Scholarship details

Study levels


Student type

Future students

Study area

Creative practice, communication and design, Education, Science, technology and engineering and mathematics

Eligibility criteria

Academic performance

Application dates

Applications close
30 October 2020

What you'll receive

This PhD program provides opportunities for up to three students to be involved in important and cutting-edge research, working with supervisors who are leaders in their fields, and learning about how to become an interdisciplinary researcher.

A scholarship, tax exempt and indexed annually $28,092 per annum for a period of 3 years will be provided to the successful applicant. Paid leave is provided equivalent to QUTPRA scholarships.

The scholarship will be governed by QUTPRA rules.


To apply for this scholarship, you must meet the entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT, including any English language requirements for international students.

You must have:

  • Hons degree (1) or equivalent research qualification or experience in the areas of Design and/or HCI
  • demonstrated ability to work collaboratively within interdisciplinary teams, as well as proven ability to use initiative, and to work independently with minimal supervision to deliver outcomes
  • demonstrated ability to be open and responsive to change
  • demonstrated communication skills which will enable you to prepare scholarly and other publications, presentations and funding applications.

Ideally you will also have (not necessary but preferred):

  • demonstrated experience in the planning, conduct, analysis and reporting of qualitative and/or quantitative design/HCI research, preferably with children
  • demonstrated ability to apply research to meet end user needs through designed outputs/outcomes
  • demonstrated experience in designing, prototyping, and evaluating tangible and embodies interfaces.

Note: You will be required to obtain a blue card for working with children.

How to apply

Please email your interest in applying for this scholarship to Professor Thea Blackler ( by Thursday 10 September 2020.

Your application must include:

  • a current resume including:
    • your academic qualifications
    • a list of any publications
    • any research grants obtained (including any commercial research contracts and consultancies)
    • any awards or commendations.
  • a cover letter addressing the eligibility criteria (no more than 2 pages) which includes your aims in pursuing a PhD in this area and relevant examples of research projects
  • full academic transcript
  • details of 2 referees (email/address/contact number).

What happens next?

This candidate may need to apply for a scholarship through the QUT scholarship round in 2020 that closes on 30 October 2020. We are keen to fill this position quickly so please contact us now if you are interested. For more information about the scholarship or application process please contact Professor Thea Blackler (

About the scholarship

We are currently seeking applicants for up to three PhD positions to undertake research as part of the project, Framing and Enabling Children’s Active Play using Novel Technology. This collaborative project is shared between Creative Industries (Prof Thea Blackler, Design), Science and Engineering (Prof Peta Wyeth and Dr Bernd Ploderer, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)), Health (Prof Stewart Trost, Centre for Child Health Research), and RMIT (A/Prof Linda Knight, Education), and funded through the ARC Discovery program. The research investigates how Tangible and Embodied Interfaces (TEIs) offer new opportunities to promote children’s active play in prior-to-school contexts.

PhD scholarship one

This scholarship project will focus on understanding interaction and engagement with existing TEIs and the TEIs developed in the project. You will develop and run observational, interview and longitudinal studies. You will need a background in Design and/or HCI and an interest in understanding how young children interact with the things around them. You will be supervised by professors in Design, HCI and Education.

PhD scholarship two

This scholarship project is focused on design, development and prototyping of new TEIs which will be tested in the field. Design is a core part of the method for this project so it is necessary to have a candidate who is dedicated to this task, and capable of applying results into the iterative design of the TEIs. They will need an HCI and/or design/tech development background.

PhD scholarship three

This scholarship project will focus on quantifying and understanding early childhood physical activity throughout the project. Due to the large and complex data sets that will be generated during each stage it is necessary to have a candidate who can specialise in children’s physical activity and will be dedicated to understanding and interpreting the physical activity data and its implications for the rest of the project. You will need a background in developmental psychology, education or population health, with strong quantitative skills and interest in child health. Project 3 will be supervised by professors in Child Health, HCI and Education.

Project background

This Australian Research Council funded project is focused on addressing the critical issue of declining physical activity of young children through understanding and promoting innovative, interactive, active play experiences for children, with a view to increasing their physical activity over the long term. This project focuses on how Tangible and Embodied Interfaces (TEIs) – which naturally facilitate motor competence through manipulation, gesture and whole body action – offer new opportunities to promote children’s active play. TEIs combine physical artefacts and digital information, allowing interactions to unfold in new situations, across a variety of spaces, and in combination with other activities and experiences.

This project will seek to find more innovative ways to increase active play through digitally-augmented engagement over the long term, considering systems that allow for emergent behaviour, provide for open-ended, child-led engagement, and support individual and group play.

This project will be based on empirical research with children undertaking experiences with TEIs in real contexts, in order to understand barriers to, and facilitators of, sustained engagement. We will design and develop solutions that address the issues, test those interventions in a longitudinal manner, and produce a framework for designers and developers to guide them in creating TEIs for active play.

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