Scholarship details

Funding Body:

The University of Sydney


Postgraduate Scholarship in Preventing Falls in a High Risk, Vision Impaired Population through Specialist Orientation and Mobility Services – the PLaTFORM study

Research Areas:

Health Sciences


Postgraduate Research


The PLaTFORM study is funded by an NHMRC Project Grant (2016-2019).   Falls incur over $1 billion in treatment, disability, lost output and mortality each year. People with poor vision are at up to 8 times increased risk of falls. The vulnerability to fall related injury and the large and increasing number of older people with vision loss (40% of those aged 85+) make falls prevention in this sector a critical public health issue. Though previous research suggests the greatest potential for falls prevention is through rehabilitation of posture and balance, this has not been successfully translated in this high-risk demographic.  Our pilot work suggests that the Lifestyle approach to reducing Falls through Exercise (LiFE) improves physical function, may reduce falls in older people with vision impairment, and can be delivered through specialist orientation and mobility instructors. This program can also realize other imperative benefits for older people through improved mobility. An RCT is planned to evaluate the LiFE program in older people with visual impairment in NSW/ACT in collaboration with Guide Dogs Association NSW/ACT, a leading community service organisation for people with vision impairments.  This PhD project will involve evaluations of the effectiveness and implementation of the LiFE program in this setting.



Applicants should hold an appropriate Honours 1 or high 2A (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in related discipline and/or professional experience in falls prevention and providing services to older people with vision impairments.  Applicants must be Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, or New Zealand citizens.


Amount awarded:

The scholarship stipend is the APA rate ($26,288 per annum in 2016, tax exempt, indexed annually), further supported by a $10,000 per annum top-up (tax exempt), for up to three years. Students are encouraged to apply for competitive scholarship funding. 


Application guide:

Applications for this scholarship have closed

Closing date:

31 January 2016