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Available Postgraduate Projects

We're looking for prospective students
Graduation 2022

We are seeking students to undertake exciting projects in our college!

The College of Nursing and Midwifery has formulated a strategic plan to grow its research engagement by strengthening the College’s major research foci, research impacts, and research support environment.

Our staff can provide support for PhD, Master by Research, and honours students in a range of specialisations, to grow the  College’s research foci:

We welcome prospective research students to undertake their research journey in those fields with Charles Darwin University.  

Essential Information

If you’re interested in a project, please contact the supervisor(s) listed.

If you've been unable to find a project that you are interested in, you can use the researchers portal  to find researchers from related fields.

  • Use one or two keywords to narrow down the list of researchers.
  • Each research profile will indicate if the researcher has the capacity to supervise.

Once you've found a suitable project, you can contact relevant researchers using the CDU directory.

Please see the CDU Research Scholarship page for further information regarding How to Apply for scholarships and key dates for application submissions.

Financial Assistance: Students will need to apply for a scholarship if they need financial support to undertake the research.

Stop Smoking in it's Tracks: A Smoking Cessation Sub-study within the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting

Supervisor: Sophie Hickey (contact:

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: TBA

Project Summary

Stop Smoking in it's Tracks: A Smoking Cessation Sub-study within the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting
Antenatal smoking is associated with significant morbidity and mortality and is the most important modifiable cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including perinatal death, preterm birth, low birth weight, growth retardation and placental problems. Smoking among pregnant First Nations women remains more than three times as common as among non-Indigenous pregnant women, yet there is little evidence of the best way to address this problem. 

As part of the Birthing in Our Community program, we implemented a novel smoking cessation program - "Stop Smoking in its Tracks" program. This was a service-based research project investigating the impact of intensive follow up and support for women from early pregnancy through to 6 months following birth, along with reward payments to encourage sustained smoking cessation. Stop Smoking in its Tracks also offered support, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to family members who smoke. 
We are looking for a Masters by Research student to assess the effectiveness, acceptability and feasibility of providing "Stop Smoking in its Tracks." We have data on how the care was provided, women's quitting behaviour and factors associated with quit attempts and successful quitting. Women also completed a short questionnaire about their experiences of the program. 

This would ideally suit someone with a background in First Nations health, health promotion, midwifery or child health nursing, public health, addiction studies or related fields.

Growth and development of infants: A sub-study within the Indigenous Birthing in an Urban Setting

Supervisor: Sophie Hickey (contact:

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: TBA

Project Summary

The importance of optimal infant growth and development is well known. To date, it is not known to what extent commonly used infant developmental assessment tools are culturally appropriate for use with Indigenous infants raised in an urban setting. 
This sub-study will involve analysing the culturally considerations for infant child assessments tools such as the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire with an urban Indigenous population. Our community researchers have collected over 200 face-to-face infant assessments as well has hundreds of ASQ to analyse! The successful candidate will work closely with the community researchers to make recommendation for future use. 

This Masters by Research project would ideally suit someone with a background in Aboriginal health, midwifery or child health nursing, developmental psychology or related fields.

Building on Our Strengths (BOOSt) is about developing and evaluating a Birthing On Country Service for First Nations Australians.

Supervisor: Penny Haora (contact:

Suitable for: Masters by Research

Project Location: Brisbane, QLD or Nowra, NSW

Project Summary

"BOOSt is being conducted across two settings: urban (Brisbane, QLD) and rural (Nowra, NSW), involving a redesign of maternity care, with pre- and post-intervention data being analysed to determine the impact on our primary and secondary outcomes.  The new service models are phased, aiming for integrated Community hubs and birth centres.

BOOSt will determine the:

  1. feasibility of establishing the Birthing on Country Service, inclusive of a birth centre, at each site
  2. acceptability of services for women, their communities and health service providers (local and referral service)
  3. clinical and cultural safety, effectiveness and cost of services
  4. key processes in establishing the Birthing on Country Service and creating sustainability.

Additional to the maternity records data sets obtained for this study, we recruit women having First Nations babies to complete antenatal and postnatal surveys about their maternity care experiences and other relevant aspects of their lives. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with women and families accessing the services, and with healthcare providers and stakeholders, to inform changes and recommendations for service provision and planning.
Potential Project Topics:

  1. My Story: Birthing on Country for women in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven
  2. Birthing on Country: Stakeholder perspectives and experiences in rural NSW
  3. Birthing on Country: Stakeholder perspectives and experience in urban Qld site
  4. Birthing on Country for Dads
  5. Perinatal outcomes: baseline data analysis (2013-2020)
  6. Discrimination: exploring the impact of everyday discrimination and/or discrimination in the healthcare context
  7. Connecting to Culture & identity
  8. Decolonising in practice: exploration of intellectual and emotional work
  9. Decolonising the health system and healthcare institutions in regional NSW"
To Be Born Upon a Pandanus Mat-Yothuw gayatha dhäwal’ guyaŋa’ nharaw:

Supervisors: Sarah Ireland (contact:

Suitable for: PhD & MRes

Project Location: Galiwin'ku, NT

Project Summary

Our project is about setting-up and studying Australia’s first ‘Birthing on Country’ very remote, demonstration site in Galiwin’ku, Elcho Island, Arnhem Land. We will work with Yolŋu community and health service providers, to redesign (change) maternity health services to better meet the needs of Yolŋu woman and families. Service redesign will focus on improving midwifery care and making it easier for services to connect and work well together. It includes Yolŋu djäkamirr (Indigenous doula) to support women during pregnancy, childbirth and until baby turns 2-years old. We will increase
Yolŋu engagement, governance, and control, and develop community reproductive health reports to strengthen awareness reproductive health. We will evaluate the redesign process, clinical outcomes, woman and family experiences, cost-effectiveness, and cost-benefit of the very remote ‘Birthing on Country’ service.

We are currently seeking passionate Master and PhD students who are willing to undertake intellectual adventures and work on complex intercultural reproductive health topics. Our students become skilled in using decolonising, quantitative and qualitive methodologies; and gain firsthand experience working in genuine relationship with the community. We offer students a super supportive learning environment with expert Yolŋu mentorship and the chance to contribute towards making a more equitable World!