Summer Research Scholarships

Explore a potential future in research.

A summer research scholarship provides an exciting opportunity to work alongside an experienced research team, addressing ‘real world’ issues, and get paid while you do it!

You will have the opportunity to develop new skills, build relationships and gain valuable experience which may pave the way for your postgraduate study and future career. If you are considering completing an Honours degree or Higher Degree by Research, a Summer Scholarship is the perfect opportunity to explore the world of research. 


Tips and things you should know

  • Be organised! Allow sufficient time for signatures (by supervisor and Head of School) as they may be travelling or difficult to get hold of prior to the closing date
  • Duration of scholarships will be 6 weeks
  • Each scholarship provides a living allowance of $200 per week
  • Applicants will be notified of the outcome by the Faculty office mid to late November
  • Design your own project: if none of the projects listed resonates with you, or you have a particular area of interest for your Summer Scholarship then you may wish to put forward your own project. You will need to approach a potential supervisor who is willing to support you in putting forward a viable project and willing/able to host the scholarship.

Available projects

  • Perceptions of water rights in the Murray-Darling Basin

    Adelaide Law School

    Supervisor: Professor Paul Babie

    Project Description

    This project will lead to an ARC Discovery Grant application to be submitted in the first part of 2020 for funding to begin in 2021.  The team for the grant, to be led by Professor Paul Babie, includes members of the Adelaide Law School (Paul Leadbeter, Peter Burdon, and Francesca da Rimini).  

    The project will draw together: (i) empirical research conducted by Professor Paul Babie and published with Peter Burdon and Francesca da Rimini into perceptions of property (published at (2019) 26 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 401-436, and (2018) 40 Houston Journal of International Law 797-843) with, (ii) research conducted by Professor Paul Babie and published with Paul Leadbeter on water rights in South Australia (published at (2019) 34 University of Oregon Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation forthcoming, and (2019) 9 Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law forthcoming).  

    The proposed ARC Discovery project will use the empirical methodology developed to test perceptions of water rights amongst water users in the Murray-Darling Basin.  This is a very significant project, and one which will clearly address national priorities in relation to the allocation of power over water in Australia through federalism as found in the Australian Constitution--as it concerns the states in the Murray-Darling Basin--and users of water within those states through the creation of proprietary interests in water.

  • Smart cities for economic development: a systematic review

    School of Economics

    Supervisor: Nadezhda V. Baryshnikova

    Project Description

    There has been an ongoing discussion about smart cities and their contribution to economic development in recent years. Due to an increase in urban population, cities require complex systems of infrastructure. However, the traditional concept of cities does not entirely fit the 21st century, when the world had witnessed dramatic changes in technological advancements. Recently, a new definition of cities – smart cities – has been introduced. At face value, one could think of a smart city as an urban vision that fosters citizens’ engagement and technological integration of the city’s infrastructure. The ultimate goal of building smart cities is to improve the quality of life of their citizens by using technology to improve the efficiency of services and meet residents’ needs. Therefore, smart cities are likely to contribute to economic development that leads to poverty reduction, and an increase in income and employment.

    Economics literature knows very little about smart cities or to what extent smart cities initiatives have an impact on the economic value. It will provide a better understanding about smart cities by drawing both international and local evidence on the presence of smart cities and their impact on economic development. An extension of this project in the future is to establish partnerships with State Government and local agencies in investigating the role of smart cities on cities’ development in South Australia.

  • Empirical analysis of monetary and fiscal policy in Australia

    School of Economics

    Supervisor: Nicolas Groshenny

    Project Description

    This project aims at estimating statistical models (structural Autoregression Model) to analyse the macroeconomic consequences of monetary policy and fiscal policy in Australia. The proposed methodology consists in replicating in the Australian context a couple of recent papers that were done for the US economy. The student will first construct a database of Australian data similar to the ones used in seminal papers on the US economy. Using publicly available Matlab codes, the student will then learn, under supervision, how to specify and estimate Structural Vector Autoregressions models.

  • The changing nature of international trade agreements

    School of Economics

    Supervisor: Benedikt Heid

    Project Description

    International trade agreements are on the rise: Australia has 11 agreements, 6 of them signed in the last 10 years, and is currently negotiating an agreement with the European Union.

    Increasingly, these new trade agreements not only reduce tariffs on goods trade between countries, but also regulate foreign direct investment and the activities of multinational firms.

    The academic literature has mostly abstracted from the detailed regulations of international investment and has treated even new trade agreements as if they only liberalised tariffs. Up to now, little is known about the economic effects on trade and investment of these new contents of trade agreements. At the same time, the public is increasingly wary of all-encompassing agreements which seem to impinge on national sovereignty.

    One of the reasons for this is that until recently, there were no data sets on investment regulations readily available. Now, some data have been published, but they have to be extracted from the websites using advanced webscraping techniques.

    This project aims to create a data set of these data amenable for economic analysis. Therefore, any experience in programming statistical software (Stata, R) and/or general purpose languages like JavaScript, CCS are a plus, as is experience with scraping large amounts of data from websites.

    The data set created could be used for a follow-up Honours thesis by the student. If the Honours thesis is of sufficient quality, its outcomes could be used for a scientific publication co-authored with Benedikt Heid.

    After this Summer Scholarship, the student will have improved their skills in data analysis and management, improving their career prospects in any data-heavy job environment. (“Big Data”)

  • Uncovering the determinants of export success or firms

    Institute for International Trade

    Supervisor: Laura Marquez-Ramos

    Project Description

    This project offers the student a hands-on experience as part of a unique research project in empirical international economics. Via a special contract with the Indonesian Statistical Office, the Institute for International Trade (IIT) has access to administrative firm-level data (20+ years, ~15,000 firms each year). These data are increasingly used at the cutting edge of empirical research in international economics. This enables the student to participate in a high potential research project aiming at creating publications in leading academic journals. The student is expected to work closely with her supervisor to gain insights about the factors that determine the successful entering of the export market for Indonesian firms.

    The project will help to inform policy makers that are interested in promoting successful entry into export markets. The insights gained from the project will be of interest not only to the Indonesian community, but also to Australia as such detailed administrative data are currently not publicly available for academic research in Australia. Therefore, the data will allow uncovering factors of export success that will be of direct policy relevance for Australia.

    We welcome candidates with:

    • strong interest in international trade (students majoring in economics, commerce, business and closely related fields are encouraged to apply)
    • ability to work with data (using tools such as Stata or R; statistical knowledge is not required)
    • basic understanding of Indonesian language (not required but would be an advantage)
  • How do we do? SME evaluations of university engagement

    Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre

    Supervisor: Professor Carolin Plewa

    Project Description

    The importance of university-industry engagement is commonly recognised, both in Australia and overseas. Joining the different yet complementary strengths that exist in higher education and business can not only stimulate the innovation engine that is necessary for the Australian economy, it also enhances the development of human capital in a globally connected work. Yet, while Australia has seen a recent, sharp increase in activities aimed at improving collaboration between universities and business, it continues to rank low in terms of such collaboration if compared to other economies globally. In particular, with extant research focusing primarily on large multinational organisations, we have limited knowledge about engagement practices by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    Hence, this project focuses specifically on SMEs that are engaging with universities across a range of activities, from collaborative research and consulting to work placements for students, involvement in curriculum design or participation in governance mechanisms, to name a few. In particular, we seek to identify how SMEs evaluate their engagement with universities. Recognising the diverse characteristics of SMEs, as well as the diversity of activities they may undertake with universities, this research aims to develop a comprehensive framework for a dual purpose – advance the topical literature on SME – university engagement as well as provide a practical tool for SMEs informing the evaluation of their engagement endeavours. With a PhD student currently undertaking research focused on large, multinational organisations, we anticipate a potential for widely applicable findings across these two projects.

  • Saved from vice? The effects of prohibition on savings

    School of Economics

    Supervisor: Florian Ploeckl

    Project Description

    The prohibition of alcohol in the US during the interwar era was a large social engineering experiment designed to change behaviour patterns of the population. It did have noticeable impact on a wide range of social characteristics from crime to child mortality. Comparatively little is known about changes in economic behaviour, in particular the propensity to save.

    A few years before the introduction of nationwide prohibition the US Postal Service started to provide savings services through its extensive branch network. The service was designed to service the poor that did not make use of savings facilities provided by existing private savings banks. One particular target audience were immigrants who made use of the Postal service’s international money order services to remit money back to their countries of origin.

    The focus on previously unbanked makes postal savings an ideal financial outcome to illuminate whether the intention of encouraging responsible and forward looking economic behaviour through the banning of alcohol was fulfilled. The available local data on the number of savers and the aggregate savings amount allows to determine whether prohibition encouraged people to start saving, whether it led to existing savers to save more or whether it had no measurable impact.

    The project can focus on one of two possibilities:

    • Design, construct and explore the data set for the empirical analysis
    • Search, review and summarize the Economics literature for the effect of vice taxes and large social engineering policies.

    Please contact Florian Ploeckl before applying to this project due to constraints on possible time periods.

  • The plight of the ‘invisible’ victim: committing ‘routine’ crimes

    Adelaide Law School (SA Law Reform Institute)

    Supervisor: David Plater

    Project Description

    The effects of domestic violence are a prominent contemporary concern. Victims of domestic violence often commit crimes in response to threats from their abuser. Academic research on battered women and criminal responsibility has overwhelmingly focussed on the extreme situation of victims who kill their abuser and the problems in employing defences such as self-defence or provocation in such a context. However, there is an almost total lack of research as to victims of family violence who commit ‘routine’ (but often still serious) crimes as a result of threats from their abuser. Research reveals that battered women frequently commit ‘routine’ crimes under threat from their abusive partners, ranging from minor social security fraud to child sexual abuse. The defence of duress, which has historically assisted persons who offend under the threat of another, appears to be a means which could assist these battered offenders. However, duress is ‘radically under-utilised’ in this context, as the defence is ‘ill-fitting and ineffective’ for victims of domestic violence who are compelled to offend.

    This project seeks to fill the research gap for these ‘invisible’ victims, by examining the nature, extent and outcome of ‘routine’ crimes committed by victims of domestic violence. This will inform and support the examination of options for potential reforms to better accommodate battered offenders. It will discuss the legitimacy of concerns that any reform will open the floodgates to claims of duress, especially to battered women who commit serious crimes. The project proposes to explore three competing models: a sentencing solution, the duress provision within the Australian Model Criminal Code and a domestic violence defence peculiar to battered offenders. This is an important, topical but under-studied area. This project will further the recent work in this area of the South Australian Law Reform Institute.