Sonder - PhD internship scholarship

Applications open
Open now
Applications close
Open until filled
Payment per year
University of Adelaide RTP Stipend rate on a pro-rata basis for 60 FTE business days
60 FTE business days
Postgraduate Research
Australian Citizens
Australian Permanent Residents
New Zealand Citizens
Permanent Humanitarian Visa Holders
International Students
Type of Scholarship
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Students with Disabilities
Supplementary Scholarships
Available In
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics (ABLE)
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Available To
Commencing Students
Continuing Students

The Adelaide Graduate Research School (AGRS) and Sonder are creating internship opportunities for University of Adelaide PhD students, to contribute to various projects. 

Sonder is a not-for-profit organisation that helps people to live better lives by providing integrated and high-quality health and support services. Sonder’s range of services include mental health support, addiction services, Aboriginal health services, community health programs, disability support services and employment services. Clients are able to access multiple services to address their needs, with Sonder centres located across metropolitan and country South Australia and telehealth options available for many programs.

Over the past 30 years, the organisation has earned a reputation for the delivery of high quality, evidence-based health services and is now one of the leading providers of mental health services in SA. Additionally, Sonder is the lead agency for headspace Adelaide, Edinburgh North, Marion and Onkaparinga. The headspace Centres act as a one-stop-shop for young people who need help with mental health, physical health, alcohol and other drugs or work and study support.

Sonder aims to build and maintain a culture of innovation and critical thinking and to engage in evidence-based practices that are responsive to the needs of the communities we serve. As part of this aim, Sonder will engage PhD students to undertake projects in these areas: 

  • Prevention of mental ill-health and mental illness.
  • Improve the mental health and wellbeing of individuals living with mental illness, particularly those with complex needs.
  • Improve the experience for individuals accessing Sonder services.
  • Increase the uptake of primary healthcare among Aboriginal people and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
  • Development and implementation of innovative service delivery models.
  • Engagement of lived experience practitioners in mental health and Alcohol and other Drug model of care.
  • Translation of research and evidence into internal and external policy landscapes and by fostering the voices of clients, consumers and service providers across the sector.

The successful PhD student will work closely with the Sonder research and evaluation team to achieve the project aims under the direction of the Research and Evaluation Manager. The role will involve liaising with a range of health professionals, services, and consumer groups. The ideal candidate will demonstrate ability to work independently and appropriately manage sensitive and confidential information. Any student willing to undertake an internship at Sonder is encouraged to submit their CV and expression of interest highlighting the project they wish to carry out.


Internship activities: The successful candidate may be involved in:

  • Literature searches and reviews.
  • Reviewing and planning various governance structures
  • Assisting in drafting memorandum of understanding (MOU) and program logic model
  • Preparation of program advocacy documents
  • Assisting in the development of ethics applications.
  • Assisting in writing grant funding applications.
  • Designing and implementing surveys,
  • Conducting focus groups or interviews,
  • Analysing qualitative and/or quantitative data,
  • Report writing
  • Conducting consultation and communication with other Sonder staff and relevant stakeholders
  • Drafting manuscripts for publication

Expected Project Outcomes:

  • Real-world Experience
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Development of implementation research skills 
  • Impacting and reshaping future services delivery in primary healthcare settings
  • Applying research skills in industrial settings
  • Work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to resolve complex issues in an innovative and creative way.
  • Provide an outcomes report with the potential to write a paper for a peer reviewed journal publication/s in collaboration with the project team.
  • Students may have the opportunity to co-author research publication depending on the nature of their placement project. 


The successful candidates will undertake a minimum of 60 FTE business days of research and development with the organisation. The AGRS will support eligible students with a research internship scholarship (for 60 business days at the standard RTP rate). 

The selected applicant, their supervisor, and the industry focal contact person or internship supervisor will have the opportunity to discuss the nature of research and development activities and internship arrangements in greater detail post-selection.


Eligibility:  The PhD student must be:  

  • within the first 18 months of their candidature,  
  • willing to undertake the research internship for a minimum duration of 60 FTE business days,  
  • making satisfactory progress, and  
  • undertaking research in an area aligned with the proposed research internship project  

More information about University of Adelaide's Research Internships is available here.


Application Process:  To apply, please email the following documents to (HDR Internships Team) with the subject line – Sonder Internships:  

  • Resume
  • Cover Letter (of not more than 2 pages) outlining your interest in the internship and describing how your research area aligns with the proposed field of research internship.  


Please note that applications will be considered on a rolling basis and the advertisement may be closed earlier if a suitable applicant is shortlisted for a particular project prior to the listed closing date. Furthermore, if shortlisted, a meeting will be organised between the student, their supervisor and the organisation's focal contact person within a week of shortlisting. Students should discuss their internship plans with their Principal Supervisor in anticipation of that.