Mater Research Doctoral Opportunities

Brisbane, Australia
07 Oct 2016
End of advertisement period
30 Nov 2016
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Mater Research Institute - UQ 

Mater Research is a world-class medical research institute based in South Brisbane, Australia. Mater Research has had a presence at Mater hospitals for many years, first established in 1998, and is an internationally recognised leader in medical research.

Mater Research is a founding partner of the Translational Research Institute (TRI), working together with The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, and the Princess Alexandra Hospital's Centres for Health Research to build a world-class facility supporting medical research and its translation into clinical practice.

Mater Research and The University of Queensland formalised a longstanding relationship to form the Mater Research Institute – The University of Queensland (MRI-UQ), a collaborative alliance between the two leading institutions working together to achieve the best possible research discoveries in health.

The role

Students will be part of the Jackman Neonatal Nursing Research Group, based at Mater Medical Reseach Institute. Doctoral projects will involve developmental follow-up of infants admitted to one of Australia's leading Neonatal Critical Care Units.

Project 1: Social-emotional development in children born very preterm at 4 to 24 months of age

Social-emotional behaviour has received little attention in the past however, its association with mental health, as the leading cause of the Global Burden of Disease in children and adolescents, highlight its importance in childhood surveillance practices. In this cross-sectional cohort study of children born very preterm we will examine the diagnostic validity and utility of tools to identify early childhood social-emotional status as well as examine associated neonatal, family functioning and maternal psychological-social factors. This study is suitable for Honours or MPhil/PhD researchers who are interested in high risk paediatrics.

Project 2: Determining the efficacy of a smartphone app in high risk paediatric surveillance

Very-preterm birth is increasing and a leading cause of long-term developmental morbidity. Surveillance programs can contribute to reducing this morbidity, but are undermined by parental-disengagement and health-resources factors. Web-based tailored interventions are proving effective in addressing resource issues and modifying health behaviours that lead to improved clinical-outcomes. The aim of this research is to develop and asses a web-based surveillance app to identify and intervene children that are at risk of poor development.

Project 3: Longitudinal study of autism in toddlers born very preterm

Our previous work has demonstrated that children born very preterm are at increased risk of autism. By using the gold-standard diagnostic ADOS-G, we found a lower incidence of autism in children born at

Project 4: Language skills, parental interaction and brain development in children born preterm

There is a recognised gap in the current literature with a significant paucity in our understanding of the early language development from birth through to toddler-hood in children born preterm, despite language development prior to 12 months of age being critical for later language outcomes. This study aims to explore the relationship between parent-child interaction, pre-linguistic skills and brain development in premature children and the relationship with long-term speech and language development. This study is suitable for Honours or MPhil/PhD researchers who are interested in high risk paediatrics.

The person

Prospective applicants must meet the following entry requirements:

  1. Applicants should possess a degree, concentrated in a healthcare-related field
  2. Applicants should be able to demonstrate the ability to understand and develop skills in clinical research methodology
  3. Applicants should have excellent scientific writing skills and the ability to work effectively within a multidisciplinary research team.

Careful consideration will be given to letters of recommendation from faculty members or research mentors who have close first-hand knowledge of the applicant's academic and research abilities.


A place in this group is contingent upon the applicant successfully attaining an external scholarship (the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA), or equivalent, valued at $26,288 per annum)  APA recipients are eligible to apply for the MRI-UQ top-up scholarship scheme worth an additional $5,000 per annum.  Scholarships are tax exempt for Australian citizens and residents.  University fees apply to overseas candidates.


Further information concerning the scope, qualifications, scholarship and other details can be obtained from Prof Margo Pritchard Group Leader: Jackman Neonatal Nursing Research Group via e-mail: Please include "Interested in Doctoral Studies" in the e-mail subject line along with your query, recent curriculum vitae, and a brief statement of your research experience and interests.

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