PhD Scholar in Medicine

Brisbane, South East Queensland, Australia
07 Mar 2017
End of advertisement period
31 May 2017
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

The Faculty of Medicine is a leading provider of medical education and medical research in Queensland, with the country's largest medical program. The four year graduate entry medical program offers an integrated, case-based curriculum including early clinical experiences. The School is a diverse enterprise operating over multiple sites, with Queensland Health and private health service providers as major partners. Geographically, the School extends throughout Queensland with major sites in Brisbane, the outer metropolitan areas, and a number of rural and remote area facilities throughout the rest of the state. The UQ medical degree is also delivered overseas in Brunei and the United States of America, emphasising the global nature of the School.

The Mater Research Institute-UQ

Mater Research Institute-UQ (MRI-UQ) is a world class institute committed to academic research and its translation into clinical care for the benefit of all. MRI-UQ is an alliance between Mater Research and UQ, providing considerable strategic and operational benefits to both parties. Mater Research brings to the alliance considerable clinical collaboration opportunites and UQ brings all its expertise as a research, education and teaching. MRI-UQ has more than 300 research staff, post graduate students and clinical researchers. There are currently 70 students undertaking a PhD, MPhil or Honours program.  The project supervisors are Prof Vicki Flenady, known widely as an international and national perinatal epidemiologist and is the Director of the recently established Stillbirth CRE.  Prof Sailesh Kumar, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist  based at the Mater Hospital Campus in South Brisbane, Queensland and is a CRE principle investigator. The Mater Mothers' Hospital in Brisbane is the largest maternity hospital in Australia with over 10,000 births each year.

The NHMRC Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence (Stillbirth CRE)

The overarching purpose of the Stillbirth CRE is to generate new knowledge that will lead to a reduction in the stillbirth rate and improve quality of care after stillbirth. With 6 stillbirths occurring in Australia every day (and over 7000 worldwide) and with major long-lasting psychological, special and financial burden to families this is an urgent issue. Many of these deaths are potentially avoidable with improved clinical care. The Stillbirth CRE is working closely with researchers, maternity care providers, parents and the community across a priority driven research program which has a major fiocus on implementing high quality research into clinical practice and community awareness. While are focusing on Australia with strong links internationally through the International Stillbirth Alliance, the CRE will have an impact internationally.

The role

A PhD opportunity is available for a student with an Honours/Masters degree in a science related field to join the Stillbirth Research Group at the MRI-UQ. The successful candidate will be enrolled in a higher degree (PhD) by research at the University of Queensland and carry out a research project focusing on causes of death in ~1000 stillbirths undergoing comprehensive investigation and to determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and likelihood ratios for the nationally recommended stillbirth investigation protocol and its individual tests.  A Cochrane systematic review will be undertaken to summarise the world literature on diagnostic test value for stillbirths.

The project

An exciting opportunity exists for a student interested in pursuing a PhD in the area of reducing adverse pregnancy outcome, with a focus on stillbirth.  This research group aims to undertake a detailed analysis of the causes of stillbirth and the diagnostic yield from comprehensive investigation through a multicentre collaborative network across 27 hospitals which will be incorporated into a proposed systematic review and meta-analysis of diagnostic tests for causes of stillbirth.  The goal of our research is to establish robust data on causes of stillbirth in Australia and to develop an evidenced based approach to investigation of stillbirth to inform best practice guidelines and educational programs for clinicians internationally.  The student will join the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence at the MRI-UQ.  This group is based at our South Brisbane Campus and links with researchers situated at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) located at Woolloongabba, Brisbane.  

The person

Applicants must comply with the relevant entry requirements:
a) Applicants should possess a Bachelor (H1 or H2A) with honours or a Masters Degree majoring in a science related field and be eligible for a competitive living allowance scholarship (e.g. APA) to support full-time study.
b) Applicants must have a background in obstetrics/perinatology and/or clinical epidemiology

  1. c) Applicants must have the ability to develop skills in general research, methodology and statistics.
  2. d) Applicants must have excellent writing abilities, and work effectively within a multidisciplinary and international research team.
  3. e) Applicants must be able to enrol full-time in the PhD program.


A place in this group is contingent upon the applicant successfully attaining an external scholarship (the APA, or equivalent, valued at $26,682 per annum).  APA recipients are eligible to apply for the Mater Research generous top-up scholarship schemes worth an additional $9,000 per annum.  Scholarships are tax exempt for Australian citizens and residents.  University fees may apply to international candidates.

All applicants must supply a cover letter explaining your interest in and suitability to undertake research in this area, CV, and copies of Academic Transcripts.


Further information can be obtained by emailing Assoc Prof Vicki Flenady:   or Prof Sailesh Kumar: Visit our UQ Graduate School website for full terms and conditions at

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