Digital communication and work stress in universities: a multilevel study

About this scholarship

This is an exciting opportunity for an individual with an interest in psychology, occupational health, management and/or human resource management to work with a leading team of national and international researchers on a project examining digital communication, work stress and well-being in Australian universities. The project is part of a four-part program of work funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery grant that will investigate the impact of the unconstrained growth of online digital technology and 24/7 connectivity, and the best strategies (organisation/ team/ individual) to develop an engaged and productive digital workforce. In addition to assisting university management to attain healthier work environments, the project is likely to have translational importance for other Australian workers.

 The successful applicant will join the Asia Pacific Centre for Work Health and Safety (APC-WHS) which is based at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in Adelaide. The APC-WHS is a recognised World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Occupational Health and has recently merged with the Centre for Workplace Excellence (CWeX) which is based at UniSA’s City West campus. The primary supervisor for the project is Professor Maureen Dollard (Director APC-WHS), supported by a supervisory team that includes Dr Silvia Pignata and Professor Arnold Bakker. The project team have an excellent track record of mentoring early career researchers, assisting in their career development, and sharing authorship. Additional support will be available from a larger group of researchers, as well as fellow students based in the APC-WHS and the CWeX.

 The focus of the project can be modified according to the interests of the successful applicant, based on the following focus areas within the project’s framework:  

 Psychology focus: Ascertaining the impact of email load and work stress on emotional exhaustion, sleep, recovery and work engagement, and identifying factors that may reduce its impact OR using 10-day sleep and diary studies and latent growth modelling to examine positive growth modelling.

 Occupational health or public health focus: Assessing organisational and psychosocial safety climate levels in universities against national benchmarks to determine the extent of problems requiring intervention.

 Human Resource and/or management focus: Investigating university protocols (policies, practices) in relation to email load and determining their impact and relationship to organisational climate OR examining how positive technological developments have outpaced the efforts of organisations to manage their known negative aspects.

 Due to the context and requirements of the project, it is expected that the successful applicant will have an academic background from one of the following areas: psychology, occupational/public health, management or human resource management.


$27,596 per year for 3 years


The scholarship is open to Australian Citizens. Applicants must meet the entry requirements for a research degree program at the University of South Australia.

How to apply and closing date

Apply online

Applications open until filled.

For more information contact Professor Maureen Dollard at