PhD in Indigenous Contemplative Practices

Please note that applications have now closed.

A PhD research opportunity and scholarship were offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers in 2023. The PhD will be based in the Contemplative Studies Centre (CSC) at the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences and supported by scholarship of $50,000 per annum for three years.

  • Project details

    This PhD scholarship aims to support research that focuses on achieving positive health and mental health outcomes for Indigenous peoples through exploring the intersection of spirituality and contemplative practice. The project seeks to support Indigenous culture and wellbeing, with a specific focus on promoting spiritual or contemplative practices (in whatever form they manifest in Indigenous contexts) towards health and wellbeing related outcomes. Note that while we reference mindfulness and meditation, we are very eager to promote and develop Indigenous conceptualisations of contemplative practice.

    Below are some examples of potential thesis topics.

    • Adapting and piloting a mindfulness-based program for Indigenous youth experiencing anxiety or depression.
    • Investigating the effectiveness of traditional Indigenous contemplative practices, such as Dadirri, in promoting resilience and wellbeing among Indigenous women experiencing trauma.
    • Examining the impact of contemplative practices, such as an adapted variation on mindfulness-based relapse prevention, into Indigenous community-based addiction treatment programs.
    • Investigating how to create trauma-informed contemplative practice programs for Indigenous people.
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of promoting or incorporating contemplative practices into Indigenous men's programs that address family violence, such as mindfulness or restorative justice practices.
    • Investigating the impact of incorporating Indigenous language and culture into contemplative practices, such as meditation or yoga, on the wellbeing of Indigenous individuals.
    • Developing and testing the effectiveness of an Indigenous-led mindfulness-based intervention for Indigenous youth involved in the justice system.
    • Investigating the impact of incorporating traditional Indigenous land-based practices, such as harvesting or hunting, as a form of contemplative practice on the wellbeing of Indigenous individuals.

    Candidates were encouraged to identify academic and community connections, as well as to propose potential thesis topics. The project required a clear explanation of how it benefits the Aboriginal community. The scholarship was open to students from social science, science, or medical backgrounds and encourages interdisciplinary work and mixed methods.

  • How will I be supported to undertake a PhD?

    Enrolled via Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the successful candidate will be joining a vibrant cohort of Indigenous researchers with access to domestic and international opportunities and support, including opportunities with the Indigenous Knowledge Institute. They will also be supported through the Melbourne Poche Centre for Indigenous Health PhD programs including bi-annual PhD connect events.

    The Contemplative Studies Centre houses a growing number of academics, professionals, and students, representing, but not limited to, psychology, medicine, philosophy, education, religious studies, anthropology, and sociology. In addition to their core team, the CSC has an academic reference group representing (nearly) all faculties across the University. The incumbent would have the support of as many of these individuals (as well as those on our Advisory Board) as are practical and helpful for them to complete their work.

    Research support grants are also available through the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences for conferences, research support and career development support.

  • How do I submit my Expression of Interest?

    EOIs closed at midday 12.00pm, Friday 9 June 2023.