu Country)

  • Alice Springs - Mpartwe (Arrernte Country)

  • Brisbane - Meeanjin (Turrbal & Yuggera Country)

  • Nowra (Yuin Country)

Available sites for higher degree research students

What can I study?

We are currently seeking passionate Master and PhD Doctoral students who are willing to undertake intellectual adventures and work on complex intercultural health topics. Our students become skilled in using decolonising methodologies; and gain first hand experience working in genuine relationships with community. We offer students a super supportive learning environment with expert mentorship and the chance to make a more equitable World!

We have in-house expertise to mentor students in Indigenous methodology and knowledge, midwifery, nursing, intercultural communication, participatory action research, community development and investment, digital media, public health, health economics, health literacy and education, biostatistics, sociology, anthropology, epidemiology, neonatology, implementation science, medicine, health service redesign and translational research.

We have multiple student opportunities in many of our projects:

To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw

Redesigning maternity services for Yolŋu mothers and babies living on Elcho Island Northern Territory (NT), using Birthing on Country principles and the RISE translational Framework, to reduce preterm birth and improve health outcomes: A prospective, non-randomised, intervention trial.



Our translational research will establish Australia’s exemplar rural, remote and very remote Birthing on Country Services, to make a significant impact on Closing the Gap Target 2: First Nations children are born healthy and strong.


Building On Our Strengths BOOSt

Developing and Evaluating a Birthing On Country Service with integrated Community Hub and Birth Centre.

Yolŋu Country

Photo: Pat Josse

Pandanus Sun Mat

Pandanus Sun Mat- natural fibres & vegetable dye.

Artist: Mavis Warŋgilŋa Ganambarr, Elcho Island Arts. Photo: Pat Josse

NEW PhD Student Opportunity to start Semester 1, 2024

Research & Fellowships (Education & Training)

Project title:

  • To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw



  • Full-time



  • $40,000 a year, for three years ($120,000). See the eligibility criteria and how to apply.

  • Generous relocation allowances (flights, temporary accommodation on arrival)



  • Multiple locations including Darwin/Brisbane/Alice Springs/Sydney


Start time:

  • Between January 5 and March 31 in 2024


  • Develop expertise in decolonising, quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies and approaches for investigating and evaluating First Nations reproductive health.

  • Gain firsthand experience working in genuine relationship with a First Nations community and alongside experienced Yolŋu researchers

  • Contribute to ensuring reproductive health justice and making a more equitable World


About the Opportunity

Our project is setting up and studying Australia’s first ‘Birthing on Country’ very remote, demonstration site in Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. We are working with the Yolŋu community and health service providers, to redesign maternity health services to better meet the needs of Yolŋu women and families. Service redesign will focus on improving midwifery care and making it easier for services to connect and work well together. It includes Yolŋu djäkamirr (Indigenous doula) to support women during pregnancy, childbirth and until the baby turns 2 years old. We are increasing Yolŋu engagement, governance, and control, and developing community reproductive health reports to strengthen awareness of reproductive health. We will evaluate the redesign process, clinical outcomes, woman and family experiences, cost effectiveness, and cost-benefit of the very remote ‘Birthing on Country’ service.

We are currently offering a generous PhD scholarship to a passionate student who is willing to undertake intellectual adventures and work on complex intercultural reproductive health topics.

Our students become skilled in using decolonising, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and gain firsthand experience working in genuine relationship with the community. We offer students a super supportive learning environment with expert Yolŋu mentorship and the chance to contribute towards making a more equitable World!

How to Apply

To submit an expression of interest, please send the following to Dr Sarah Ireland at


A cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant’s suitability (max two pages)

A curriculum vitae, including a list of any peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and relevant work and/or research experience

A brief statement not exceeding 500-words in length that explains why you are interested in this research project/area

How to assess your suitability:

Essential criteria

  • Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident; or a New Zealand Citizen

  • First-Class Honours, Masters by Research, or equivalent from a university, or a discipline (“subject”), ranked in the top 500 globally

  • In the university/discipline (“subject”) ranked in the top 500, the applicant: received a high distinction on an undergraduate honours/postgraduate research project, or graduated in the top 5-10% of their class (or achieved a GPA of more than 85%)


Desirable criteria

  • At least one publication equivalent to the top 25% in the field



The supervisor will invite applicants who pass the expression of interest stage to submit scholarship applications. Please do not submit any applications unless you are invited by the supervisor.


For more information


For further enquiries, please contact Dr Sarah Ireland on mobile 0477 786 243 or email


Read here for more information about research projects available

Are you eligibile?

Domestic students

International students

Scholarships available for Domestic and International students 

Click on Submit an enquiry below

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