Scientia PhD Scholarships

Deadline for prospective applicants to lodge an Expression of Interest with supervisors in the current round is 21 July 2017

Under the Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme, UNSW will enrol up to 700 new PhD scholars of exceptional quality over the next 10 years. The Scheme directly underpins the UNSW Strategy 2025 goals.

Scientia scholars will have a strong commitment to making a difference in the world with demonstrated potential for contributing to the learning and teaching excellence, social engagement and/or global impact pillars of the 2025 Strategy.

These prestigious scholarships will include a stipend of $40,000 per annum for 4 years and a support package of up to $10,000 per annum to provide support for development activities, international collaboration, and other related expenses.

UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website

Business School priority research areas

Potential Scientia scholars can select from the following research projects within the UNSW Business School.

Guiding Financial Decision-Making for Retirement: a Multi-Disciplinary Approach

This project will improve understanding of how individuals make choices about insurance against retirement, health and aged care risks and how they can be supported to make better choices. The communication of risk is inherently difficult. Using experimental methods, the project will seek to identify formats for risk presentation which are transferable across contexts, specifically investment, longevity and health care risk, which are all key to retirement decisions. It will then design and implement experimental surveys to identify interventions to assist people with retirement finance decisions, and test these in the field. Outcomes will guide member interaction and communication by the financial services industry, and the development of associated policy and regulation.

Supervisory team: Professor Hazel Bateman (CEPAR and UNSW Business School) and Dr Elena Capatina (ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research – CEPAR)

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Digital Work

The Scientia PhD scholar will research “digital work”, a rapidly emerging form of work conducted and organised through digital means. Examples of digital work include telework, crowdsourcing and electronic freelancing over the Internet. Digital work is seen as a Grand Challenge of the digital age by the Academy of Management due to the lack of understanding of the changing nature of work and its wide-ranging implications (Colbert et al. 2016). This thesis will involve three empirical studies focused on new digital work forms: a) remote digital work within traditional organisations, b) crowdsourcing and c) “digital nomading”, in which location-independent digital freelancing is combined with global migration.

Supervisory team: Professor Dubravka Cecez-Kecmanovic (School of Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School) and Dr Daniel Schlagwein (School of Information Systems and Technology Management.

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Management Control Systems of the Future: Working with Collaborative Robots

The latest employee to join your work-team may not be human at all – standing next to the assembly line with other skilled workers in a high-tech factory is increasingly likely to be a “co-bot” (collaborative robot). Unlike industrial robots, co-bots are self-learning multi-taskers; designed to work with humans, not for humans. But how do you build trust and effectively manage work-teams comprising both humans and non-humans? Using the lens of behavioural management accounting, this research involves a series of experiments to test whether work-teams respond differently to established management control systems and incentive types when their membership includes a co-bot.

Supervisory team: Professor Mandy Cheng (School of Accounting, UNSW Business School) and Associate Professor Kerry Humphreys (School of Accounting, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Investigating Digitally Enabled Financial Participation for Inclusive Development

This project seeks to better understand the way digital technology drives financial service access and participation in developing countries. Increasingly, research communities recognize the critical role of digital technologies as a catalyst for societal transformation and inclusion in developing communities. Specifically and propelled by the convergence of multiple technological advancements, FinTech arises as a form of alternative finance. This project is expected to develop an in-depth understanding of the nature of financial inclusion and a roadmap for developing interdisciplinary solutions and community-level initiatives. The empirical investigations have profound implications on the ways digitisation empowers individuals and communities socially.

Supervisory team: Professor Patrick Finnegan (School of Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School), Dr Felix Tan (School of Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School), Dr Carmen Leong (School of Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Should Monetary Policy Lean Against House Price Bubbles?

The recent global financial crisis highlights the importance of understanding what macroeconomic policy should do about large fluctuations in house prices. Central banks are expected to respond to these fluctuations while achieving their other goals of stable inflation and low unemployment. They often employ structural macroeconomic models to evaluate the quantitative trade-offs involved in policy. For example, during his time visiting the RBA, Gibbs spearheaded the incorporation of a housing sector in the RBA's structural model. This project plans to further extend a quantitative structural model to capture the effects of housing on the macroeconomy and financial stability.

Supervisory team: Dr Christopher Gibbs (School of Economics, UNSW Business School), Professor James Morley (School of Economics, UNSW Business School) and Associate Professor Mariano Kulish (School of Economics, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Designing More Flexible Institutions: An Interdisciplinary Approach

This project concerns an interdisciplinary approach to design, test, and build new economic, social, and political institutions using insights from game theory, operations research, and computer science. Applications include cap-and-trade markets to combat pollution and the exploitation of common resources (e.g. overfishing) as well as matching protocols to assign kids to schools, organs to patients, and refugees to municipalities. In each case, tailor-made solutions will be based on careful economic analyses of incentives, extensive scrutiny in the laboratory, and detailed implementation using state-of-the-art computer science techniques.

Supervisory team: Scientia Professor Jacob Goeree (School of Economics, UNSW Business School) and Scientia Professor Toby Walsh (School of Computer Science and Engineering, UNSW Engineering).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Are Innovative Teams Selected or Enabled? Towards a Multilevel Model

This project will show how to optimise innovation in business by testing rival hypotheses from contrasting theoretical perspectives about individuals, teams and organisations; perspectives that have historically been investigated separately. This will inform practice including: how to select people to achieve team innovation (e.g., ‘can one maverick derail team innovation?’, ‘do all team members need to be innovative for team innovation to emerge?’); how to turn around slumps in team innovation (e.g., ‘is transformational leadership or providing autonomy most crucial?’); and which organisational designs are most effective (e.g., ‘how do organisations exploit exploratory learning processes to optimise team and individual innovation?’).

Supervisory team: Professor Christopher Jackson (School of Management, UNSW Business School), Dr Catherine Collins (School of Management, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Housing Decisions over the Life Cycle; Investment, Consumption, Insurance

This project will extend the iconic life cycle model to incorporate housing purchase as a specific and discrete choice. It will also investigate the implications of mistakes in such choices for lifetime welfare, drawing on and contributing to an extensive literature pointing to confusion as an important feature of complex choices. Structural estimation of such a model will break new ground in scientific investigation of housing choice. The modelling will generate new perspectives on the relative efficacy of alternative policies to facilitate housing affordability, and will offer new insights into the role of housing in inequality as the population ages.

Supervisory team: Professor Michael Keane (School of Economics, UNSW Business School), Associate Professor Loretti Isabella Dobrescu (School of Economics, UNSW Business School) and Scientia Professor John Piggott (School of Economics, UNSW Business School and Director, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research - CEPAR)

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Developing Flexible Latent Variable Methods for Panel Data

This project will develop novel statistical methods motivated by substantive problems involving analysis of individuals responding to changes in their work and personal environments. Our focus will be health economics and changes such as government policy initiatives or unexpected health shocks where concerns arise about inequality in healthcare. For example, are there important differences associated with socio-economic status or insurance coverage in treatment and financial burdens occurring after a health shock? Such questions are best answered using panel data where individuals are tracked over time. Methods developed will exploit such data and will apply outside the planned applications in health.

Supervisory team: Scientia Professor Robert Kohn (School of Economics, UNSW Business School), Professor Scott Sisson (School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW Science) and Professor Denzil Fiebig (School of Economics, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Business Group Structures and Internal Markets for Human Capital

In international financial markets, many listed firms are not independent entities, but are linked together through a common controlling shareholder, forming a business group (e.g. the Samsung and Tata groups). Groups are known to operate internal markets for financial capital, but there is no systematic evidence on their internal markets for human capital. This project provides new insights by examining whether centralised group control allows member firms to efficiently allocate resources with respect to incentivizing top management and promoting technological innovation. It utilizes a unique international ownership structure dataset that has been the basis for publications in top-tier finance journals.

Supervisory team: Scientia Professor Ronald Masulis (School of Banking and Finance, UNSW Business School), Associate Professor Peter Pham (School of Banking and Finance, UNSW Business School) and Associate Professor Jason Zein (School of Banking and Finance, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Longevity Risk: Retirement Product Innovation and Risk Management Strategies

The research will develop an actuarial and financial based framework for longevity risk modelling, drawing on the latest research in mathematical finance and longevity risk models. It will propose and analyse innovative structured retirement products incorporating investment, longevity and aged care/health risks; and propose and analyse the innovative design and assessment of risk management strategies aimed at mitigating financial and mortality risk. The research addresses the significant and topical issue of financing retirement risks with a comprehensive retirement income product. It has significant implications for both national and individual welfare and will provide the basis for industry product innovation.

Supervisory team: Professor Michael Sherris (School of Risk and Actuarial Studies, UNSW Business School), Dr Jonathan Ziveyi (School of Risk and Actuarial Studies, UNSW Business School) and Dr Andres Villegas (School of Risk and Actuarial Studies, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Assessing the Quality of Judgments of Audit Teams

Society relies on accurate and credible financial statements and audit plays a key role in ensuring the quality of financial statements. A central theme in audit research is the audit judgment and decision-making (JDM) literature. This area of research uses experimental research methods to examine the judgments of auditors and ways to improve these judgments. Our research specialises in group/team judgments where two or more individuals interact. Auditors consult with other professionals in the firm (both auditors and other specialists) and with other professionals outside the firm including management, audit committees and external specialists for complex estimates and non-financial assurance.

Supervisory team: Scientia Professor Ken Trotman (School of Accounting, UNSW Business School) and Dr Wei Chen (School of Accounting, UNSW Business School).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Toward Australia’s Sustainable E-waste Management

Australians generate 140,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, only 4% of which is recycled. The majority of e-waste ends up in landfills, posing risks to human health and the environment. This project will study two important aspects of e-waste: collection and recycling capacity planning. The former aims to promote e-waste collection by studying how to influence consumer behaviour in recycling (e.g., using social networking). The latter aims to study the optimal adoption of technologies for effective and ecological recycling of e-waste, including the new microfactories concept developed at UNSW. The research outcomes can improve operational and strategic decisions underpinning sustainability initiatives.

Supervisory team: Associate Professor Chung-Li Tseng (School of Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School), Dr Sam Kirshner (School of Information Systems and Technology Management, UNSW Business School), Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla (School of Materials Science and Engineering, UNSW Science and Director, Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Eliciting latent risk preferences, across contexts

The elicitation of risk preferences, and the determination to what extent they are context- and domain-specific, remains an important problem for social sciences and public policy. Better and robust elicitation of such preferences would improve decision making in contexts such as health, wealth (namely old-age provision), and transportation. Unfortunately, different elicitation methods provide often divergent estimates. In the proposed project, we attempt to identify through appropriate experimental design and implementation both in the lab and the field, people's latent (“deep”) risk preferences from observed stated and revealed choices across elicitation methods, context, and time (reliability of estimates over time).

Supervisory team: Professor Andreas Ortmann (School of Economics, UNSW Business School), Associate Professor Vinayak Dixit (School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW Engineering).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.

Big data statistical techniques for the risk management of insurers

This project aims to develop new tools and insights for insurer risk management by combining modern statistical learning (‘data analytics’, ‘big data’, ‘predictive analytics’) techniques with actuarial risk theory. The findings will allow for accurate and equitable rating and measurement of risks, and ultimately contribute to sustainable and equitable protection for policyholders. For equity and stability, insurers must be able to assess their risks accurately. Nowadays, they have access to an increasing number of data sources of very different types, and in finer and finer detail. This interdisciplinary project is concerned with 21st century estimation of insurance risks, and proposes to deal with all of the four V’s of big data: volume, velocity, variety and veracity. The focus will be on the extension of recent statistical analytics including in particular deep learning. Insights developed with this analysis will be further incorporated into concepts from actuarial risk theory.

Supervisory team: Associate Professor Benjamin Avanzi (School of Risk & Actuarial Studies), Dr Pierre Lafaye de Micheaux (School of Mathematics & Statistics), and Associate Professor Bernard Wong (School of Risk & Actuarial Studies).

To register an Expression of Interest with the supervisors, please visit the UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme website.