Scholarship details

Study levels

Research

Student type

Future students

Study area

Engineering

Eligibility criteria

Academic performance

What you'll receive

There is one scholarship available, either at a Masters or Doctoral level.

You'll receive a living allowance of $28,854 each year (18 months for Masters, 3 years for Doctoral students).

International students will also receive a tuition fee sponsorship.

A three-month (MPhil) to six-month (PhD) extension to the scholarship is also possible, subject to approval.

Eligibility

You must:

Ideally, applicants will also have:

  • sound knowledge of image processing
  • a degree in biomedical engineering, engineering, science or other relevant discipline such as allied health (podiatry, physiotherapy)
  • interest in working in a clinical environment
  • interest in interdisciplinary work.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are strongly encouraged to apply.

How to apply

To be considered for this scholarship, you will need to apply for and be accepted into either a MPhil or a PhD at QUT.

More information on our application process is available on our how to apply page.

Your EOI must:

  • indicate that you are applying for this specific scholarship in the financial details section
  • have either Dr Marie-Luise Wille or Dr Sinduja Suresh listed as your proposed supervisor
  • include an attachment (up to 2 pages) that summarises your scientific career, including:
    • a summary of your final project from your most recent degree
    • a paragraph detailing your research interests.

Feel free to contact either Dr Marie-Luise Wille or Dr Sinduja Suresh for more information.

What happens next?

This opportunity will remain open until a suitable candidate is identified.

If your expression of interest is accepted, you'll be invited to submit a full application, including a research proposal, to finalise your application.

Conditions

The conditions for retaining the scholarship are set out in the rules of the QUT Postgraduate Research Award (Domestic) or QUT Postgraduate Research Award (International).

About the scholarship

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic health condition in rural Australia, often occurring in conjunction with obesity. Diabetic Foot Disease (DFD) is a major co-morbidity of diabetes and is the most common cause of amputation, particularly amongst Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islander people. People with DFD are often referred to a podiatrist to get fitted for custom footwear as preventive measures to avoid chronic wounds (foot ulcers) and foot amputation.

The most significant limitation of this workflow is the lack of specialised podiatry laboratories in remote areas capable of rapidly designing and manufacturing patient-specific foot orthoses. Lengthy wait times to receive custom-made footwear, slow re-fitting processes and the impracticability of consistent long-term orthotist monitoring result in patient non-compliance and poor clinical outcomes.

In addition, there are several factors that contribute to the comfort of the orthosis that are currently not being addressed. A prime example of this is that current scans are taken in a non-weight bearing state and footwear designed using these scans are not necessarily comfortable in a weight-bearing state. Since plantar scans are difficult to obtain during weight bearing, there is a need to develop a scaling factor from non-weight bearing scans. From a clinical perspective, there is also a need to obtain scans with colour and texture information to monitor disease progression (such as an increase in ulceration) and aid in long-term treatment.

The overarching aim of this project is to enable patients to receive high quality and timely healthcare regardless of their geographical access to the hospital. This project strongly aligns with the Queensland Health (QH) and the North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) policies to incorporate more digital technologies in regional Australian clinics and increase patient involvement in their treatment. Considering the above-mentioned limitations of podiatry health management in remote towns, this study will tackle the following key objectives:

  1. Evaluate the accuracy of 3D surface scans obtained on a smart device (such as an iPhone or iPad).
  2. Explore the feasibility of patients using smart devices to gain accurate and reliable 3D data of their own feet.
  3. Conduct a reliability study (intra- and inter-user) on smart device 3D data acquisition.
  4. Establish a method to analyse volumetric data of both weight bearing and non-weight bearing foot scans and calculate a scaling factor for the same.

These objectives will be informed by surveys of local community requirements, current digitisation pathways at Mt Isa and government established initiatives to achieve equitable distribution of technology to regional areas and especially to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This project will be part of an interdisciplinary CRC-P project led by iOrthotics titled “Design-led Advance Manufacturing of Smart Orthotics for Remote Australia” and the student will be working closely with the diverse investigator team of CRC project and the staff members from iOrthotics and My Foot Dr in Brisbane.

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