PhD Scholarship in Criminology

Monash University Faculty of Arts


PhD Scholarship in Criminology – Social Infrastructure in Prison: A focus on Indigenous Prisoners

Job No: 637997

Location: Clayton campus

Employment Type: Full-time

Duration: 3-year and 3-month fixed-term appointment

Remuneration: The successful applicant will receive a Research Living Allowance, at current value of $30,000AUD per annum 2022 full-time rate (tax-free stipend), indexed plus allowances as per RTP stipend scholarship conditions at: A tuition fee scholarship and Single Overseas Health Cover (OSHC) will be provided for a successful international awardee.

The PhD Position

A competitive scholarship is available to undertake full-time PhD research as part of the ARC Discovery Grant project ‘Social Infrastructure in a Society of Captives: Promoting positive human connections in Australian prisons’ (DP210102508), led by Associate Professor Anna Eriksson, and based at the Faculty of Arts at the Clayton campus in Melbourne. This project explores how the concept of ‘social infrastructure’, normally applied to the city and local communities, can be applied to understanding daily life in a society of captives. We define social infrastructure as the places, programs and activities within the prison environment where prisoners have the opportunity to establish positive human connections, which has the potential to reduce the dehumanisation and related harms associated with imprisonment in Australia.

The scholarship is aimed at an Indigenous student, and the PhD Candidate, with support and guidance from the supervisory team, will develop an original project focused on Indigenous prisoners and social infrastructure. Social infrastructure in prisons is an innovative concept that provides the foundation for allowing prisoners to try on different, future-oriented roles. Such roles provide opportunities to move away from the identity of ‘prisoner’ or ‘criminal’ towards an identity that lays for the foundation for desistance post-release.

Key questions of the research would centre around how Indigenous cultures and communities’ approach and define positive social and interpersonal interaction, and how this can be translated into and supported in a carceral environment. A focus will be on how social infrastructure in prison can facilitate and support indigenous prisoners’ connections to self, others and, importantly, Country. Given the significant over-representation of Indigenous prisoners across Australia’s States and Territories, this PhD project will make an important contribution to knowledge in its own right.

The PhD Candidate will be required to undertake a scholarly literature review, conceptualise ‘indigenous social infrastructure’ and develop methods for measuring this, undertake fieldwork and data collection. The fieldwork can take place in any state or Territory in Australia and will be identified together with the supervision team. The PhD candidate will collaborate with local and international researchers in the Social Infrastructure in Prisons program.

Monash University

Monash University is the largest university in Australia and regularly ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide. Monash has six globally networked campuses and international alliances in Europe and Asia. The applicant will be based at the Clayton campus in Melbourne. Social Science at Monash is diverse and vibrant, including research expertise in geography, sociology, politics and sustainability transitions. We have a strong and supportive research culture, led by internationally recognised scholars successful in attracting national and international competitive funding.


The ARC project is led by Associate Professor Anna Eriksson (Monash University), who is an international expert in prison culture, comparative penology, Nordic exceptionalism and staff-prisoner relationships, and Professor Dominique Moran (Birmingham University), a world-leading expert in carceral geography. The supervisory team includes Associate Professor Eriksson (main), Professor Moran (external), and an Indigenous scholar as associate supervisor (Associate).

The successful candidate will be integrated into the School of Social Sciences and the Criminology Program, and will have access to funding to support fieldwork, transcription, travel, and conference attendance. The candidate will benefit from expert supervision from research leaders in prison studies, carceral geography, and indigenous studies.

Candidate Requirements

The successful applicant will have an academic track record in a social science discipline (Master’s/ Honours). General competence in qualitative and/or quantitative research methods is sought. An understanding of Australian prison practice, as well as the intersection between Indigenous people and the criminal justice system in Australia is required.

In its assessment, the selection committee will prioritise applicants who hold an Australian (or equivalent international) Honour’s or Master’s degree (both in a relevant field), with a significant research component and with first-class honours/H1 awarded. We strongly encourage Indigenous and Torre Straits applicants.

Details of eligibility requirements, including English-language proficiency skills, to undertake a PhD in the Faculty of Arts are available at Applicants should ensure they familiarise themselves with these requirements before deciding whether they should apply.

Scholarship holders must be enrolled full-time and on campus. Please note: applicants who already hold a PhD will not be considered.

The successful applicant will be expected to enrol between October 2022 and April 2023.


Associate Professor Anna Eriksson,

Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

EOIs shall comprise:

  • A cover letter that includes a brief statement of the applicant’s suitability,
  • A brief research proposal not exceeding 750 words in length that states the broad project aims, and demonstrates some understanding of the area of research. Applicants who are successful in the first stage of the application process may be asked to expand upon their proposal, based on feedback, to demonstrate their expertise, engagement, and readiness for the requirements of a PhD candidature.
  • A curriculum vitae, including a list of any publications, conference presentations and relevant work experience,
  • A full statement of academic record, supported by scanned copies of relevant certified documentation,
  • Contact details of two academic referees,
  • Copy of your current passport (if available)

EOIs should be sent, preferably in the form of a single attachment to an email, to Ms Kinda Say, Senior Graduate Research Administrator, Faculty of Arts, at the following email address State “EOI [your name] - PhD Scholarship in Social Science – DP21 Social Infrastructure in Prisons” in the subject heading of the email.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed (via Zoom if necessary). The interviews will be conducted in English.

Closing Date

Friday 12 August 2022, 11:55pm AEST

At Monash University, the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, students and visitors remain our priority. In accordance with the Directions issued by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, we require all staff, students and visitors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical exemption from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend our campuses and locations. 

For the latest information on COVID-19 at Monash, please visit our website

In your application, please refer to


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