Student research projects

Student research at Southern Synergy

Students at Southern Synergy include Honours, Masters and PhD students. Research areas are: Adult Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research with a focus on vulnerable populations.

View the student projects currently available with Southern Synergy.

2021-2022 Summer Scholars

Lyndsey Hipgrave

As an undergraduate Psychology and Social Work student, I was offered a scholarship by the team at Southern Synergy to complete an internship over 13 weeks in the 2021-2022 summer period. I was fortunate to have spent the first few weeks in the office getting to know the team on a face-to-face basis and assisting with general administration duties, however due to COVID-19 restrictions, the remainder of the internship was undertaken from home. Even so, I was given opportunities to develop my skills in many areas applicable to my tertiary studies and prospective line of work.

The first few weeks were spent completing tasks relating to the International Conference on Mindfulness (ICM2022) which will be held in Melbourne later this year. This included searching for potential Left to right: Lyndsey & Jasminesubcommittee members and keynote speakers, assisting with the quarterly Mindfulness Update newsletter to promote the ICM2022, and sitting in on Zoom workshops. Following this, I spent some time looking at Monash Health Seeding Grant applications which involved creating spreadsheets with data taken from these as well as producing a literature search for one of the proposed topics. I also assisted with editing one of the PULSAR project papers - this was an exciting opportunity to gain exposure to the journal publication process, and witnessing it all come together helped me to understand the amount of teamwork that goes into having a paper published. In my final weeks, I spent a significant portion of my time assisting with the upcoming Consumer Choice Pilot - a wonderful initiative in which Southern Synergy and Consumer Consultants are collaborating to develop a project seeking to promote consumers’ rights to exercise choice in their care during their stay on a mental health inpatient ward. My work on this involved writing literature reviews, attending weekly meetings with the Consumer Consultant team, and completing an ethics application to have the evaluation process for the project approved. Though I was unfamiliar with the ethics approval procedure, I felt supported and encouraged by my supervisors and the Consumer Consultants, and as such I was extremely pleased to have gained experience in this process. Alongside my work on these tasks, I engaged with Southern Synergy’s weekly mindfulness session which was guided by either Dr Fran Shawyer or Prof Graham Meadows - an initiative I believe would serve any workplace well - and my co-scholar and I used these sessions not only as an opportunity to strengthen the skill of sitting in stillness but to ask questions about meditation, mindfulness and Buddhism.

This opportunity has provided me with a wealth of new knowledge and I am in a debt of gratitude for being offered this time to work on these skills. Not only are Southern Synergy engaged with research projects that seek to genuinely empower and improve the lives of mental health service users, they also offer a dynamic and innovative environment for students to cultivate competencies in a vast array of critical areas, and I look forward to incorporating the learnings from this experience into my future professional endeavours.

Jasmine Skvortsova

My time with Southern Synergy has been a deeply enriching experience and the perfect complement to my undergraduate studies in Psychology at Monash. Working as a member of the Southern Synergy team granted such valuable insight into the many roles researchers undertake, particularly in terms of the processes behind the production and publication of scientific literature. Spending the summer at Southern Synergy also offered the experience of collaborating with senior professionals in the field, exposure to exciting new research directions, and the opportunity to immerse myself in the vibrant research networks across Monash Health. The scholarship challenged me to put my studies into practice, as well as to gain practical new skills. Most importantly, I was able to accomplish this with all the guidance, encouragement, and support afforded by the Southern Synergy team. As a result, I feel more prepared than ever to venture into the professional world of academia beyond university.

Bachelor of Medical Science (Honours) at Southern Synergy

Are you interested in wellbeing and mental health research with vulnerable groups such as refugees?  Enhance your MBBS experience, help people, get into research, make discoveries, and give yourself career options with a BMedSci research project. Southern Synergy has a wealth of mental health research expertise and dedicated researchers who are experienced mentors for students.

We have projects requiring students:

  • A comparative examination of the mental health needs of refugees and asylum seekers
  • Medicare services for mental health care: An examination of horizontal and vertical comprehensiveness
  • Effect of group-based mindfulness based cognitive therapy on medication adherence in people with major depressive disorder
  • Mental health and Recovery-Oriented Practice: Are consumers' experiences of recovery aligned with recovery oriented practice across mental health service sectors?

Find out more

Projects at Southern Synergy can be designed for topics concerning mental health services research.

For more information about doing a BMedSc(Hons) and research projects at Southern Synergy contact: