The Clifford PHD Scholarship

This Scholarship supported by the generosity of Leigh and Sue Clifford, is offered as a top-up scholarship to attract and support the best and brightest clinical health professionals to undertake postgraduate research training at the Melbourne Children’s Campus to develop their career as a clinical researcher.

The scholarships are offered as a “top-up” to the best ranked PhD students in this category whom are undertaking study at the Melbourne Children’s Campus in a new year.

Each scholarship is offered at $25,000 per annum to top-up a competitive PhD multi-year, primary scholarship (e.g. APA, MRS, NHMRC, MCRI) and is renewable until the conclusion of the third year of candidature, subject to an annual review of research progress. Graduate students enrolled prior to the year of scholarship are eligible for award, however, the scholarship will not apply retrospectively and will only be funded until the conclusion of the third year of full-time candidature.

The number of top-up scholarships offered may vary from year to year depending on available funding, but normally at least one scholarship will be awarded each year, with no more than 4 current scholarships recipients in any given year.


  • Applicants must enroll in the PhD or DMedSc through the Department of Paediatrics and been awarded a competitive scholarship such as APA, NHMRC, MCRI, University of Melbourne Prestigious Scholarship or other comparable scholarship.
  • Scholarship funding of $25,000 p.a. is provided to support the research activity of the student, and may be drawn down as a living allowance (payable directly to the recipient) and/or utilised to support travel and direct research costs.
  • The living allowance paid from the Clifford Scholarship may be adjusted to accommodate rules of the primary award scheme.  Most award conditions do not allow recipients to receive an additional living allowance in excess of 75% of the value of the living allowance of the primary award. For example:
    • The APA Scholarship provides a living allowance of $25,392 per annum (2014 rate).  Clifford Scholarship recipients may then only opt to receive a maximum top-up living allowance of $19,044 per annum (based on the APA 2014 rate).
    • Recipients of NHMRC Clinical Research Postgraduate Scholarship (Medical Stipend) may usually choose to receive the entire amount as a living allowance as this will normally be less than 75% of the Medical Stipend (2014 rate).
  • Payment of living allowances are administered by the University of Melbourne Scholarship Office and payments are made fortnightly into the recipient's bank account.
  • Funds retained for use for travel and direct research costs will be administered by the Department of Paediatrics and will be accessible by the recipient upon request and presentation of appropriate receipts/invoices.  Funds not expended within the period of candidature will be returned to the Scholarship funding pool.
  • Recipients will be required to present an additional bound copy of their final thesis (cost to be funded from within the scholarship allocation) to the scholarship donors.
  • No leave or additional benefits are associated with the Clifford Scholarship. Most primary scholarships offer leave benefits, a relocation allowance and thesis binding payment.
  • Clifford Scholarship recipients will be associated with Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) for the duration of their candidature funding.  Successful applicants will be expected to participate in MCRI activities and will be required to provide regular progress reports. Progress will be monitored by the Melbourne Children’s Campus Graduate Research Degree Committee.
  • Recipients will be expected to acknowledge the support of the scholarship and their association with MCRI (long side their UoM student candidature) in any presentation of their research work, particularly at their submission seminar and in their thesis.


Applicants must:

  • be a graduate in the fields of medicine, surgery, nursing or allied health.
  • have a research or clinical connection at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), with research work being conducted on the Melbourne Children’s Campus.
  • be a domestic student currently enrolled full-time or due to commence full-time enrolment in a PhD or DMedSc no later than 30th November of the year in which the scholarship application is submitted.
  • have applied for a competitive peer-reviewed scholarship (e.g. APA, MRS, NHMRC) or equivalent competitive scholarship from MCRI or other funding body.


  • All applicants for the Melbourne Children’s Campus Postgraduate Health Research Scholarships who meet the eligibility requirements for the Clifford Scholarship will be automatically considered.  No separate application is required.
  • The Melbourne Children’s Campus Postgraduate Health Research Scholarship Selection Committee will advise the Clifford Scholarship Selection Committee of eligible applicants.
  • The Clifford Scholarship Selection Committee will comprise the Head of the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics, the Director of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and a representative of the Melbourne Children’s Campus Graduate Research Degree Committee (with consideration given to gender equity).
  • Applications will be ranked in accordance with the following principles:
    1. Ranked score calculated by the Melbourne Children’s Postgraduate Health Research Scholarship Selection Committee*
    2. Additional weighting will be given to applicants who are recipients of a NHMRC Clinical Research Postgraduate Scholarship.
    3. Preference will be given to candidates whose field of research is deemed to best align with the strategic priorities of the Melbourne Children’s Campus.
    4. The committee may invite applicants to attend an interview in order to further elucidate item (3).


  • All applicants will be advised the outcome of their application for the Clifford Scholarships in writing (by email) within 4 weeks of the advice of the award of the Melbourne Children’s Campus Postgraduate Health Research Scholarships.
  • Applicants must commence the Clifford Scholarship by 30th November in the year of award.
  • Awardees unable to take up the scholarship by 30th November will need to reapply in order to be considered for subsequent years.

*The Melbourne Children’s Campus Postgraduate Health Research Scholarship Selection Committee comprises of six or more senior academic staff members of the MCRI, RCH and University of Melbourne, with representatives from each of the fields of laboratory, clinical and public health research.

Ranked scores are calculated on the basis of information provided in the application: (i) track record and (ii) research proposal.  Each committee member will independently score the application, and a ranked score will be determined by averaging these scores.


For further information on the MCRI Postgraduate Health Research Scholarship can be obtained by contacting the MCRI Student Administrator

T: +61 3 8341 6296