Cultivating Capability in Design and Digital Technologies

Design and Digital Technologies: Understanding capacity and building capability for engagement

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Understanding capacity and developing capability in Design and Digital Technologies (DaDT) are essential but often overlooked aspects of STEM/STEAM engagement. Teachers and learners establish capacity and capability in DaDT through rich and meaningful education experiences which involve coalescing specific technologies, appropriate pedagogies and conducive circumstances. Access to DaDT, and education that bolsters and leverages this access, is acknowledged as key to addressing poverty in Tasmania. For example, only 68% of Australian children aged 5 to 14 living in disadvantaged communities having internet access at home, compared to 91% of students living in advantaged communities.

We know that educators and learners alike negotiate myriad challenges with DaDT in relation to enacting interdisciplinary education initiatives such as STEM/STEAM. In attunement to and awareness of the interrelated challenges and priorities, this project anticipates establishing distinctive place-based ways and means for nurturing capacity and capability building in, through and for DaDT competencies.

Some of these challenges include and are not limited to:

  • inadequate and antiquated resources
  • educators lacking confidence in and/or their own capabilities in DaDT
  • teaching learners whose DaDT skills can far exceed teachers’ own
  • curricula and pedagogical practices ill-suited to the kinds of design thinking and solution finding that DaDT can enable.

This project seeks candidates interested in examining distinct and interrelated experiences of stakeholders involved in developing, designing and delivering education initiatives that foster DaDT capacity and capabilities. Tasmania is characterised by a socio-economic and cultural complexity that concurrently derives from and impacts education outcomes for students and communities. Candidates are invited to research any one of these and/or coalescing challenges in educational settings (K-12; tertiary; post-secondary). In coalescing expertise and curiosity of academics and HDR students across colleges, we envisage seeding a thriving, collaborative interdisciplinary inquiry space.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Abbey MacDonald


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 $28,854 per annum (2022 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.


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:

  • Lived experience of working in and/or with education professionals and stakeholders (i.e teachers, students, principals)
  • Familiarity with development, enactment and/or implementation of Design and Digital Technologies (DaDT) in education settings

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • An understanding of the (DaDt) professional learning gaps and needs of teachers
  • Breadth and/or depth of understanding of DaDt professional learning needs of teachers in education levels (i.e ECE, Primary, Secondary, Senior Secondary, TAFE, Higher Education)
  • Awareness of existing DaDT education resources available/lacking in education levels

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor,  Dr Abbey MacDonald to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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 2 x 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 by the advertised outcome date.

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