NICM PhD Scholarship in Bush Medicine

As an Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 5 ranking institute, NICM Health Research Institute is recognised globally for its world-class research and innovations in complementary and integrative medicine.

An opportunity exists to join our Bush Medicine Research Program, to undertake a laboratory-based project to characterise traditional plant medicines used by Aboriginal peoples for treating inflammation-driven ailments. A combination of chemical and pharmacological methodologies will be adopted to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in this area.

PhD: Bush Medicine

Anti-inflammatory, Neuroprotective and Neuromodulatory Effects of Traditional Plant Medicines

A research scholarship(opens in a new window) is available for a highly motivated PhD candidate who is technically skilled with a strong organic chemistry background. The successful candidate will work with a diverse group of researchers including, chemists, pharmacologists and botanists. Background knowledge of inflammation including key biochemical processes and the role these play in initiation and progression of chronic disorders including Alzheimer’s disease is desirable.

This project will unravel the biomolecular mechanisms and identify the chemical constituents that can explain the therapeutic effects of Aboriginal traditional plant medicines, while seeking to translate these technologies into novel, efficacious medicines.This project is to be supervised by Professor Gerald Muench. The successful applicant will commence the course in mid-2019.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000 per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver.
  • Support for conference attendance, fieldwork and additional costs as approved by the Institute up to a value of $15,000.

International candidates are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC) (opens in a new window) insurance policy for the duration their study in Australia, with the scholarship providing funding for single cover.

Eligibility criteria

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, and strongly encourage applications from people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent. In particular, the project is suitable for candidates with strong interests in organic chemistry, pharmacology/pharmaceutical science and natural products.

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent overseas qualifications.
  • demonstrate strong academic performance in subjects relevant to chemistry.
  • have an understanding of inflammation and its role in disease initiation and progression.
  • be willing to learn techniques applicable to molecular biology.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.(opens in a new window)

How to apply

Applicants should:

  1. Contact Professor Gerald Muench ( to discuss your eligibility, the project requirements and your intention to apply.
  2. Review the research scholarships frequently asked questions.(opens in a new window)
  3. Submit an online application for admission.(opens in a new window)
  4. Complete the project scholarship application form (PDF, 89.74 KB).(opens in a new window)
  5. Compile your CV, contact information for two referees and a one-page proposal stating how your research interests align with the project aims.
  6. Submit your scholarship application form and any supporting documentation to the Graduate Research School as follows:
    • Use the email subject line: Application_2019_036_NICM
    • Submit to
    • All attached documents must be submitted as PDF.
    • In the body of your email, include your full name, your student ID (if you are a current or previous Western Sydney University student) and the full title of the scholarship.

Applicants who do not submit an online application for admission will not be considered.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

Please contact the Graduate Research School via email at for more information.

Applications close 30 June 2019.

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).