The program seeks to develop the future leaders of clinical innovation by offering an opportunity to integrate pre-PhD, PhD and initial post-PhD research training with completion of vocational training of the highest standard. Bespoke and tailored towards the research direction of each successful candidate, MACH-Track is flexibly designed to adapt to any specialist college-accredited discipline.

“MACH-Track is a new program that allows promising recently-qualified doctors to integrate career development in research, including a PhD, with completion of postgraduate specialist or generalist training. This exciting new scheme is a pilot for medical workforce development that will ensure our nation has the research-active clinical innovators it needs to ensure a healthy future for all Australians.”

Professor Sir John Savill, MACH Executive Director 

Meet our successful MACH-Track trainees

We will be sharing the latest updates on their work in our newsletters, on twitter and on our website.

 

Intake for the 2023 MACH-Track cohort will begin in mid-2022 and run over 5 – 6 years:

Year 1 (2023): Pre-PhD (start year of the program) – 80% clinical (vocational/advanced) training / 20% PhD preparation

Years 2 – 4 (2024-2026): PhD scholarship – 80% PhD / 20% clinical role

Year 5 (2027): Post-PhD – 80% clinical (vocational/advanced) training / 20% preparation for post-doctoral fellowship application

Years 6 and 6+ (2028+): Same as Year 5 until completion of clinical (vocational/advanced) training and, ideally, a post-doctoral fellowship

In total, eight MACH-Track scholarships will be awarded in 2022. Five will be awarded to doctors undertaking training in any Australian Medical Council recognised specialty including General Practice and Public Health. Three will be awarded to either nurses and midwives at Masters level working towards or at an advanced level of practice or physiotherapists working towards advanced practice. There may be additional opportunities for candidates with a specific interest in brain cancers and Parkinson’s Disease.

The following selection of PhD opportunities are provided to give applicants an idea of what to consider during their first year of MACH-Track. There will be a “taster” Year 1 mini-project available for each substantive 3-year PhD project:
Specimen PhD Projects available
  • Satellite imaging to transform detection of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal vascular diseases
  • Repair of the cornea to restore vision: Translation to a Surgical Repair Device
  • Neuronal responses to mitochondrial DNA haplogroups.

Department of General Practice

  • Utilising technology to optimise the management of heart failure in primary care
  • The clinical utility of pharmacogenomic testing to inform antidepressant prescribing in primary care.

Florey Institute

  • Investigating the Role of Epigenetics in Multiple Sclerosis
  • Developing novel therapies to harness the progression of Multiple Sclerosis.

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

  • Understanding disease mechanisms and outcomes in Australian children with acute stroke using sophisticated blood and neuroimaging biomarkers
  • Taking placenta to scale: The population burden of disordered placentation and placental function
  • Early life inflammation in non-communicable childhood disease.

National Ageing Research Institute

  • A tool for predicting prolonged grief in family carers of people living with dementia
  • Identifying elder abuse in medical settings
  • Enhancing 3D (dementia, delirium, depression) care for older people in residential care via micro-learning.

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute

  • Strategies to enhance the efficacy of targeted therapies in gastrointestinal cancers
  • a) Improving tyrosine kinase inhibitors-based therapies for metastatic Her2+ breast cancer
    b) Investigating the contribution of matrix/integrin signalling in breast cancer metastasis and therapy resistance
  • a) Deploying novel technologies to identify resistance mechanisms in patients with haematological malignancies receiving targeted therapies
    b) Identifying new strategies for minimum residual disease monitoring to optimise response assessment in myeloid & lymphoid malignancies.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre

  • Understanding the behaviour of cancer at single cell resolution
  • Improving management of infections in cancer
  • Clinical investigation of the immune response to radiotherapy and immunotherapy.

WEHI

  • Translational research into haematological malignancies
  • Utilising pre-clinical models to discover novel therapies for tuberculosis
  • Hyposplenism in coeliac disease.

For more information about these specialisations, contact [email protected]

MACH-Track is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents who will be in-post as eligible registered health practitioners in one of the ten MACH-affiliated health services in February 2023. The following groups of practitioners are eligible:

  • Doctors in vocational training in any recognised specialty, including General Practice and Public Health. Applicants should have won a place (or anticipate doing so before February 2023) in a Melbourne-centred vocational training program approved by the relevant Royal/Specialist College; for specialties with two-stage programs (eg physicians) trainees should have secured a place in an advanced training program. General Practice trainees will require sponsorship by the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice (see below). Public Health applicants must have a Master of Public Health and be anticipating a work role in a MACH-affiliated organisation in 2023. The Track is supported by the leadership of all 19 MACH partners and by all Royal and Specialist Colleges approached so far. Once appointed each trainee will work with the MACH Office, clinical employers, and the relevant training committees of their Royal/Specialist College to craft a bespoke program that will ensure completion of an excellent clinical training pathway.
  • Nurses and Midwives employed within a MACH-affiliated Health Service; who have or are completing a Masters degree in Nursing, Midwifery or other relevant subject such as Public Health; and are working with an advanced level of practice (for example, Clinical Nurse/Midwifery Consultant or Nurse Practitioner) and who aspire to Nurse/Midwife Clinician Researcher roles that combine specialist, advanced clinical practice with research leadership.
  • Physiotherapists working towards senior clinical roles within a MACH-affiliated Health Service. For example, many MACH-affiliated Health Services have roles for senior advanced practice physiotherapists (typically at Grade 3 or 4) and organise in-house training programs to prepare early career practitioners (typically at Grades 1 or 2); for example, Austin Health has senior, advanced practice clinical roles for physiotherapists in ICU, Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

While most applicants will be working currently to a full-time pattern, MACH-Track can accommodate practitioners working part-time (0.5FTE or above). Eligibility enquiries can be sent to [email protected].

 

The selection committee will base its assessment on the application form, applicant career aspiration, CV and referee reports.

Applications should be sent by 9am Monday 1st August 2022 to [email protected]unimelb.edu.au and must include:

  1. A letter of application no longer than 500 words explaining why the applicant wants to pursue PhD training through the MACH-Track; NB it is not necessary to express interest in any particular PhD project, but it would help if “all-comer” applicants could identify a general area of interest such as ‘cancer research’, ‘big data’, ‘clinical trials’, ‘stroke rehabilitation’ or any other broad area of research interest;
  2. A) FOR DOCTORS, brief details of the candidate’s vocational training program, with dates and location of each attachment; proposed end date; and details of the relevant College training committee including email contact for the lead College administrator;
    B) FOR NURSES, MIDWIVES AND PHYSIOTHERAPISTS (NMP), brief details of the plans to train for advanced practice;
  3. Full CV, to include brief details of any research projects undertaken, with details as to how these were disseminated (report for supervisors, abstract presentation at meeting, publication, etc).
  4. A brief letter of support from an academic referee able to comment on the candidate’s potential for completing a PhD;
  5. A brief letter from the candidate’s current clinical career development supervisor confirming that the candidate is making satisfactory progress in clinical training and stating support for the candidate seeking flexibility in clinical training if appointed.
  6. For General Practice trainees, a brief note from A/Prof Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis confirming sponsorship by the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice.

Candidates short-listed for interview will be informed generally at the end of August.

Interviews will likely be held at the end of September ahead of a February start.

To be confirmed for 2023 intake.

1 June 2022: Applications open

1 August 2022: Applications close at 9 AM (AEST)

3 August 2022: Shortlisting for NMPs

11 August 2022: Shortlisting for Doctors

26 August 2022: Invitations sent out to short-listed candidates for interviews

21 September: Interviews for NMPs

23 September: Interviews for Doctors

February 2023: Successful applicants to start their MACH-Track journey

MACH-Track Co-Directors

The MACH-Track Co-Directors are:

Associate Professor Margie Danchin
MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Group Leader, Vaccine Uptake, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute; Paediatrician, Department of General Medicine,The Royal Children’s Hospital; A/Prof and David Bickart Clinician Scientist Fellow, Department of Paediatrics and School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne; Director Clinician Scientist pathways, The University of Melbourne Chair, Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI).

Professor Mark Dawson
FAHMS MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA, PhD

Associate Director for Research Translation; Consultant Haematologist; Program Head, Cancer Biology & Therapeutics; Head, Cancer Epigenetics Laboratory, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Professor Kate Drummond AM
MBBS, MD, FRACS

Neurosurgeon; Director of Neurosurgery, RMH; Head of Central Nervous System Tumours, VCCC, Parkville Precinct.

Professor Hui K. Gan
MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Director, Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, Austin Health; Clinical Research Lead and Co-Director, Centre for Research Excellence in Brain Cancer Research, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.

Associate Professor Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis
BSc(Hons), MBBS(Hons), CHIA PhD FRACGP

Academic General Practitioner and Lead, Data Driven Quality Improvement Research Theme, Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne; Chair, RACGP Expert Committee – Research.

Please send all MACH-Track enquires to [email protected]