ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society

PhD Scholarship

Applications are invited from suitably qualified scholars for a PhD scholarship to undertake a higher degree by research through the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society . This scholarship is open to both domestic and international students.

Melbourne Law School (MLS) is Australia’s first all-graduate law faculty. MLS was the first faculty in Australia to teach law, and awarded this country’s first law degrees. The Law School is now fully graduate with its Juris Doctor for admission to practice recognised as a high level qualification in Australia and beyond. Its faculty is a vibrant community of creative scholars, committed to a highly collegial, research-intensive institutional life.

The rapid expansion of data-driven automated decision-making enabled by technologies from machine learning to blockchain has great potential benefits, while it also creates serious new risks, both tangible and intangible. Potential harms include discrimination and other forms of unfair treatment against individuals, disadvantaged communities and the spread of disinformation for political and commercial ends. Increasing inequality and diminished economic security have been noted as risks in the coming decade.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADM+S Centre) is a new, cross-disciplinary, national research centre, which aims to aims to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making. Funded by the Australian Research Council from 2020 to 2026, ADM+S is hosted at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia, with nodes in eight other Australian universities, including the University of Melbourne. The ADM+S Centre brings together leading researchers in the humanities, law, social and technological sciences in an international research, industry and civil society network. Its research is structured into four programs—Institutions, Data, People and Technology—and four priority domains for public engagement—news and media, transport, social services and health.

The successful candidate will be embedded in The University of Melbourne node of the ADM+S Centre and will benefit from a research intensive and collegial environment. The PhD candidate will be expected to take part in the life of the Centre, and attend seminars, workshops, and reading groups. In addition, the successful candidate will benefit from the collegial environment for PhD students at Melbourne Law School, which includes a comprehensive orientation program, a weekly Research Support Program, three graduate research colloquia per year and an active Graduate Students Association.  Involvement in the Centre’s interdisciplinary PhD program provides another support network in a multi-disciplinary environment.  Successful candidates may also apply for a competitive MLS Teaching Fellowship, which includes teacher training and mentoring, teaching and administrative experience.

Graduate research projects

The University of Melbourne node of the ADM+S Centre is offering a PhD scholarship to commence in 2021 for a project supervised by one or more of the Centre’s investigators at the Melbourne Law School:

Any PhD proposal that falls within the scope of the ADM+S Centre and its Melbourne Law School investigators will be considered. There are extensive professional development opportunities available to PhD candidates through the ADM+S Centre as well as the Melbourne Law School, with both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary scope.

For more information, please contact Andrew Kenyon or any of the investigators listed above.

Stipend and benefits

Scholarship recipients will be awarded benefits in line with the University's Graduate Research Scholarships. An annual stipend of AUD $31,200 (tax free), and will be eligible to apply for up to AUD $4,000 project funding over the course of their candidature for approved travel, fieldwork and conference attendance. The scholarship is available for a maximum period of 3.5 years, with no further extensions possible.

A relocation allowance of AUD $2,000 may be granted for candidates who need to move from outside Victoria or AUD $3,000 for candidates who need to move from outside Australia to study at the University of Melbourne.  Limited paid sick, maternity and parental leave is available.


Eligible applicants must:

  • have completed tertiary studies that are at least equivalent to a 4-year honours degree with a minimum result equivalent to a first class Honours (80%) or an equivalent level of academic attainment as demonstrated by a high 2A undergraduate degree combined with relevant work experience, research publications, referees’ reports or other research experience.
  • be available to undertake research full-time in Melbourne.
  • have not completed a PhD previously.
  • be able to commence their PhD prior to 15 December 2021.
  • must comply with the University's minimum entry requirements including English language requirements.

Further details on terms and conditions of this scholarship can be found here.

Commencement of candidature

The successful candidate must commence their PhD any time up to 15 December 2021.

Applications for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society PhD scholarship must be submitted with clearly identified titles as listed below, and include the following:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • All prior undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts
  • Research proposal (maximum 2,000 words)
  • Statement outlining reasons for seeking to participate in the Centre's program (maximum 250 words)
  • Information on prior research completed (eg. Honours thesis, Masters thesis)

Further, to maintain confidentiality, two referee reports are to be sent directly from the referees to

Address the application to Professor Andrew Kenyon, and submit it to

Important Dates

Friday 6 November 2020 
PhD Scholarship application submission closes


Direct enquiries about the application process to: