If you’re an undergraduate or Honours student Yurlurrinthi Research Scholarship is a great way to explore a future career in research.

Yurlurrinthi Research Scholarships provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students the opportunity to gain research experience by working with UniSA researchers on short-term (four to eight-week) projects.

Yurlurrinthi is the Kaurna word for ‘becoming visible’ and this placement will provide you the opportunity to gain insight and experience in research and the conduct of research in an area of interest; meet UniSA researchers and fellow students, to grow your professional network; and ultimately, gauge your appetite to pursue a degree in research in the future.

Fourteen scholarships are available this year, with places for two to three students per project. The opportunity is open to Aboriginal students from all disciplines and universities, and research projects will be undertaken across the University calendar and vacation periods through early 2022.

Find out more about the projects available and application details below.

Application closing date: THIS SCHEME IS ON HOLD FOR 2022


How to apply

Explore Yurlurrinthi Research Scholarships

  • Strong lives through healthy daily activities: exploring activity preferences and their enablers and barriers in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: This project is part of a larger study investigating children’s lifestyles, particularly how they spend their time in physical activities (e.g., sport), sedentary behaviours (e.g., art, screen time) and sleep. We invite two students to work alongside our team of indigenous and non-indigenous researchers to explore open-ended responses of >1000 parents from Australia’s Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children about how Indigenous children like to spend their time. We will also analyse text responses about enablers and barriers for children’s participation in these activities. The findings will help inform which kind of support and investment could facilitate children’s access to, and participation in, the activities they value and enjoy.

    Contact person: Dr Dot Dumuid


    Apply now

  • Project The development of aphasia-friendly symbols suitable for Aboriginal Australians to facilitate clinical yarning after stroke minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: Aphasia is caused by damage to the language centres of the brain usually after stroke. It affects the ability to understand and use language, numbers, and gestures. One-third of stroke survivors have aphasia.  Aphasia-friendly symbols are used to facilitate increased understanding of language for many people with aphasia.   Aboriginal Australians experience stroke up to 3 times more frequently than non- Aboriginal people and a large group have aphasia. This project presents a unique opportunity to consult and work with Aboriginal Australian people with aphasia, co-workers, and Elders to design a new set of basic communication symbols from scratch, that are suitable to Aboriginal languages. These symbols can be used by speech pathologists and other allied health professionals to facilitate clinical yarning (conversation) when working with Aboriginal Australians with aphasia.

    Contact person: Professor Maria Kambanaros


    Apply now

  • How Do We Connect? An exploration of Aboriginal children’s digital and non-digital interactions. minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: This co-learning project involves a group of Aboriginal student researchers working with members of a research team which is currently investigating children’s experiences of interactions with significant others (ARC DP 210101226). Academic researchers are A/Prof Sue Nichols, Dr Hannah Soong and Dr Nadia Selim. Prof Irabinna Lester Rigney is an advisor to the project. This project, for which ethics approval has been gained, has a focus on the role of digital tools, and how these interact with non-digital forms of communication and expression.

    The ‘How Do We Connect’ project uses a game-based kit to engage primary school children in discussing how they interact with family, friends, teachers and others using digital apps. The materials have been developed to be culturally inclusive. However, this approach may not be the most relevant or appropriate to use with Aboriginal children, or with some Aboriginal children. Or, it may be that elements of how it is used (e.g. individual vs in peer groups or families) should be changed. The student researchers will have a significant role in determining whether this approach is used as is, changed, or rejected for an alternative. If the latter is decided, the project will move into a design phase.

    The Aboriginal student researchers will be invited to:
    1) critically review the current version of HDWC and consider whether changes could make it more culturally appropriate and engaging for Aboriginal children and youth
    2) participate in a co-design activity to create a revised version of HDYC and/or a revised protocol for its implementation
    3) pilot the revised version with a small number of Aboriginal primary-school aged children.

    As an exploratory and co-learning project, the outcomes cannot be fully determined in advance. However, we hope to achieve the following:

    • Aboriginal student researchers will grow in their understanding of traditional academic approaches to research whilst contributing to the development of culturally appropriate research practices, particularly in relation to working with Aboriginal children
    • Through implementing a small-scale pilot study, the team will gain insights into Aboriginal children’s experiences of connecting in digital and non-digital ways.
    • Aboriginal student researchers will be involved in determining the most appropriate ways of sharing what they have learned with their peers, cultural communities and the university community.
    •  The student researchers will acquire knowledge and skills in research, including working with children as participants, collecting and analysing data, and communication to diverse audiences.
    •  The academic researchers will gain insights into Aboriginal perspectives on culturally appropriate ways of researching, and will learn with humility how to adapt their knowledge and practices to respectfully working with Aboriginal young people as co-researchers

    Contact person: A/Prof Sue Nichols


    Apply now

  • Examining the potential health benefits of bush foods minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: This project will assess the bioactivities of specialised compounds in bush food plants which may have actions relevant to managing or preventing chronic conditions such as diabetes.
    This project will form part of collaborative projects between UniSA and Aboriginal groups in Queensland and South Australia to examine the potential health benefits of their food. These are community led and driven projects, with the emphasis of both projects being understanding the contribution that Aboriginal food and food practices can make to wellbeing for Aboriginal people.

    The first project was initiated by the Aboriginal Women’s Yarning Circle that meets regularly at the Gabmididi Manoo Children and Family Centre in the city of Whyalla, regional SA (Barngarla country). Gabmididi Manoo (Barngarla meaning "Learning Together") focuses on supporting Aboriginal families with young children to provide the best possible start in life. A project steering group has been formed comprising local Aboriginal community members in the Yarning Circle, representatives from the Children and Family Centre and the adjoining Primary school, and health researchers from the University of South Australia (led by Co-chief investigator Mr Michael Watkins). The Aboriginal Women’s Yarning Circle have identified the need for a bush foods program at the Centre, including further development of a bush food garden and the various activities it can support. This includes cultural and cooking activities incorporating bush foods and nutrition workshops for school children, pre-school children and families. These workshops will incorporate information about bush foods. Selected locally grown bush foods used in cooking activities including quandong (Santalum acuminatum) will be collected in accordance local Cultural Protocols. While some information on the nutritional properties of these plant species is available in the literature, there is currently a lack of locally relevant and location-specific information about the nutritional profiles and potential health benefits of these plant foods (e.g. antioxidant activities). The laboratory testing conducted in this project will provide this information.

    The second project is the Kuuku I’yu Plants Project which is a collaborative project between Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation and researchers at the University of South Australia. This project has been initiated and driven by the Corporation which represents traditional owner families of the Kuuku I’yu homelands located in central Cape York Peninsula, Queensland and which manages a Federally-funded Indigenous Protected Area. For Aboriginal communities the lack of access to fresh, nutritious and affordable food can be a major barrier to good health, particularly in remote areas. The vision the project is to expand the role that bush food plants and connection to country could play in managing and slowing the progression and complications of chronic conditions including diabetes for Aboriginal peoples – drawing on a variety of bush foods that are locally available and culturally appropriate. The project is underpinned by a jointly developed Collaborative Research Agreement to ensure protection of Aboriginal knowledge and Intellectual property, shared ownership of project findings and co-authorship on outputs such as publications.

    In this Yurlurrinthi Research Scholarship project, selected bush food plants will be extracted and tested for antioxidant activity and effects on enzymes that are relevant to the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Some initial analysis of the antioxidant components in the plant extracts will also be undertaken. Project findings will be shared with the relevant Aboriginal community collaborators.

    Students will also get an opportunity to visit the Gabmididi Manoo bush food garden project in Whyalla and to share the findings of their laboratory work on the food plants from this region. The project will aim to give students skills and experience in a range of laboratory techniques that are used for analysing food and medicinal plants. Students will be co-investigators in the project. In accordance with University Projects with external partners, students will be asked to sign a standard UniSA Student Participation Agreement. As co-investigators, students will be co-authors on any publications incorporating their research.

    Contact person: Dr Susan Semple , Dr Permal Deo and Mr Michael Watkins 


    Apply now

  • Exploring Aboriginal cultural heritage and technology: mixed reality storytelling across the GLAM and tourism sectors minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: This project explores the potential of Mixed Reality (MR) experiences in Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) capacities through three modes of Aboriginal cultural heritage representation. The goal is to enable Aboriginal people to tell their own stories, and to immerse people in stories and places of cultural significance regardless of time and location. The project is intended to have mutual benefit for Aboriginal Peoples and GLAM repositories. This project’s focus is to be led by Aboriginal stakeholders and partners, in a co-design capacity, to ascertain the most culturally ethical and suitable technological methods and strategies to disseminate cultural heritage knowledges for access by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.

    The preliminary aim of the project combines storytelling (Approach 1), with content capture (Approach 2) and telepresence (Approach 3) to enable people to be virtually transported to locations of cultural significance and to be immersed in the stories told personally by Aboriginal Peoples. This method will be dynamic in its conception, as Aboriginal Elders and participant community members will be integral in the co-design of the project, as it is essential that local Aboriginal people tell their own stories in a way that gives them control over their key cultural artefacts and access to real-world locations. The project will also provide training to Aboriginal Peoples so that they can create their own immersive storytelling experiences in the future.

    Approach #1: Through the use of AR storytelling, this approach will explore important cultural artefacts already in the public domain (GLAM collections) in context and on Country. The storyteller may be visualised (augmented), audio recorded, and/or transcribed in the AR app which can then be disseminated in place and remotely. The student will choose their own story node (tourism or GLAM) and will work with the team to facilitate the story they want to tell and the input of relevant Aboriginal Peoples. This approach will be adopted based on UniSA’s Aboriginal Engagement Strategy and adhere to the documented Ethics Protocols and IP requirements required by the University. The project approach is an agreed collaboration between SAM and UniSA. Lead CI: Dr Ben Stubbs.

    Approach #2: Will involve the re-representation of Country using digital and manual means. This method will be informed through employment of, and in accordance with, UniSA’s ethical requirements of research and engagement with Aboriginal communities. By drawing, drone mapping, laser scanning, 3D graphics, animation and gamification, this approach allows visual and interactive engagement with place, and holistic understandings of the cultural heritage of an artefact and its relation to Country. The technical correlation of artefact to place will be explored through the curation of MR as a multimodal representation, that is directly led by Aboriginal community representatives. The artefact may be 3D modelled, interpreted and documented for virtual and augmented engagement, if deemed appropriate and of benefit as a method to relate and disseminate artefacts to Country, outside the physical context of GLAM cultural institutions by Aboriginal co-design partners. Lead CI: Dr Julie Nichols.

    Approach #3: By considering the importance of tourism, both physical and virtual, this approach will develop a representation of physical space, or place on Country (campfire, Welcome to Country experience, walking tour) and their interactions (questions, conversations) with the tour guide through MR media. Lead CI: Professor Mark Billinghurst.

    One student per approach (3 total) will be invited to investigate their cultural heritage experiences and interests applied to each of these approaches. They will be mentored in the relevant storytelling technologies to achieve meaningful outputs that engage with these three modes of mixed reality storytelling. Students will prioritise their preferred method to best tailor a story of their cultural heritage. Outcomes will be celebrated through public dissemination, where appropriate, of the apps and experiences and networked through our GLAM and tourism partners. IP and authorship associated with any contributions from Aboriginal students and community materials will adhere to UniSA’s policies around the handling of sensitive cultural heritage data.

    Contact person: Dr Julie Nichols



    Apply now

  • Aboriginal Knowledge, IP and Open Access minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: Irene Watson is currently one of six other CIs working on ARC DP200101578 Producing, managing and owning knowledge in the 21st century university. It is proposed that this UniSA Aboriginal Research project will complement and articulate from an Aboriginal ontological and epistemological stand point Aboriginal knowledge, story and respectful engagement, in the IP and OA space. The development of an Aboriginal narrative will complement and form an important part of the ARC Project, that is, to translate the project for the benefit of First Nations by delivering a series of videos and guidebooks. This project will develop a narrative and the visual re-presentation of an Aboriginal Knowledges approach. Anticipating an approach that would communicate best practice in the protection of Aboriginal knowledges as being developed by the ARC project. UniSA collaboration includes Jill Dorian, Jaye Early and Aboriginal research scholarship grantees.

    Contact person: Professor Irene Watson


    Apply now

  • Gardening as a public health intervention for First Nations communities minus-thick plus-thick

    Project summary: The UniSA Department of Rural Health are seeking to support Aboriginal students to undertake a scoping review on the title of: Gardening as a public health intervention for First Nations communities.

    This research activity fits under a broader ‘bush foods’ project and research work that Michael Watkins of the UniSA DRH is leading alongside a group of UniSA researchers from the Allied Human and Human Performance and Clinical Health Sciences academic units, where there is currently a range of project-based and research activity occurring. The ‘bush foods’ project is centred around the Aboriginal Women’s Yarning Group who meet at Gabmididi Manoo Children and Family Centre, Whyalla, SA. This research project will directly align with and build upon the work occurring in this space.

    The students will be primarily supervised by Michael Watkins, research skills support and guidance from Dr Kate Gunn (Senior Research Fellow: UniSA DRH) and administrative support from the UniSA DRH staff.

    Students will be provided with support in undertaking the research activity and publishing the work with clear acknowledgment as leading authors.

    Students can be based at City East campus with opportunity to travel to Whyalla to work directly with Aboriginal Women’s Yarning Group and engage with bush food planting and cooking activities that may be occurring at the time.

    Contact person: Michael Watkins

How to apply

  • Important information minus-thick plus-thick
    • The scholarships are open to enrolled undergraduate Aboriginal students* who, in the current year, are completing the second, third, fourth or Honours year of their program at the time the scholarship commences.
    • A declaration of Aboriginality (Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander descent) from the community will be requested if your application is selected.
    • The scholarship will be paid at the rate of $500 per week for the agreed tenure, from a minimum of four weeks and up to a maximum of eight weeks, across the University calendar and vacation periods.
    • To accommodate the Christmas/New Year closure of 1.5 weeks, the period of tenure may be taken in two blocks of time, subject to approval from supervisory staff.
    • The scholarship is expected to be undertaken on a full-time basis (38-hours per week) for the period of the scholarship. Hours/duration of work are to be agreed upon with your supervisor(s) prior to the acceptance and commencement of your project.
    • Your application will require the support of your proposed project supervisor. If you were previously unknown to the researcher, you are encouraged to submit an additional supporting statement from an academic staff member who can comment on your abilities.
    • Successful applicants cannot defer the scholarship and must take it up during the time nominated.
    • Only one application per student is permitted each year and scholarships are only awarded to undertake research at UniSA.

    *Consistent with common language now in many organisations, this scholarship uses the shorter form reference to ‘Aboriginal students’ but is intended, always, to be inclusive of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

  • How to apply (UniSA students) minus-thick plus-thick

    Open to Aboriginal students.

    Application closing date: This Scheme is on hold for 2022

    1. Look at the research projects available in the list above
    2. Read and follow the application instructions (PDF)
    3. Apply through myScholarships, accessed via your myUniSA student portal.
    4. Complete the application support form (Word) together with your myScholarships application
    5. Submit completed application support form and supporting documentation to research.students@unisa.edu.au

    Have questions about the opportunity, or need support preparing your application, contact Wirringka Student Services to sign up for an upcoming informational session.

  • How to apply (non-UniSA students) minus-thick plus-thick

    Open to Aboriginal students

    Application closing date: This Scheme is on hold for 2022

    1. Look at the research projects available in the list above
    2. Read and follow the application instructions (PDF)
    3. Complete the application form (Word)
    4. Submit completed application form and supporting documentation to research.students@unisa.edu.au
  • Successful applicants minus-thick plus-thick

    As a condition of the scholarship, you are required to write a short Final Report (1 or 2 pages) on the research undertaken and submit it within 2 weeks of completing your scholarship to your supervisor(s), with a copy to the Scholarships and Candidature Team, Student and Academic Services: research.students@unisa.edu.au



2018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), 4-digit Fields of Research.



2018 ARC Engagement and Impact Assessment (EI), Combined Impact – Approach to Impact and Engagement on Assessed



2022 QS Stars Ratings



Ranked #4, 2023 THE Young University Rankings.