Australian Multiple Sclerosis Carers Study

Assessing feasibility of an Australian Multiple Sclerosis Carers Study (AMS-Carers): Mitigating the burden of caring to Improve the lives of people with MS and their support network

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

29 October 2021

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Background:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable, high-cost, high-burden debilitating neurological disease. As well as directly impacting people with MS, it can also have a profound impact on the lives of those who care for and support them. This support can come from partners, parents, siblings, children or friends, and may be supplemented with paid services. Generally, people with MS rely on more than one person to support them, with roles that differ from person to person. As the disease progresses, the level of support that a person with MS requires will increase, with some receiving a carers allowance from the government.

The Australian Multiple Sclerosis Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) is a large national research platform that includes >2,600 people with MS which make it an ideal platform to create a study in which data from carers/support people can be linked to AMSLS participants.

Overall PhD Project:

This project will employ mixed methods to investigate the feasibility of a large prospective cohort study of carers and supporters of people with MS linked to their AMSLS participant.

Aims:

The overall aim of the study is to assess the feasibility of the creation of a large national cohort of carers of people with MS. To achieve this overall aim this PhD project will:

1: conduct a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the methodologies adopted for investigating carer burden for people with MS including both quantitative and qualitative methods, and network methods.

2: recruit a pilot prospective cohort from the carers and supporters of participants of the AMSLS (~50-100 carers and supporters) linked to their AMSLS participant.

3. employ mixed methods to investigate feasibility of quantitative (e.g. validated carer burden and quality of life instruments, cost diary, MBS/PBS data) and qualitative methods (e.g. free text, focus groups and long interviews) to be used for a larger prospective cohort.

This PhD will allow a student to develop skills in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The student will gain hands-on experience in the development of research processes and survey tools, and conduct of the research. The student will also have the opportunity to be involved in the large cohort

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Julie Campbell

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Honours in a relevant discipline (e.g. health-related disciplines, economics, or sociology) or a Masters in Epidemiology or Public Health

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Relevant background in mixed methods research, social network research, and a particular interest in studies regarding carers and supporters of people with complex and chronic disease

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Julie Campbell, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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