Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Samuel Chalmers

Main Campus
City East

Applications Close
02 Jun 2024

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$32,500 p.a. (2024 rates) available to domestic applicants only

About this project

Tackle growing concerns about the long-term effects of concussion in sport.

If you are motivated to make a difference in the sports medicine industry and concerned about the long-term impact of concussion injuries, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a project-based PhD within the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), in partnership with the South Australian National Football League and the Adelaide Football Club.

The Women’s South Australian National Football League (SANFLW) and UniSA have already collaboratively developed a best practice pilot injury surveillance program that was used during the 2023 SANFLW regular season. The program highlighted the high rate of concussions (the second most common injury). 

Our new project will build upon this initial work, expanding the current pilot injury surveillance program to include and analyse all season periods (pre, regular, and finals). The program will also be applied to all eight SANFLW clubs to provide greater insight into the true burden of injuries.

We aim to identify the mechanisms of concussion injuries in the SANFLW via game-play analysis and directly compare them to the equivalent men’s competition to explore potential sex-based differences of injury occurrence. We also want to identify risk factors for concussion injuries in players via screening and physical testing methods.

You will join the ARENA research centre, benefiting from support from other research students in similar themes and a community that is actively engaged in advancing the skill set of research members. 

You will be actively involved in both engaging with the industry partner and executing high-quality scientific studies. Your ARENA supervisory team has substantial experience in sport and exercise medicine science and a proven track record in delivering successful projects. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will be expected to help design the studies, review relevant literature, and facilitate the partnership between clubs and the research group. You will also manage all data collection, analyse the data, and lead the communication of results (through journal articles, conference presentations, and reports to the SANFL). 

Data collection will involve gathering results from injury information and movement screening tests. Importantly, this process will offer you a chance to develop your interpersonal skills when working with athletes and clubs.

We will support you to publish research papers in high-ranking scientific journals. Combined with the hands-on experience you will gain through this project, you will be well positioned for employment or further research upon graduation. 

Where you’ll be based

You’ll be based in the ARENA research centre. ARENA investigates the role of exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle activities in improving clinical and health outcomes. Physical, psychological and sports performance in populations is studied across a wide cross-section of society, ranging from children to elite athletes and people with chronic disease.

Our research focus ‘Healthy lives through healthy living’ centres around the grand challenge of tackling the growing epidemic of chronic diseases. We focus on real-world issues and bring bold ideas to create solutions which optimise health, function and wellbeing.

Our mission is to be the leading Australian voice on a global stage by championing research in exercise, nutrition, preventative health and other lifestyle behaviours across the lifespan. In fact, we are well on the way to achieving this – currently ranked in the World Top 50 for Sport Science.

We work with diverse research partners, end-users and our communities to identify and evaluate solutions, and translate these outcomes into products and changes in policy and practice.

Supervisory team

Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $32,500 per annum is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders.  Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $50,291 per annum (2024 rate maximum RTP rate). A fee-offset or waiver for the standard term of the program is also included.  For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to applications from Australian or New Zealand citizens, and Australian permanent residents or permanent humanitarian visa holders. International applicants are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:
  • Prior completion of a Bachelor of Exercise/Sport Science, Bachelor of Physiotherapy, Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology, Bachelor of Human Movement (alongside standard UniSA requirements for a prior research degree that constitutes eligibility for a PhD), or similar program.
Applicant who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Industry experience working with athletic populations.

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate. 

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our City East campus in the heart of Adelaide. 

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer. Extended deferral periods are not available. Applications close on Sunday, 2 June, 2024

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

IMPORTANT: This site is optimised for the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. Note that earlier versions of any browsers mentioned are supported, but likely to demonstrate slower response times.

By choosing to continue, you agree to the privacy policy. Show Privacy Policy

Research and industry

Other projects you may be interested in

Latest news


If you wish to develop your own project please review our guidelines and contact the Graduate Research Admissions team if you have any questions. 

Contact us