Digital Infrastructure for Improving First Nations Maternal and Child Health: The DIFFERENCE Project

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

The DIFFERENCE Project will deliver better outcomes for First Nations pregnancies by creating the largest connected First Nations health data infrastructure. We will help ensure the best possible start to life for First Nations Australians through evidence-based new models of care and real time analytical tools to inform individualised clinical care. We will achieve this through:

  • Standardising digital workflows in clinical information systems that are geographically boundless and aligned with best-practice First Nations data principles and governance practises.
  • Delivering a consumer centred information flow that is agnostic of setting through using cutting edge data transfer technology (OMOP and FHIR). This will deliver (i) real-time exchange of information for individual identifiable consumers to streamline care, and (ii) the development of de-identified data and analytics to enable sophisticated (and culturally appropriate) precision medicine using AI and ML techniques.
  • Redesigning healthcare through integrating digital workflows to facilitate continuous iterative improvement of clinical outcomes through data-driven decision making and positive changes to clinical practice, nationally and internationally.

The DIFFERENCE project is being lead by the Queensland Digital Health Centre (QHDeC) (lead by A/Professor Clair Sullivan), a multidisciplinary team of clinical informaticians, mathematicians, ICT experts, data scientists and engineers spread across multiple faculties and partnering with Queensland Health, researchers and industry to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care through digital health.

This PhD project will be aligned with one or more phases of this project that aims to create innovative descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytical tools that are clinically accepted and demonstrate the impact on First Nations maternal, infant and perinatal health outcomes.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Associate Professor Clair Sullivan

Faculty of Medicine


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of Indigenous health, indigenous methodologies or maternal health would be of benefit to candidates working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of data technology, data analytics, or digital health and the potential for scholastic success.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 3, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process