Project Title

Understanding complexity in youth mental health using integrated population-level data

Project Type



Research interests of the research team offering the project

This PhD project is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership grant in collaboration with Orygen (Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne), the Victorian Department of Health, Ambulance Victoria and headspace National.

The collaboration brings together key researchers in the areas of youth mental health, health economics, and biostatistics to generate new knowledge that will lead to a better understanding of health service use and outcomes in youth mental health.

The PhD project supervisors are from the health services and outcomes research team at Orygen. The team is conducting a range of research programs covering topics such as outcome measurement, novel treatments and service models, measuring quality of life and health utility, examining service trajectories using data linkage, and economic modelling.

The team has statistical expertise across a range of areas including secondary and linked data analysis, longitudinal surveys, disease modelling, and application of novel statistical and machine learning methods in health science.

Details of the project

This PhD project will be aligned with a NHMRC funded project – The 5W Research Program. The project aims to use machine learning and data linkage of administrative and health datasets in order to:

  1. Better understand youth help-seeking, resource use and productivity implications.
  2. Identify risk factors for poor outcomes.
  3. Identify spatial and temporal risk factors that are associated with heavy acute mental health service use in geospatial areas.

The PhD project will be focusing on using state-of-art machine learning techniques to explore the complexity and heterogeneity in youth mental health using large scale health service utilisation data.

Scholarships and fees

Scholarships are available through the University of Melbourne – find out more here. Other scholarship opportunities may also be available but are highly competitive, so please speak to the contact person below for further details.

Information on fees for domestic and international students is available here.


Essential entry requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy are outlined here.

Further to these criteria, we are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic student with a strong interest in youth mental health and big data, and who has the following background and experience:

  • Experience in conducting epidemiological analyses using large population datasets;
  • Strong statistical skills using a computerised statistical analysis package, preferably R or Stata;

In addition, the following background and skills are strongly desirable:

  • Desire to publish work in academic journals and/or present at scientific conferences;
  • Some experience in machine learning.

How to apply

  1. Read information for future students here and check your eligibility here.
  2. Read our frequently asked questions here.
  3. Liaise with, and gain the support of, the supervisor/s. Please contact them using the details below and attach a copy of your CV and university transcript(s). 
  4. Once you’ve gained supervisor support, follow the steps outlined by the University of Melbourne here. You can go straight to Step 3. 

You are strongly encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


Dr Jana Menssink
[email protected]
(+61) 3 9966 9107