PhD Opportunity - History and implications of privatisation and corporatisation in Australian health care

PhD Opportunity – up to $44,000 per annum

History and implications of privatisation and corporatisation in Australian health care

The Centre for Health Policy and the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at The University of Melbourne invites applications for a PhD scholar to lead a stipend-funded research project. There are several broad aims of the project, as such there is scope for the successful candidate to shape or weight the exact focus across the following domains:

  1. To conduct a systematic review of the international evidence-base underpinning the role and impact of privatisation and corporatisation in health care systems, summarizing evidence for positive outcomes versus adverse outcomes ranging across safety, efficiency, affordability, equity (of access), innovation, etc that occurs, and the circumstances under which outcomes may be considered at odds with the best interests of patients, the healthcare workforce, and the broader community. Also included will be an articulation of the causative links (incentive structures, monopolisation etc).
  2. To construct a historical (past 2-3 decades) map of the changing landscape of the Australian healthcare sector with respect to, for example: private equity investment; corporatisation and amalgamation; foreign investment and ownership, public private partnerships, etc.
  3. Using select Australian historical and/or current exemplars, conduct quantitative analyses to examine positive outcomes and/or adverse outcomes relating to safety, efficiency, affordability, equity (of access), innovation, etc that have occurred (or are occurring). These analyses will also theorise the likely or plausible causative (or contributary) variables of interest.
  4. Contribute to the development of a policy analytic function to track market developments relating to private equity investment, corporatisation and amalgamation, foreign investment and ownership, etc, and how these map to current structures, including regulatory, and incentive structures, and how changes to structures (e.g. fee for service payment models to value-based payments) might mitigate or exacerbate risks.

This PhD provides a unique opportunity to undertake impactful research in the health economy, and generate results that can influence policy in Australia and have global reach. The project will be principally supervised by Professor Adam Elshaug (Director, Centre for Health Policy) with extensive scope to draw in multi-disciplinary co-supervisors from across the University of Melbourne, Australia, and internationally.

For the successful applicant there is a potential scholarship and a top-up stipend totaling $44,000 per annum for full time students, and which will be available for up to 3.5 years. The successful applicant is expected to apply for a University of Melbourne Graduate Research Scholarship (link below) of $31,200 per annum. If successful they will receive a top-up stipend to a total of $44,000 per annum for up 3.5 years. If their Graduate Research Scholarship application is unsuccessful, they may be offered the $31,200 scholarship for up to 3.5 years.

Scholarship applicants must be eligible for acceptance by the University of Melbourne into a PhD programme, and preferably be residents or citizens of Australia due to COVID-19 limitations. The PhD eligibility process must have commenced at the time of submitting the scholarship application. The offer is conditional upon acceptance into the PhD programme at the University of Melbourne in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. Applicants must have an Honours 1, or have completed a postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline with a GPA of 80% or above in related disciplines.

How to apply: Applications will be considered upon the provision of the following information:

  • Your CV (3 pages maximum);
  • Certified copies of your academic transcripts;
  • A cover letter outlining your relevant qualifications and experience along with a summary of your motivations for and goals in undertaking this PhD. As described above the candidate can shape or weight the exact focus across the domains described above, therefore please outline your preferred focus, emphasising what skills you bring to carry those out, and/or what skills you wish to develop to accomplish your focus.

Applications should be forwarded via email to Professor Adam Elshaug:

If you are not a current student at The University of Melbourne and would like information about how to apply to become a PhD candidate at the University, please visit the Future Students website.

Further enquiries: If you have any questions about the PhD program or the application process please email Prof Elshaug:

Closing date*: 7 October 2021 11:55 PM AUS Eastern Standard Time

* If position is not filled in Oct 7 closing round, the offer will roll over to the next round