Assisting working people with MS

MS WorkSmart: An online intervention for working people with Multiple Sclerosis

Degree type


Closing date

1 February 2024



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurological disorder of the central nervous system which causes a wide variety of symptoms including problems with fatigue, walking difficulties, pain, cognitive issues, and difficulties with speech, bladder function, and vision. Nearly a third of the total cost of MS in Australia results from a loss of income due to sickness and early retirement.

We have developed a 10-week online program for employed individuals with MS, titled ‘MS WorkSmart’.  It is designed to keep people with MS in the workforce for longer and to maximise their work productivity. During the intervention, participants are encouraged to use a newly designed App called ‘My SymptoMS’. Prior to testing the intervention in a fully powered randomised controlled trial, we will conduct a feasibility study.

In this feasibility study we aim to:

  1. Demonstrate that we are able to recruit people with the required eligibility criteria, and examine the profile of eligible participants by using data available from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study.
  2. Examine the engagement data and demonstrate a low drop-out rate by the end of the intervention.
  3. Conduct a process and cost analysis, using quantitative and qualitative data, in order to improve the intervention and the clinical trial process/materials.
  4. Examine data from the My SymptoMS App.

This PhD will allow a student to develop skills in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, including App data. 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 fully powered randomised controlled trial.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Ingrid van der Mei


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 $32,192 per annum (2024 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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Minimum entry requirements in Psychology, Sociology, Science, Health Science, Public Health, or a related field
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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 desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in psychology, epidemiological, clinical or related research
  • Experience in mixed methods research
  • Experience in conducting statistical analysis

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Prof Ingrid van der Mei to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 1 February 2024.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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