Understanding the impact of pain on people with Multiple Sclerosis

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Data from the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) has shown that pain has the second-largest impact on the health-related quality of people with MS, and is associated with significant work productivity loss. MS Research Australia conducted a Research Priorities Survey among people with MS and identified pain management as a key research priority. To address this, MS Research Australia assembled representatives from the MS community, health professionals and MS service providers to identify gaps and priorities in pain research (Pain in MS Workshop, October 2019). An outcome of that workshop was that the AMSLS team designed a survey on pain, together with health professionals and people with MS. The pain survey is running from August-October 2021.

The survey aims to obtain a deep understanding on the pain that people with MS experience and the pain management strategies they use. It will address the following research questions:

  • Which health professionals are assisting people with MS with their pain, and what is the health utilisation for pain over a six-month period?
  • Which medications and other treatments are most commonly used to treat pain and what is their perceived effectiveness?
  • Do MS disease modifying therapies alter the severity of pain?
  • Does the predictability of pain affect outcomes such as pain severity, health-related quality of life, work productivity loss, pain self-efficacy and pain catastrophising score?
  • Is there an association between pain self-efficacy and the types of pain management that people use?
  • Is there an association between pain self-efficacy and the level of health care utilisation?

This PhD will deepen a student’s epidemiological knowledge and allows for a rich set of publications, using a variety of statistical techniques. The student will be part of a team, and has the opportunity to contribute to the development of further surveys and hands-on research experience.

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 $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.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Minimum entry requirements in Science, Health Science, Public Health, Psychology or a related field

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 epidemiological, clinical or related research
  • Experience in conducting statistical analysis using a statistical package, such as Stata, R or SPSS

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, Prof Ingrid van der Mei 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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