Helping the Medical Matchmakers: Sustaining and Understanding Living Donors research program PhD Scholarships


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Health and Behavioural Sciences
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Top-up Scholarship
Scholarship value $28,092 per annum tax free (2020 rate), indexed annually, a yearly top-up of $5,000 for 3 years; and up to $6,000 over the PhD program for project costs, travel, and training.
Scholarship duration 3 years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances
Number awarded 2
Opening date 1 July 2019
Closing date 1 December 2019

Scholarship description

It is vital to engage, recruit and retain donors for the provision of blood and blood products, organs, tissue, bone marrow and stem cells (i.e. substances of human origin, SoHO), to save or improve quality of life.

The University of Queensland in conjunction with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service have funded the ‘Helping the Medical Matchmakers: Sustaining and Understanding Living Donors’ program.

The aim of this research program, led by Professor Barbara Masser, is to increase our theoretical and practical understanding of how to help medical matchmakers recruit and sustain the right donors, at the optimal time, to donate the SoHO that best meets patient needs.

Two UQ-funded PhD scholarships are available to study topics that sit within this broader program of work. Key areas of interest include:

  • gender
  • age
  • cultural diversity
  • donor motives and behaviour, including recruitment and retention, and
  • developing actionable and translatable strategies or interventions to ensure well-matched donors are available.

These projects would suit candidates with a background in psychology or behavioural science and a demonstrated interest in applied social psychology or health psychology. Students will enrol through the School of Psychology.

For more information contact Professor Barbara Masser:

SoHO donor PhD topics

Motivating men to donate substances of human origin (SoHO1)

Males, particularly younger men, are under-represented within the blood donor panel and are also less likely than females to register or talk about their preference for organ donation. The aim of this project is to undertake basic and applied research to increase our understanding of how men view SoHO donation and to develop effective and actionable strategies to improve recruitment of donors in this key demographic.

Developing interventions to increase young donors of substances of human origin (SoHO2)

SoHO donors are a diverse population and few studies develop interventions to engage and increase donors that consider age, gender and/or cultural diversity. We have limited knowledge about which interventions are effective, the optimal time to deliver them, or who would be most receptive.

The aim of this project is to undertake basic and applied research to identify interventions (e.g. targeted messaging, behaviour change, education) or their components which are most likely to increase young people’s SoHO donation (including blood donation, registering and discussing organ donation wishes), and also consider potential gender or cultural differences.


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

Before you apply

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them before applying.

How to apply

To be considered for this scholarship, email the following documents to Professor Barbara Masser (

  • cover letter
  • CV
  • academic transcript/s
  • a brief research proposal – no more than three A4 pages, including references – detailing the background to your proposed program of PhD research, the research question/s, the methodology to be employed, and the significance of the research.
Submitting the above documents does not constitute a full application for admission into The University of Queensland's PhD program. If you are selected as the preferred applicant, you will then be invited to submit a full application for admission. 

Selection criteria

Applicants must hold either a 1st Class Psychology or Behavioural Science Honours degree or Honours 2A with at least one peer-reviewed publication.


Professor Barbara Masser
(07) 3365 6373

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.