Expressions of interest are invited for the new UNSW Rainbow Families PhD Top-Up Scholarship: $15,000 per annum for 3.5 years Research Doctorates (full-time equivalent). This top-up scholarship can be awarded in addition to other scholarships, such as the RTP.

Founded as a partnership between Rainbow Families and UNSW Arts, Design and Architecture, the purpose of the scholarship is to provide an additional stipend to support doctoral candidates who are taking a humanities, arts or social science approach to researching the experiences of LGBTQ+ parents and their children in Australia.


  • Domestic candidates only
  • New candidates only
  • PhD candidates only
  • Full or part-time enrolment (duration and rate pro-rated), but full-time preferred
  • Requires approval for admission to either the Centre for Social Research in Health or the Social Policy Research Centre doctoral programs (see below)
  • May be held separately, or in conjunction with another Scholarship (pending the other award’s Terms & Conditions)

Scholarship details

The Scholarship recipient will be supervised by at least one academic in either the Centre for Social Research in Health or the Social Policy Research Centre, but additional supervisors can be proposed from outside these centres, other UNSW faculties, or potentially from other universities, with up to three in total. These centres draw on a history of more than 30 and 40 (respectively) years of high quality multidisciplinary and community-partnered social research on health, rights and inclusion, including for LGBTQ+ communities. Centre for Social Research in Health researchers have particular expertise in health, gender, sexuality, and health systems, and Social Policy Research Centre in families, children, care, and social services.

The successful candidate will be supported to develop a meaningful collaboration with Rainbow Families to support the design, conduct, dissemination and impact of their research. Rainbow Families Inc is the peak organisation supporting LGBTQ+ parents and their children in Australia. As a charity, registered with the ACNC, Rainbow Families works to reduce discrimination and disadvantage faced by children of LGBTQ+ parents so they can thrive and shine, and is a support network for parents and carers, as well as future parents and carers. Rainbow Families defines a Rainbow Family as any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer person who has a child or children; or is planning on having a child or children by way of donor insemination (known or unknown), surrogacy (altruistic or commercial), foster care, fostering to adoption, adoption (domestic or international), opposite­ sex relationship, co-parenting or other means.

How to apply

1)    Email Professor Christy Newman (Working Group Chair) as soon as possible to discuss potential areas of research interest, supervision and eligibility for admission to the doctoral program. The scholarship working group also includes current doctoral candidates who are also very happy to talk with applicants about their experience, and advice for their applications, if that is of interest.

2)    If you are encouraged to apply for the top-up fund, prepare a written statement of no more than two pages in length, addressing the below selection criteria, and email this to Professor Newman before the first round application deadline of 28 June 2024:

  • Academic training and achievements in a relevant humanities, arts or social science discipline
  • Research training, experience and/or outputs
  • Career aims and interests with relevance to the Scholarship topic area
  • Brief outline of the proposed doctoral research aims, methods and potential outcomes
  •  Statement on how this doctoral project will contribute to extending the research base on LGBTQ+ parents and their children in Australia

3)    Submit an expression of interest for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Social Sciences (1272) (enrolling in either CSRH or SPRC), with the written support of your proposed supervision team, before 5 April 2024.

4)    You will then be invited to formally apply for scholarship and admission to UNSW, this must be completed by 3 May 2024.

5)    The successful Scholarship recipient will be notified by the end of June 2024, with the aim of commencing in T3 2024. Specific arrangements for being awarded the Scholarship will be put into place after an offer of enrolment is made.

Candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

School / Research Area

Centre for Social Research in Health

Social Policy Research Centre