Four exciting opportunities to research the future of human rights

A pile of empty test tubes Photo: chuttersnap/Unsplash

The search is on for four new PhD scholars of exceptional quality to work on research projects aligned with the Australian Human Rights Institute.

The UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme is part of UNSW Sydney’s commitment to harness research to solve complex problems and improve the lives of communities in Australia and overseas.

Under the Scientia Scheme, applicants respond to a specific project with an identified supervisory team, and if successful, will receive unique benefits, individualised support and guaranteed funding to reach their personal development goals.

Register your expression of interest here.


Global Health Regulation of Antimicrobial Resistance (UNSW Law and UNSW Medicine)


The World Health Organization called antimicrobial resistance (AMR) a global catastrophe.

In Australian public hospitals, 23% of antibiotics are incorrectly prescribed and 24% are non-compliant with guidelines.

AMR has serious underlying human rights implications concerning healthcare quality and safety; it creates challenges not seen since prior to the development of penicillin.

A Commonwealth Committee recommended improvements to AMR regulation, but these remain under-researched.

This project will include: analysis of regulation to protect the right to antibiotics; interviews with hospital risk managers and lawyers; survey of hospital workers’ understanding of AMR regulation; case studies of avoidable AMR and patients’ rights.


Developing a  Sustainable Global Health Workforce: ­Challenges and Opportunities (UNSW Law and The George Institute)


The shortage of health workers needed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals is over 17 million, the largest shortages being in Asia (6.9 million) and Africa (4.2 million).

Africa contributes to 25% of the global burden of disease with only 3% of the global health workforce. With labour market globalisation, high-income countries actively encourage professional health workers migration from low and middle-income countries to supplement their workforce.

This project explores mechanisms to maintain an equitable distribution of health professionals and the responsibilities of HICs to facilitate the right of citizens in source countries to a reasonable standard of health.


Gender Discrimination in STEMM: Experiences in the Laboratory (UNSW Law, UNSW Business and UNSW Medicine)


Women are under-represented in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, reflecting a serious problem of gender inequality.

Laboratories are the archetypal STEMM workplace but no research has systematically studied how interpersonal and structural lab dynamics contribute to gender disadvantage and discrimination in STEMM careers.

The Scientia scholar will use qualitative research methods such as interviews and participant observation to compare gender dynamics within university-based, fieldwork and industry labs across a range of STEMM disciplines to better understand workplace experiences, opportunities and barriers, for women and men.

Within this scope, the Scientia Scholar will focus on gendered experiences of collaboration, career pathways, and the impact of caring-based career disruptions within lab settings.


The Uber-isation of Care? The Gig-economy, Gender, Migration and Care (UNSW Law, Social Policy Research Centre)


Marketisation, migration and the gig-economy are transforming the provision of care.

Many governments are withdrawing from direct service provision, promoting consumer-driven, home-based alternatives such as nannies, au pairs and personal assistants.

In Australia, temporary migrants with limited employment rights are increasingly providing such services. This project examines the intersection of temporary migration and reduced employment regulation in the context of the gendered work of care.

It investigates how economic changes are transforming care work and the implications of these changes for the rights of care workers and recipients and considers alternative social enterprise models for better protecting carer’s rights.