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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

PhD Scholarship in Social Psychology

15.10.2020, by Tina Keil

University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Application deadline: November 15th, 2020

Logo: University of Queensland
Logo: University of Queensland

A PhD Scholarship is currently being offered at The University of Queensland in the School of Psychology, working under the primary supervision of Professor Jolanda Jetten (ARC Laureate Fellow, Professor of Social Psychology, FASSA) on her Australian Research Council Laureate Project, “Breaking with the past: Responding to the challenge of identity change.” 

The scholarship offers a living stipend of $28,597 per annum tax free (2021 rate), indexed annually, a tuition scholarship, plus Overseas Student Health Cover (for international students). The duration of this scholarship is 3 years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions in approved circumstances. Information about the position is provided below and can also be found online at

Project description

The world around is in constant flux. Some of these changes are gradual but others are more sudden, changing society in dramatic ways. What such more dramatic changes such as Brexit, terrorist attacks, the Global Financial Crisis, the fall of the Berlin wall, and, more recently, the Australian bushfires 2019/2020 and COVID-19 have in common is that these are all events that involve social identity change. That is, communities or nations changed (at times overnight) in their shared perception of “who we were”, “who we are now” and “who will we be in the future”. Psychologically speaking, this is immensely impactful whereby some see change as an opportunity and others see it as a threat. When seen as a threat, identity change can damage well-being and it is clear that if change is not managed well that it is associated with increased depression, stress, anxiety, but also with early death and enhanced suicide rates. What is more, badly managed societal change can trigger social unrest because it divides communities, creates political tensions, and these have the potential to undermine community and national cohesion. In extreme cases, identity change may cause the fragmentation and collapse of communities and this forms a fertile ground for radicalization.

The challenge of coming to grips with change in a rapidly changing world is at the forefront of concerns within organizational, educational, community and national contexts. By developing and testing an integrated theoretical framework explaining how and when identities determine successful adjustment to change, the research will advance knowledge. It represents a paradigm shift in looking at change through the lens of identity change informing strategies for successful coping with change.

The role of PhD student is to undertake research as part the ‘Breaking with the past: Responding to the challenge of identity change’ project funded by the Australian Research Council Australian Laureate Scheme. The project should focus on advancing our understanding of factors that promote successful adjustment to collective-level change.

We expect

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history. A working knowledge of the social identity approach and demonstrated ability to apply social identity theorizing to advance the understanding of social phenomena would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of social psychology or a related field and the potential for scholastic success. More specifically, the successful candidate is expected to have:

  1. 1st or upper 2nd class Honours or Masters degree (or international equivalent) in social psychology or a related field,
  2. excellent written and spoken English,
  3. experience in research methodology and statistical analysis,
  4. evidence of expertise in the research topic, and
  5. strong communication and team working skills.

How to apply

To be eligible, you must meet the university’s entry requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) which can be found online at
Once you have determined you meet the university’s eligibility requirements, please apply via email to Christine McCoy (Project Coordinator) at

You must include as part of your application a cover letter addressed to Professor Jolanda Jetten, your current CV, and a 2-page research proposal outlining the kind of research you are proposing to undertake for your PhD. Applications must be submitted by Sunday 15 November, 2020 in order to be considered.

Further information

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Christine McCoy (Project Coordinator) in the first instance at

If you would like more information about the Laureate Project or to discuss the PhD research, please contact Professor Jolanda Jetten at