PhD Scholarship in Ethical, Social and Regulatory Issues in Advanced Prenatal Testing
Monash University

PhD Scholarship in Ethical, Social and Regulatory Issues in Advanced Prenatal Testing

Job No.: 610560

Location: Clayton campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-year and 3-month Fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: The successful applicant will receive a Faculty of Arts Research Living Allowance, currently valued at $29, 000 per annum 2020 full-time rate (tax-free stipend), indexed plus allowances as per RTP stipend scholarship conditions at: For an international awardee, the Faculty will also provide a tuition fee scholarship and Single Overseas Health Cover (OSHC)

The Opportunity

Monash University Arts Graduate Research is funding a PhD scholarship aligned with a research project on the ethical, social and regulatory aspects of advanced non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to improve the patient experience and provision of it. Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) technology has transformed prenatal screening and the diagnosis of fetal chromosomal abnormalities in Australia. This project integrates empirical data about the patient and clinician experience of NIPT in Australia with rigorous ethical and regulatory analysis to generate recommendations and guidelines for the current and future use and development of NIPT.

The scholarship is funded by Monash University as part of a Linkage Project funded by the Australian Research Council. The multi-disciplinary research team includes two bioethicists, a scholar of health law pertaining to reproduction, as well as Partner investigators with extensive industry, clinical and scientific research experience. This project partners with Victorian Clinical Genetic Services and Illumina Asia-Pacific to address significant ethical, social and regulatory issues that have emerged alongside the expanded use of NIPT. The PhD scholarship provides an opportunity for a student who is interested in the ethics of reproductive technologies to undertake Doctoral research alongside leaders in the field, as part of a project that integrates both theoretical and empirical bioethics and bridges between academic expertise and leading clinical and industry partners.

The successful applicant will work with the research team on a topic that explores the ethics of genome-wide screening for foetal abnormalities, which will considerably expand the number of conditions that can be detected and increase the complexity of pre- and post-test counselling. Within this broad area, the student will devise their own topic and develop it in consultation with the research team. The student will be a member of the research team and will contribute to the development of research outputs, including, where relevant, to public presentations and published outputs. The details of the PhD research are flexible and responsive to the successful applicant’s expertise and interests.

Undertaking a PhD as part of a larger project has several advantages. First, the successful candidate will be integrated into an already successful research agenda on an issue of public significance that has been funded by the Australian Research Council. Second, the candidate will benefit from expert supervision from research leaders in their respective fields. The candidate will also benefit from having their work featured in outcomes from the research, which could include co-authored publications (where the candidate’s contributions will be recognized through co-authorship) and professional and public presentations.

Monash University is the largest university in Australia and regularly ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide. It has six globally networked campuses and international alliances in Europe and Asia. The applicant will be based at the Clayton campus in Melbourne. For more information about Monash University and the Monash Bioethics Centre please refer to the following link:

Candidate Requirements

The successful applicant will have an excellent academic track record in Bioethics, Philosophy or another relevant discipline. The successful candidate will ideally have some experience of research methods in one or more of the following areas: qualitative research, survey research, document-based research, digital research techniques. Knowledge of human genetics will be useful, but is not required.

Applicants will be considered provided that they fulfil the criteria for PhD admission at Monash University. Details of eligibility requirements to undertake a PhD in the Faculty of Arts are available at

Candidates will be required to meet Monash admission requirements which include English-language proficiency skills. Scholarship holders must be enrolled full time and on campus.

Successful applicants will be expected to enrol by 31 March 2021. However, there may be some flexibility as to the date of commencement.

Please note: applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.


Professor Catherine Mills,

Submit an Expression of Interest

To apply, an EOI must be sent, in the form of a single pdf attachment to an email to Kinda Say, Senior Graduate Research Administrator, Faculty of Arts, at the following e-mail address State “EOI [your name] - PhD Scholarship in Bioethics, NIPT” in the subject heading of the email.

It is important that you contact the Project Lead, Professor Catherine Mills prior to submission of the EOI to discuss the project.

EOIs shall comprise:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant's suitability
  • A brief research proposal not exceeding 750 words in length that fits within the broad project aims and objectives, and demonstrates some understanding of the area of research
  • A curriculum vitae, including a list of any published works, conference presentations and relevant work experience
  • A full statement of academic record, supported by electronic copies of relevant certified documentation
  • Contact details of two academic referees

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by video call. The interviews will be conducted in English.

Closing Date

Friday 18 September 2020, 11:55 pm AEST


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