PhD Research Opportunity – What can economic and econometric methods contribute to a better understanding of the determinants and consequences of loneliness and social isolation?


The Centre for Health Economics is an internationally renowned institution that contributes to academic research and public policy in the economics of health and health care.  

Job No.: 605168

Location: Caulfield Campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-5 year fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: $38,373 pa (tax free stipend)

The Opportunity

The Centre for Health Economics at Monash University invites expressions of interest for a PhD scholarship covering all fees and a tax-free stipend:  up to $38,373 per annum for high ranking students. An additional $10,000 for research or teaching assistance is also available. The PhD research opportunity will commence in July 2020 and aims to provide new insights into the dynamics of loneliness and social isolation, which are prevalent across the life course, and whether and how these are affected by economic factors. Using a variety of longitudinal surveys and modern econometric techniques, this research opportunity will produce policy-relevant advice by investigating the economic determinants and consequences of loneliness and social isolation, and exploring potential policy interventions.

Centre for Health Economics Monash University

The Centre for Health Economics is an internationally renowned institution that contributes to academic research and public policy in the economics of health and health care.  As a student in the centre you will be part of a team of academics and researchers at the cutting-edge of important international research, using the latest methods. We offer excellent research facilities including a dedicated student study space, high quality computing facilities, and frequent seminars. Monash is one of the top 100 universities in the world, ranked top in health economics in the Asia Pacific. The Business School contains both a leading Economics Department and a distinct Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics with an international reputation in theoretical and applied econometrics. 

The Person

The project would suit someone with a strong economic and quantitative background (e.g. economics, econometrics, statistics), and with an interest in applying these skills to provide new insights into loneliness and social isolation. These are major public health, social, and economic issues, which have been found to have adverse consequences on health outcomes. Applicants must have an excellent academic track record with a first-class honours degree or master’s degree (with research component) in a relevant quantitative field (e.g. economics, econometrics, statistics).

Only domestic applicants are eligible for a July 2020 commencement date (Australian citizens and permanent residents, and NZ citizens). International students interested in a later commencement date of February 2021 will also be considered.


Under the supervision of Professor Michael Shields and Dr Claryn Kung, and working within the International Network on the Economics of Mental Wellbeing, the project will provide a greater understanding into the dynamics of loneliness and social isolation, and the extent to which economic factors from childhood through to later life play a role in these problems. There is a wide scope of projects possible but the application of econometric methods to large and complex longitudinal surveys will be an important component of the research. 

As part of the PhD program, the candidate will undergo rigorous training in advanced health economics and related studies. There are further opportunities for conference travel and the potential for a research visit to one of our international partner institutions.

Expression of interest

Interested candidates should send an expression of interest to as early as possible (deadline is listed below). In your expression of interest please include your CV (with details of two referees), a copy of your academic transcripts, and a cover letter that outlines your research skills, experience and why this PhD opportunity interests you. Those applicants who pass the expression of interest stage will be invited to submit a full scholarship application before the scholarship closing date.

Further enquiries

Further information on our PhD program can be found here.

If you have any questions about the research project, the PhD Program or the application process please contact

EOI Deadlines

Domestic -5 May 2020 (for commencement July 2020)

International – 20 September 2020 (for commencement February 2021)

Closing date

Tuesday 5 May 2020 11:55 pm AEST

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