PhD Projects

We’re taking applications for Digital Health PhD projects commencing in 2022

Projects are offered from leading clinicians and data scientists, in areas such as health informatics, machine learning, process mining and electronic medical records.

You’ll be enrolled through either the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (MDHS), or the School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS) in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology.

You’ll have access to supervisors, advisors and student researchers across both Schools, as well as our professional and industry networks, Journal Club and seminars.  We are not restricted to the specific projects detailed and welcome project ideas from students provided they are compatible with our  research themes. Digital disruption has finally arrived in health care, making this an exciting and rewarding time to embark on your PhD in digital health.

Research pillars

The Health Informatics and Data Science group focuses on leveraging advances in health informatics and machine learning to navigate through the wealth of patient data in electronic medical records to develop computational tools to better inform and support patient treatment and management. Our research group seeks to leverage the power of routinely collected clinical data to improve the provision of healthcare services. We apply process mining techniques to electronic medical record data to better understand clinical processes and identify the opportunities to improve them and generate a positive impact in patient outcomes.

The Validitron group seeks to develop digitally enabled models of care and to generate evidence for their effectiveness. A key ingredient in translating digital health innovation to practice is an agile process supported by digital infrastructure. This research focus requires diverse expertise and skills sets, including psychology, computer/information science, sociology, ethics, organisational behaviour, user-centred design, etc.

Meet our supervisors

If you are interested in a specific project or working with a particular supervisor, please email the supervisor directly.

Professor Wendy Chapman is the MDHS Associate Dean of Digital Health and Informatics as well as the Director of the Centre for Digital Transformation of Health. Her interests include biomedical informatics, natural language processing, knowledge representation, and application of informatics to clinical care and research. Wendy is an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics and the US National Academy of Medicine.

Dr Daniel Capurro is is the Centre's Deputy Director, and co-leads the Digital Health Validitron, a pipeline to validate digital health innovations in a way similar to what happens with drugs and vaccines, and the Data Science stream. Daniel is an MD trained in Internal Medicine and holds a PhD in Biomedical and Health Informatics from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Professor Kathleen Gray does research at the intersection of health science and information science, and is the Centre's Executive Sponsor of Education and Workforce Development. She is interested in how the Internet and its associated technologies are reshaping society’s expectations of health system performance. Her aim is to broaden and deepen critical understanding – among patients, clinicians, health service managers and health information specialists – of the ways in which digital health affects their roles and responsibilities. Kathleen holds a joint appointment in the Melbourne Medical School and the School of Computing and Information Systems.

Dr Douglas Pires is the Centre's Executive Co-Sponsor of  Health Informatics and Data Science, and a Senior Lecturer in Digital Health in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. Previously, he was a group leader and researcher in public health at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation/Brazil. Douglas was also a postdoctoral researcher fellow at the University of Cambridge and University of Melbourne. He received a PhD in Bioinformatics from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais/Brazil and a BSc in Computer Science, both with highest honours, by the same university. His research interests include: Computational Biology, Translational Bioinformatics and Machine Learning.

Research Projects

Depending on the faculty affiliation of the supervisor, you can find digital health PhD projects via the MDHS Research Database (select  PhD Projects and Discipline: Centre for Digital Transformation of Health in the sidebar) tool or the CIS PhD project page.

Using a digital sandbox to build and test new virtual models of care

Research pillar: Digital Health Validitron
Supervisor: Professor Wendy Chapman (MDHS)
Secondary supervisors: Dr Kit Huckvale, Dr Daniel Capurro (CIS)

Process mining in healthcare
Research Pillar:  Clinical Data Science
Supervisor: Dr Daniel Capurro (CIS)
Keywords: digital health, clinical informatics, process mining, data mining, clinical data analytics, health informatics. 

Preventing Digital Overdiagnosis
Research pillar: Health Informatics & Data Science 
Primary Supervisor: Dr Daniel Capurro (CIS)
Keywords: digital health, clinical informatics, machine learning, data mining, clinical data analytics, health informatics.

Predicting and understanding persistent critically ill patients
Research pillar: Health Informatics & Data Science
Primary Supervisor: Dr Douglas Pires (CIS)
Secondary supervisor: Dr Daniel Capurro (CIS)
Keywords: Machine Learning,  Health Informatics, Process mining, Electronic Medical Records, Intensive Care Data, Readmission to ICU, Mortality Prediction

How to apply

Graduate Research at The University of Melbourne
Graduate Research Scholarships

Graduate Research at MDHS

Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering and IT)

Postera Crescam Laude