Applications for this PhD have now closed.
Location Griffith University, Griffith Criminology Institute
App. deadline 02/10/2018
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  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Preventing youth crime by measuring and responding to child social-emotional wellbeing

Griffith University hosts one of the largest, most vibrant, and high-performing criminology research communities in the world.  At the Griffith Criminology Institute (GCI) internationally-renowned scholars are collaborating in a broad range of areas to produce cutting edge knowledge that helps create safe, just, well-governed and equitable societies. Our research aims to address the major challenges that confront society and is organised around themes and projects which currently include: violence prevention, life course studies, prevention science, policing, corrections, innovative justice, procedural justice, vulnerable families, prosecutions, justice in the Asia-Pacific, investigative interviewing and countering violent extremism.

Prospective Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students are invited to apply for a PhD Scholarship with the Griffith Criminology Institute. Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend Scholarship, Griffith University Postgraduate Research Scholarship and Griffith University Indigenous Australian Postgraduate Research Scholarship applications are currently open, closing Tuesday 2 October 2018. These Scholarship opportunities each provide a living allowance of approximately $27,082 (2018 rate, indexed annually) per annum. Tuition Scholarships are also available for international HDR candidates.

How to Apply

Prospective students should follow the process for submitting an online Scholarship application outlined on the Griffith University website;

GCI Scholarship Top-up Funding

To complement the Scholarships above, GCI is offering up to 5 Top-up Scholarships each valued at $6,000 per annum, paid in addition to the usual living allowance. Applicants must meet the University’s selection criteria for entry into the PhD programme and be awarded a living allowance Scholarship to qualify for the extra GCI Top-up funding.

All students who apply for a Scholarship with GCI will be considered for top-up funding. A pre-formulated project is outlined below and additional projects are outlined in this document: Students may also undertake any other HDR project within the Institute. All Scholarship applications will be considered via the usual round assessment process and top-ups will be awarded to the highest ranked GCI candidates in the Order of Merit.

Students must contact the supervisor or supervisory team by early-September 2018 to discuss the project and develop a research proposal for inclusion with the Scholarship application. Contact details for the supervisory teams of pre-formulated projects are provided below and students may contact our members directly to discuss projects and supervisory arrangements.

Other GCI PhD Scholarships and Top-ups

Additionally, GCI is proud to support the Tony Fitzgerald Top-up Scholarship, and the Nina Westera Scholarship in Adult Investigative Interviewing. Please see the following links for further information regarding these Scholarships:

Project Title:

Preventing youth crime by measuring and responding to child social-emotional wellbeing

Supervisory Team:

Professor Ross Homel (

Ross Homel, AO is internationally recognised for his work in the field of crime and violence prevention. Ross has led the CREATE Research Program (Creating Pathways to Prevention/ Child Wellbeing) for the past 20 years, and is passionate about developing the scientific tools and resources to help keep young people out of the criminal justice system by fostering their positive development and wellbeing. He will share lead supervision of the PhD scholar with Dr Kate Freiberg and Dr Sara Branch from the CREATE team. The supervision team will also include CREATE Project Co-Director Professor Greer Johnson and Associate Professor Beverley Flückiger, from the Griffith Institute for Educational Research (GIER).

Dr Kate Freiberg (

Kate is a Senior Research Fellow at the Griffith Criminology Institute. She is a developmental psychologist whose work focuses on the theory and practice of applying preventive interventions in community and school settings. She is the inventor and main developer of Rumble’s Quest ( ), an integrated software system that includes an interactive computer game that validly and reliably measures the social and emotional wellbeing of children aged 6 to 12 years, as well as extensive resources that guide schools and community agencies in how they should understand and respond to the wellbeing profiles in their Rumble’s Quest reports.

Dr Sara Branch (

Sara is a Senior Research Fellow within the Griffith Criminology Institute. She has a background in Organisational Psychology and an interest in Workplace Conflict (in particular Workplace Bullying) and Change Management. Her recent work has focused on applying organisational theory to enhance processes for collaboration in community-based prevention initiatives. She is also leading the development of learning communities within the CREATE Project, and is the lead investigator in the research team responsible for fostering the development of community-based prevention workers called Collective Impact Facilitators.

Professor Greer Johnson ( )

Greer is Director of the Griffith Institute for Educational Research. Since 2003 she has been working with principals researching and developing leadership for learning (to read) in disadvantaged school communities. During that time, the highlight was working with principals in 48 Indigenous schools in QLD, SA and the NT with a focus on improving children’s reading.

Associate Professor Beverley Flückiger (

Bev is a former early years teacher and primary school principal who has worked for the past ten years as an education lecturer and researcher at Griffith University. Her research is focused on leadership for learning in early childhood, and has influenced policy development, informed practice, and shaped professional learning programs and resources.

Project Description:

The PhD project will be part of the ARC Linkage Project – Creating Pathways to Child Wellbeing, Prosocial Behaviour, and School Achievement in Disadvantaged Communities (

The PhD scholar will work closely with another CREATE Project PhD scholar appointed through GIER but with the same supervisory team. This second project will focus on supporting families, educators, school leaders, and community agents in building mutually responsive partnerships for collective impact. The CREATE Project aims to use the national Communities for Children (CfC) program as a service delivery framework to implement and evaluate a methodology designed to foster the development of goal-directed, respectful, data-driven collaborations between schools and community agencies. It seeks to achieve measurable and lasting improvements in the behaviour, social and emotional wellbeing, and school achievement of children living in challenging environments across Australia. Communities for Children is funded by the Department of Social Services and operates in 52 disadvantaged communities through partnerships between community agencies coordinated by a Facilitating Partner; a non-government organisation that specialises in community services.

A key aspect of the project is the implementation of Rumble’s Quest in up to 420 primary schools in 22 Communities for Children regions in NSW and Queensland. Rumble’s Quest is a 45-minute computer game for children aged 6-12 years that validly and reliably measures social and emotional wellbeing. The Rumble’s Quest integrated system, developed by Kate Freiberg in partnership with InVision Media, includes extensive resources that guide schools and community agencies in their understanding of child wellbeing, and supports them to respond to the wellbeing profiles in Rumble’s Quest reports (

Research Plan:

The PhD scholar will conduct research on the impact of the use of Rumble’s Quest, particularly its role in catalysing action and change within schools and communities. The actions generated by schools and agencies in responding to their data reports will be a key focus of the research. The scholar will forge partnerships with a number of schools/agencies so that they can become active participants in the development, implementation & evaluation of data-driven initiatives.


Year 1 – Study 1: literature review; ethics application; confirmation; design and analyse a quantitative on-line survey of school responses to their Rumble’s Quest reports, including the strategies that they use to improve aspects of child wellbeing, and whether or not they worked collaboratively with community agencies; prepare paper 1.

Year 2 – Study 2: undertake a detailed qualitative study of a small sample of contrasting school responses and strategies; evaluate these strategies, and those revealed through Study 1, in light of the ‘what works’ literature; prepare paper 2 (case studies). Begin Study 3: support one or two Study 2 schools to implement and evaluate evidence-based preventive programs; and begin paper 3 (implementation and evaluation of EBPs).

Year 3 – Complete Study 3; thesis write-up and conference presentations at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research in the United States, as well as relevant Australian conferences including the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology annual conference; finalise paper 3.

Travel for data collection and transcription of interviews will be supported from the ARC Linkage Project budget and the GCI, in consultation with the supervisory team.

Other Important information:

The successful applicant will join a world-class team of prevention science, criminology, and education researchers at the Griffith Criminology Institute and the Griffith Institute for Educational Research. undertaking pioneering research on how data-driven and evidence-based prevention initiatives can be taken to scale so that child wellbeing can be measurably improved at the population level.

As a doctoral student, you will develop expertise in cutting edge criminological, educational, and prevention science research, gain experience in research design and methods, and produce new knowledge on how schools and community agencies can be empowered to use high quality data to improve child wellbeing and prevent the onset of problem behaviours such as school suspension and dropout, and youth crime.

Applicants should be available to start no later than early 2019 and should have an undergraduate degree with Class I Honours (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline (such as criminology, psychology, education, social work, public health, the humanities, social sciences, or some combination of these areas). The successful applicant will have high-level quantitative and qualitative research skills.

Please Note: Should this listing mention details of an available scholarship, it is your responsibility to confirm the specifics with the university / institute prior to applyiing. Terms and conditions are in some cases subject to change and are not always reflected immediately within listings.

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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Prof Ross Homel