Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Professor Hannah Keage

Main Campus

Applications Close
28 May 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

Help understand delirium in older adults

If you are passionate about building a career in neuroscience and keen to develop life-impacting knowledge in this field, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within the Behaviour-Brain-Body (BBB) Research Centre, in partnership with Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN). 

Delirium is characterised by acute and fluctuating impairments in cognition (primarily attention) and arousal. There are three subtypes: hypoactive, hyperactive and mixed. It is most common in late life, with around 25–30% of older adults in hospital experiencing delirium. Delirium is associated with increased hospitalisation, mortality, cognitive decline, and incident dementia. Delirium risk centres on brain disintegration but we don’t have enough empirical data on this. 

Our project will look at associations between delirium and functional brain activity (via electroencephalogram) from older adults prior and after an elective procedure. Findings could transform clinical practice, because if we can identify those at high risk of delirium, we can tailor their clinical care and develop prevention strategies. Results will also provide some of the first empirical data that tests neurophysiological theories of delirium subtypes. 

You will join the collegial and dynamic Cognitive Ageing and Impairment Neurosciences Lab, part of the BBB Research Centre. The Centre focuses on real-world contexts and has a considerable multidisciplinary cohort from which you can draw expert mentoring and guidance. Interaction with community, government and industry partners through Centre activities will ensure that you gain exposure to networking opportunities and experiences that will give you a competitive edge in the job market.

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will carry out data collection, processing, analysis and interpretation. Working with a large group of clinicians and academic investigators, you will develop a practical understanding of clinical cognitive neuroscience. 

We will help you to publish in high quality journals and encourage you to attend academic and clinical conferences and workshops. This is a great project if you’re wanting to analyse large neurophysiological datasets in close collaboration with clinical partners.  

You will gain in-demand skills and abilities and hands-on experience that will position you well for a future in industry, government or academia.  

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the BBB Research Centre. We are known for our unique approach to building resilient, healthy behaviours. The BBB Research Centre, based at the University of South Australia, investigates humans through the combined lens of behaviour, brain and body. 

Our research enhances cognitive performance, builds resilient behaviours, and analyses behaviour changes. We combine the lens of psychology (behaviour), neurobiology (brain) and physiology (body) to build resilient behaviours and enhance human function. 

Our team of over 30 experts works collaboratively across behavioural change, fatigue and stress management, decision-making and recovery, to predict, prevent, detect and intervene, all with the aim of optimising human function. 

At BBB we blend pure research with real world contexts to help our community, government and industry partners tackle their thorniest questions and create solutions that support behavioural resilience and promote healthy functioning. 

The enterprising way we engage with our partners pivots on our ability to bring together people with different expertise to solve these big challenges.

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. 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.

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:
  • Hold an Honours degree in Psychology, Neuroscience, Allied Health or a relevant field 
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team and independently
  • Experience in quantitative research methods
Applicants who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Experience in EEG data collection and analysis
  • Experience using R or Matlab or other programming languages
  • Knowledge and experience with computational neuroscience techniques
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Magill campus in the east 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 Tuesday 28 May 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.

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