Meaningful outcomes: Centre of Research Excellence in substance use treatment

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 number of people with alcohol and other drug use (AOD) use problems in Australia is immense and increasing. Such high rates of AOD use are concerning, as they are the leading cause of disability and death in 15 to 47 year-olds in Australia and the rest of the developed world. To reduce the burden of problematic AOD use, delivery of cost-effective, evidence-based treatment is critical.

Value-based health care (VBHC), which aims to deliver the best possible outcomes relative to the resources or costs required, provides a potential solution to these problems. This is achieved by shifting the focus of care to health outcomes (value), rather than the volume of service delivery (e.g., number of clients seen). VBHC requires a collaborative approach between clients, clinicians and organisations. It aims to: (i) identify what outcomes matter to clients; (ii) identify and implement a standard set of Routine Outcome Measures (ROM) to assess, monitor and provide individual feedback on treatment progress (ROMF); and (iii) identify which service types or settings provide the best outcomes for different types of AOD presentations. ROMF is at the cornerstone of VBHC.

The CRE’s mission is to reduce the cost and burden of primary and comorbid AOD problems in Australia. This will be achieved through the implementation of routine outcome measures and providing client feedback in the AOD sector to increase its capacity to deliver evidence-based and cost-effective care. It unites our multidisciplinary network of national and international researchers, clinicians, and students, with our key industry and policy partners and people with lived AOD experience. The main aims of the CRE are to:

  1. Determine the most effective way to maximize the uptake of routine outcome measures and feedback among AOD services, clients, and staff
  2. Examine the impact of ROMF on:
    • client AOD treatment adherence and outcomes
    • AOD service access, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness
    • staff satisfaction, burnout, and turnover
  3. Examine the short- and long-term client outcomes of different AOD service types and settings using ROMF and data linkage
  4. Identify which AOD service types and settings have the best outcomes and are most cost effective for different types of AOD, polydrug use and comorbid mental health presentations using machine learning

The CRE will provide an opportunity for three Scholarships. The exact topic will be determined in consultation with the three selected applicants. Potential research projects can include qualitative and quantitative research, including data linkage, implementation science and data science. 

An additional top-up scholarship may be available for exceptional applicants.

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)


Professor Leanne Hides

School of Psychology


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 substance use and mental health issues, advanced statistical analysis skills, or data or implementation science would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

A background or knowledge of public health or health psychology is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2025. 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