PhD Scholarship Opportunity – Improving the management of menopause symptoms in cancer survivorship


Expressions of Interest extended to Friday 18th March 2022

About the Project

Cancer and its treatment can have enduring side-effects affecting the quality of life (QoL) of survivors. Creative solutions are needed to improve access to care and reduce symptom burden. Symptom severity varies considerably between women, and a flexible approach is needed. Stepped-care is an effective and low-cost model for delivery of health interventions of varying intensity. Stepped-care measures the level of need (e.g. symptom severity) and triages patients to a level of care based on their need. Mild symptoms can often be self-managed whilst severe symptoms may need specialist care. Triaging and allocating patients to care matched to their need would result in more efficient use of limited health resources. Stepped-care is suited to managing the long-term symptoms after cancer, including menopause. However, stepped-care uses a clinician-driven approach and with the growing population who are cancer survivors with other long-term symptoms, a new approach to delivery of the stepped-care is needed. We are proposing to develop an online patient-drivenstepped-care service delivery platform for the management of symptoms after cancer. This will be delivered online to increase accessibility.

We will start by developing this new approach for women survivors with menopausal symptoms. Menopause is a common consequence of cancer treatment - affecting up to 40,000 Australian women cancer survivors annually. Menopausal symptoms can have significant impacts on day-to-day living, with flow-on effects on ability to work, financial hardship, social interactions, QoL, other morbidities, and mortality due to reduced adherence to cancer treatment. New developments in self-managed interventions, treatments, and clinical practice guidelines, could address this important health area, but only 17% of women with troublesome symptoms receive effective treatment. With the available evidence for clinically effective management for different symptom severity, this is the ideal group to develop the stepped-care model.

Our team has an exciting PhD opportunity for a multidisciplinary project which aims to develop a health care delivery model for the management of menopausal symptoms in women cancer survivors. The aims of the research are:

1. To develop a patient-driven stepped-care model, using co-design and implementation theories to facilitate later implementation.

2. To assess the feasibility of this model to reduce troublesome menopausal symptoms, improve quality of life, and measure acceptability to patients and clinicians.

3. To develop and pilot test the online stepped-care platform.

Scholarship Benefits

Scholarship benefits include:

A $5000 stipend top-up is available to those who are successful in being awarded Graduate Research Scholarship.


The successful applicant will be supervised by:

The student will join the Psychosocial, Health, and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit based at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne and will work across the Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville and the University’s Parkville Campus.


Applicants should have:

  • Honours or Master’s degree in digital health or psycho-oncology or cancer survivorship or implementation science or related field;
  • High academic marks that would meet eligibility for enrolment in a Research Higher Degree at the University of Melbourne and award of a scholarship.

Preference will be given to those who have:

  • Experience in cancer survivorship, menopause, women’s health, symptom management, and/or stepped-care research.
  • Experience in working with patients and/or clinicians.

This is a Full-Time role.

The scholarship is conditional upon acceptance into a PhD degree at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne. More information on MDHS requirements can be found here .

This opportunity is open to both Australian and international students.

Applications from outside of Victoria also welcome. So, if you are  interested and would be willing to move to Melbourne a later stage (noting that the University of Melbourne requires PhD students to be based in Melbourne for a minimum of 12 months over the course of the PhD) you are also eligible.


Please complete the Expression of Interest Form. Candidates who are shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

Download the EOI Form

Further Enquiries

All Expressions of Interest must be received by Monday 28th February 2022   Extended to Friday 18th March. We encourage submissions prior to this date as submissions will be considered as they are received. If a suitable applicant offered the position, we will update the details on this site. Please send your application to

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Dr Michelle Peate

About the Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit.

The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit is part of the Gynaecology Research Centre, situated at the Royal Women’s Hospital  and the Department of Obstetrics and Gyanecology, University of Melbourne . The emPoWeR Unit aims to conduct ethically sound research that will make a difference, with a focus on the psychological, emotional, and social aspects of reproductive health. The unit has a particular focus on the overall wellbeing of people impacted by gynaecological issues and infertility, and the quality of life factors that arise as a consequence of these conditions. The goal of the unit is to develop tools that can help improve the experience of people facing these sorts of challenges.

More Information

Dr Michelle Peate