Frailty and Pain

What is the role of pain in frailty in older adults?

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Approximately half of the people in Residential Aged Care settings meet the criteria for frailty.  Frailty has an array of adverse outcomes for older people and is known to negatively impact on health-related quality of life. Like frailty, the prevalence of pain also increases with age. Often pain and frailty co-exist and there is some evidence that persistent pain may be a causal risk factor for frailty. Pain in long terms care settings (esp. people with dementia) is often under assessed and poorly managed, while frailty is not routinely screened or assessed. This Project will focus on better understanding the relationship between persistent pain and frailty in older adults living within residential aged care services and improving processes for recognition and assessment of these two conditions.

This research will adopt a participatory, co-design approach with mixed methods of data collection. The initial phase of this study will involve baseline data collection to understand what indicators of persistent pain and frailty are present in the aged care population and how there are currently measured. Subsequent phases of the study will focus on working in partnership with participating aged care services to enhance how pain and frailty are recognised and assessed, to ensure proactive and consistent evidenced-based assessment and management of these conditions.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Sharon Andrews


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 $31,500 per annum (2023 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:

  • 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:

  • Has experiences in aged care services and/or caring for older people.

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 Sharon Andrews 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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