Network Analysis of Musical Improvisation in Australia


The MARCS Institute

Lead Researcher: Professor Roger Dean

About the project

A PhD scholarship is available to graduates with a backround in sociology, musicology, music performance or computer science. The scholarship forms part of a newly-funded Australian Research Council (ARC) project; the successful candidate will have opportunities to contribute to this project while also developing their own related but independent program of doctoral research.

The ARC project aims to employ social network analysis techniques to characterise the development of Australian improvised music practices since 1970. In particular, the project will examine the evolving relationships which emerge between the social networks of musicians and the musical styles they draw upon in their improvisatory practise. The project draws on both quantitative (e.g. temporal network modelling; music feature analysis) and qualitative (e.g. interviews; musicological analysis) research methods.

The scholarship is offered by the MARCS Institute(opens in new window)Opens in a new window, whose Music Science group has a strong tradition of quantitative research in areas of music creation and perception. The project also involves academic partners in fields of sociology and musicology, and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to develop mixed methods approaches to their research. The project’s academic team is led by Professor Roger Dean (WSU), together with Dr Sandy Evans (UNSW), A/Prof Liam Magee (WSU) and Dr Simon Chambers (WSU).

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs, supported by the Research Training Program (RTP) Fee Offset.
  • International candidates will receive a tax-free stipend of $30,000(AUD) per annum for up to 3 years to support living costs. Those with a strong track record will be eligible for a tuition fee waiver.
  • Support for conference attendance, fieldwork and additional costs as approved by the MARCS Institute.
  • Access to the extensive range of MARCS specialised equipment and laboratory facilities.
  • Additional funding to support training and equipment purchases.
  • A rich environment of support and academic expertise via supervisory panels, seminars, colloquia, international and industry collaborations.

International candidates are required to hold an Overseas Student Health Care (OSHC)(opens in new window)Opens in a new window insurance policy for the duration their study in Australia. This cost is not covered by the scholarship.

Eligibility criteria

We welcome applicants from a range of backgrounds, who are keen to apply their skills to apply network analysis techniques to the field of music performance and creation. Whatever their primary interest, the appointed candidate will also participate in some of the interview/focus group aspects of the project.

The successful applicant should:

  • hold qualifications and experience equal to one of the following (i) an Australian First Class Bachelor (Honours) degree, (ii) coursework Masters with at least 25% research component, (iii) a Research Masters degree, or (iv) equivalent international qualifications.
  • have an academic background in sociology, musicology, music performance or computer science.
  • have an interest in mixed-methods approaches to research.
  • have some interest in improvised music.
  • be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.

International applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency.(opens in new window)Opens in a new window

How to apply

Follow the step-by-step instructions on the how to apply for a project scholarship(opens in new window)Opens in a new window page.

  • Note: You do not need to complete 'Step 5: Submit an online application for admission' when applying for this scholarship. You must complete 'Step 6: Submit an online application for a project scholarship'.

Incomplete applications or applications that do not conform to the above requirements will not be considered.

For questions and advice about the research project, please contact the Lead Researcher;
Professor Roger Dean:

For questions and advice about the application process, please contact the Graduate Research School:

Applications close 31 August 2022

*Applications close at 11.59pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).

Scholarship reference code: PS2022_052_MARCS