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

  • The staggered introduction of U.S state-level consumer protection laws

    In an attempt to conduct pseudo-natural experiments, business research that examines the impact that commercial and consumer laws have on corporate behaviour is very popular. This project focuses on undertaking archival research to unearth amendments to state-level consumer/commercial statuses in the U.S. to use as part of conducting pseudo-natural experimental research.

    The student would be responsible to research, using online resources, historical statute changes over a 20-year period and determine how substantive these changes are. The student will also have an opportunity to suggest alternative research avenues to explore using the pseudo-natural experimental setting.

    Supervisor: Professor Ralf Zurbrugg

  • Lawmaking in the 21st century: strengthening the parliamentary scrutiny of delegated legislation

    Delegated legislation is the principal form of lawmaking in Australia, making up approximately 90% of all new law that is made. Yet such laws do not go through the ordinary parliamentary process as they are made directly by the Executive Government. This project examines in comparative perspective the ways in which these laws are scrutinised by Parliament and explores solutions for how these scrutiny processes can be strengthened to promote greater accountability and transparency in lawmaking.

    Students will collate and summarise primary and secondary materials relating to the parliamentary scrutiny of delegated legislation in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

    Supervisor: Associate Professor Lorne Neudorf

  • Beyond the usual suspects: upholding honest and respectful consultation with Aboriginal communities

    A crucial premise of modern law reform and government is that consultation should not be confined to the ‘usual suspects’ such as lawyers and experts, but should include any interested community affected by the proposed law or decision. This especially applies to traditionally overlooked communities such as Aboriginal communities. Legally sound consultation is governed by the Gunning principles (see ex parte Coughlan [2001] QB 213, [108]), but these are arguably incomplete for consultation with Aboriginal communities. The legacy of colonisation in Australia has effectively silenced Aboriginal communities. Despite its importance, consultation with Aboriginal communities in Government and other decisions remains all too often formulaic, perfunctory or tokenistic. ‘Consultation fatigue’ is also a concern. This project examines the requirements of legally sound consultation but also the need for honest and respectful consultation with Aboriginal communities. This project looks at the relevant law and experience of consultation with Indigenous communities in New Zealand and Canada and what this may offer in an Australian context. The project considers the importance, content and content of authentic and culturally appropriate consultation with Aboriginal communities. It contrasts ‘co-design’ with ‘consultation’. The project will examine a case study such as succession law or environmental approval to identify ‘best practice’ consultation with Aboriginal communities. There is no single model that defines ‘honest and respectful’ consultation but the close and meaningful input of Aboriginal communities is crucial. It not only improves the final ‘product’ but has wider value. As Justice Neave notes, public participation in a law reform or consultation process is a form of ‘civic engagement’ or ‘deliberative democracy’, which, if properly conducted, ‘can contribute to social justice by giving people in marginalised groups in the community an opportunity to be treated with dignity and to have their concerns taken seriously’. This project has wider application than SALRI. 

    The student will conduct and prepare a literature review of existing sources as to the requirements or least central principles of legally sound but also meaningful and culturally appropriate consultation with Aboriginal communities, including the South Australian context. The student will also support and further SALRI consultation activities. The student will also select a case study, such as Aboriginal succession law or environmental approvals, and offer their concise suggestions and reasoning for best practice consultation with Aboriginal communities in this area.

    Supervisors: Dr David Plater and Associate Professor Peter Burdon

  • Serving together - social capital & voluntary service organizations

    Social Capital describes the “features of social organization, such as trust, norms, and networks that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating co-ordinated actions” (Putnam 1993). 
    Social capital, together with physical and human capital, influences and shapes the economic development and wellbeing of individuals, local communities, whole countries.

    Voluntary service organizations, such as Rotary clubs, are an institution that is often mentioned in relation to social capital. Although they are shown to have a positive effect on the local community, for example in the recovery from disasters such as bush fires, it is not obvious if they are the cause of higher social capital or simply a reflection of underlying social capital in the community.

    The project intends to use the 100 year history of the Rotary club in Australia to trace out the development of social capital throughout local Australian communities. Particular attention is paid to the relative roles of voluntary community organizations and public, government institutions for the development of social capital.

    Membership in a voluntary service organization (such as Rotary or Rotaract) is not required but might be helpful.

    The student will assist in the preparation of a literature review on the economic and social impact and role of voluntary service organizations such as Rotary as well as in the identification and exploration of related data sources.

    Supervisor: Dr Florian Ploeckl

  • Saved from vice? The effects of prohibition on financial savings

    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.

    Supervisor: Dr Florian Ploeckl

  • International supply chains and vulnerability to shocks

    The recent blockage of the Suez Canal and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic with its lack of vaccines in Australia have highlighted the vulnerability of international trade and supply chains of international businesses and societies to unexpected shocks. Different countries are exposed in different ways to such shocks, depending on their manufacturing base as well as the diversity of their suppliers. Surprisingly, relatively little is known about which countries and which products are particularly vulnerable to such supply chain disruptions and uncertainty shocks.

    During this scholarship, you will work with closely with Benedikt Heid trying to uncover which countries and which products are particularly exposed to these vulnerabilities, creating and analysing large datasets of detailed international trade data.

    Therefore, your prior experience in programming statistical software (Stata, R, Matlab), and/or general-purpose programming languages (Julia, Python, JavaScript etc.) as well as experience in business data analytics or statistics will be very helpful.

    Ideally, you can use the data set created during your scholarship for a follow-up Honours thesis in Economics or even a joint publication.

    Benedikt Heid will closely work with the student to create a large panel data set of monthly bilateral trade data at the HS6-digit product level data using the COMTRADE database whose subscription is financed by the School of Economics and Public Policy. These data are larger (magnitude of several gigabytes), so part of the internship will be to work together with Heid to find out how to efficiently access and store these data for later retrieval using custom programming in Julia or similar languages.

    With support from Heid, the student will bring the data (or parts of it) into a form suitable for analysing the trends in product level volatility of trade flows to identify particularly vulnerable products and supply chains.

    Ideally, the student creates an ongoing research relationship with Heid and a pipeline for an Honours thesis in Economics, and, if the work is of sufficient quality, for a potentially co-authored publication.

    Supervisor: Dr Benedikt Heid

  • The origins of on-the-spot fines

    “The Bulletin”, 9 March 1922 ( at p. 8areports on a long standing practice of the Adelaide City Council: it allows contraventions of its by-laws to be expiated by paying a fixed sum into the councils coffers and then refrains from taking the matter to court. I know from Robert Thornton of the City Archives that they hold files on this topic, and it also receives a brief mention in Peter Morton, After Light (Wakefield, Kent Town 1996), pp. 246f.

    On-the-spot fines are a major component of the criminal justice system nowadays (they have certainly done the lions share of work during the pandemic, not to mention the terror they strike into the hearts of all motorists) and I appear to have stumbled on their origins – unless something similar was also happening somewhere else, although if so an Australian-wide publication, “The Bulletin”, was unaware off it. “The Bulletin” also reports, however, criticism of this innovation by Mr Justice Angas Parsons in 1922.

    This project will investigate the origins and reception of on-the-spot fines from their obscure beginnings with the Adelaide City Council up to their becoming officially recognised in general legislation such as the Expiation Offences Act 1987 (S.A).

    Supervisor: Professor Greg Taylor

  • Measuring the impact of Accessible Justice Project

    The Accessible Justice Project (AJP), which is a partnership between the Adelaide Law School and Adelaide law firm Lipman Karas provides legal expertise for a reduced fee to a client group identified by the Law Council of Australia as the ‘missing middle – people seeking legal advice but who are not eligible for legal aid and who cannot afford the standard commercial fees charged by a legal firm.

    Lipman Karas have enquired as to how one might be able to best measure the impact of AJP. The purpose of the assessment would be to provide information to the stake holders and industry on the overall positive contribution of the AJP to society. The report could include information on client benefits, employment contribution, efficiency savings and effectiveness of our approach i.e. information/cost savings of court time and process and the indirect benefit of prompt and efficient dispute resolution on the individual and society. Overall, this project seeks to produce a report that would measure the overall social policy benefits of the initiative to the community

    Supervisor: Associate Professor Mandar Oak

  • Public financial integrity: audit risk in local governments of Australia

    This project aims to conduct empirical research into audit risk within local governments. We investigate the roles of public auditors, relative to private auditors, in local governments’ audit risk. We utilize unique Australian features that while some States in Australia mandate that local governments are audited by public auditors, other States allow local government audits to be conducted by private auditors. This project expects to generate new knowledge in the area of public-sector governance using novel data and techniques. The expected outcomes of this project enhance the capacity to build institutional development. This should provide significant policy advice on local governments and sizable benefits to Australian communities.

    The student will be involved in data collection and curation. The project involves tasks such as data collection, curation, and analysis, as well as the development of a new theory. The project will benefit from the students’ research work input and skills to facilitate managing state-level and council-level data sets. The students will benefit from the research training provided by the Adelaide Business School. The student will have the opportunity to develop his or her own related real-world data projects. It ensures that the student will have an excellent level of guidance and supervision. The variety of tasks and questions addressed by the topic also ensure that the project has enough academic depth and will result in a well-rounded learning experience.

    Supervisor: Dr Jeffrey Yu