The ACHI Fellowship by Training Program is an exciting opportunity for PhD candidates with an interest in Health Informatics.

There are many benefits of joining the program. Candidates will:

  • Obtain industry work experience allowing you to build a portfolio of work
  • Create a career pathway and future job network
  • Receive payment for two work placements – each placement is 6 month full time or 12 months part time (AU|NZD$50,000 plus superannuation per placement)
  • Join a cohort of other Health Informatics PhD candidates
  • Have an opportunity to develop their leadership skills
  • Receive ACHI Fellow status


Candidate applications will be accepted all year, with eligible candidates being invited to attend an interview in June or November. Successful candidates will be offered a place in the Fellowship by Training Program commencing in July or January.

A one-off non-refundable Application Administration Fee of AU $250 is payable at the time of application. The application fee is payable regardless of whether your application is successful or not. Payments are made through a third party payment system. Further details are available in the Application Guide.


Candidates are eligible to apply to the Fellowship by Training Program if they are currently enrolled in the first year of a research PhD (Health Informatics speciality) at an Australasian University. Those further advanced in their studies may be accepted in exceptional circumstances and should discuss their interest with the Program Manager prior to applying.

Applications will be accepted from:

  • Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents
  • Candidates who hold a valid visa to work and or study in Australia or New Zealand for the duration of the Fellowship Program. You will be required to provide evidence of any visas that you hold. Note: Candidates who hold a visa are responsible for ensuring that they continue to adhere to all terms and conditions of their visa if they are accepted into the program.

Selection Criteria

Candidate applications will be reviewed according to the following selection criteria:

  • A research topic relevant to the field of Health Informatics (see below section on PhD Requirements for more information about suitable topics)
  • A commitment to, and interest in, advancing the profession of health informatics through relevant work and or academic activity
  • A willingness to adhere to the ACHI Professional Code of Conduct
  • Where competition for Fellowship by Training positions exist, preference will be given to projects and placements involving Fellows of the College

Before submitting your application consider how your PhD thesis will analyse or expand knowledge about the use of information and communication technologies within health and/or biomedical informatics and healhcare. You will be asked to answer a question relating to this in your application.

The number of accepted applicants will vary year to year depending on the quality of the applications and the capacity of the program.

PhD Requirements

All candidates are required to manage their PhD directly with the Australian or New Zealand university they are enrolled in.

Candidates will be required to provide a summary of their thesis (including background, aims, methodology and methods) as well as evidence of their enrolment in their application to join the Fellowship by Training Program.

We recommend that successful candidates ensure that their PhD supervisor is informed of the requirements of the Fellowship by Training Program.

Successful candidates will be required to provide ACHI with updates on the progress of their studies throughout their Fellowship by Training experience.

I am considering a PhD, but have not yet applied or have not been accepted as yet. Should I apply to the Fellowship by Training Program now?

If you are not currently enrolled in a doctoral program but are considering your options, a list of potential PhD supervisors has been compiled which you may find useful.

You must be enrolled into a PhD doctoral program to apply for the Fellowship by Training Program.

Is my PhD suitable for the Fellowship by Training Program?

1. What is a PhD thesis topic relevant to the field of Health Informatics?

Health Informatics (HI) is a discipline with more than 50 years of existence. Along this period many sub-specialisations have emerged. HI is considered as the core set of information methods, theories and tools which are relevant to healthcare, biomedical research and public health. However depending on the application domain, different sub-specialities can be identified. For example when HI methods are applied in a clinical setting we refer to this as clinical informatics. Another way of explaining these sub-specialities is taking into account the final user of the systems, for example if they address the specific needs of a segment of a population we can refer to aged care informatics or if they address tissues and organs, imaging informatics.1Any area of research that aims to improve human health and longevity by employing digital technology is within HI guidelines.

HI research continues to transform healthcare in many areas including costs, the sharing of medical data, patient participation, greater coordination between providers, and improved patient outcomes.2

The HI field is evolving over time. This FAQ provides some guidance to students wishing to verify the eligibility of their PhD research for an application to the Australasian College of Informatics (ACHI) Fellowship by Training Program. It is not prescriptive; rather it is suggestive of current Health Informatics (HI) research work. A PhD thesis by research addressing any of these guidelines will be considered an eligible PhD thesis for the purposes of an ACHI Health Informatics by Training application.

Prospective HI Research Disciplines

Human & Social Context1

Translational Medical Sciences

Management Services1

Clinical Reasoning

Information & Communication Technology1

Pharmacy Sciences

Health & Biomedical Sciences1

Public Health Informatics

Information Sciences1

Ethical and Legal Sciences

High Performance Computing Sciences

Philosophical and Mathematic Sciences

Biogeographical Sciences

Education Sciences

2. What is a PhD thesis topic relevant to the field of Health Information Management?

In Australia, Health Information Management (HIM) is already defined as a distinct professional jurisdiction by HIMAA’ HIM Competency Standard for tertiary and postgraduate sector, and HIMAA’ Coder Units of Competency in the VET sector. HIM theses are complementary to the health informatics set of theses eligible for consideration in applications for the ACHI Fellowship by Training Program, but it is more fitting to define the relationship between these in consultation with the health information management professional jurisdiction at a future date.1 Therefore, the assessment of research domains considered eligible for ACHI Fellowship application purposes is listed in Part 1.

1. Pre-existing Health Informatics Educational Frameworks that informed the Certified Health Informatician Australia Health Informatics Competency Framework, December 2013. COACH/DHC (2012) AMIA (just revised in 2017) IMIA (2010)

2. E.H. Shortliffe & J.J Cimino (Eds) (2014) Biomedical Informatics: Computer Applications in Health Care and Biomedicine (Ed 4). Springer, London.

Do I need to notify my university that I am applying to the Fellowship by Training Program?

We recommend that you consult with your PhD supervisor prior to applying. You will need to be aware of your Universities policy regarding working during your PhD as this will impact when you complete your paid work placements. If you are on a scholarship you must also be aware of the terms and conditions prior to submitting your application.

ACHI may contact your PhD supervisor directly if required.

What happens if I defer my PhD?

All changes to your PhD are coordinated directly with your University. Please update the Fellowship Program Manager with any changes.

What happens if I don’t complete my PhD in the required timeframe?

Completion of your PhD is managed by the University that you are enrolled in. We ask that you keep the Fellowship Program Manager up to date on your expected submission date.

Can I apply for the Fellowship Program if I am studying my PhD part time?

Yes, you can. You should still be in the first year full time equivalent of your PhD studies to apply.

Can I apply if I am already on a scholarship?

Yes, you can. You will be required to suspend your PhD to complete your work placement. During this time your scholarship may also be suspended temporarily. Please refer to the terms and conditions of your scholarship prior to applying.

Work experience

Candidates are required to complete two 6 month paid placements (or part time equivalent) with a government agency, department, NGO or industry partner who is referred to as a host organisation.

ACHI will work closely with host organisations to create suitable roles working on specialised health informatics projects. Please note that the health informatic project or role may be outside of the candidates PhD topic/specialty.

A host organisation agrees to:

  • Offer a thorough induction into the organisation
  • Provide a clear job description and personal KPI’s
  • Conduct a through project briefing
  • Provide a qualified and experienced supervisor to guide candidate learning and development
  • Provide regular feedback on a candidates progress
  • Coordinate payment of a candidates salary

The benchmark salary is AUD|NZD$50,000 plus superannuation per 6 month full time or 12 month part time placement. However, we will also work within existing salary framework’s outlined in existing enterprise agreements or an organisations salary conditions.

Candidates will be required to sign an employment contract (or equivalent) with the host organisation and will be bound by their organisational policies and procedures.

During each work placement the candidate will be partnered with an ACHI Mentor. Candidates are also required to write a progress and completion report for each work placement.

If a candidate does not complete two work placements within the required time frame, and therefore does not meet the requirements of the Fellowship by Training Program, they will be directed to apply for Fellowship through the existing Fellowship by Application process.

When is the best time to complete the work placements?

You can apply for a work placement at any time although we recommend the earliest point of time to commence a work placement would be in Year 2 of your PhD. This is subject to ACHI’s approval.

We recommend that you consult with your PhD supervisor prior to making a decision and you fully understand the impact of this on your ability to complete your PhD on time.

You can complete your work placements once you have submitted your thesis. Your first work placement must be completed with 12 months of your PhD being awarded and both work placements must be completed within 24 months of your PhD being awarded.

Please note that ACHI can not guarantee that paid work placements will be available at the same time that you, the candidate, is available.

How am I matched to a host organisation?

We will work closely with you to match you to an appropriate host organisation that can offer a project or work environment that best suits your areas of interest and expertise. As the program is designed to broaden your health informatics experience the role/project may not necessarily be directly related to your PhD topic but it will be within the health informatics field.

You will be asked to nominate three organisations or government departments that you would like to work for as part of your application.

We also encouarge you to look for your own work placements, which will need to be approved by ACHI prior to commencing.

If ACHI is unable to offer two work placements to you within two years of being awarded your PhD your participation in the Fellowship by Training Program will come to an end and you will not be eligible to receive Fellowship. In this instance you will be directed to the Fellowship by Application process.

Our Fellowship Program Manager will talk to you more about work placement opportunities once you are accepted into the program.

Can I complete two work placements at the same organisation?

Yes, if you are working within two different teams or if you have two different line managers or supervisors during this time.

Will I be required to re-locate for my work placement?

If you are able, and willing, to relocate this may create more opportunities for you. However, relocation will be at your own cost and is not compulsory.

Can I do a part time work placement?

Yes, however this is dependent on the host organisation. If you have a scholarship you will need to ensure the terms of your scholarship allow part time work.

Can I change my work placement once I’ve started?

Students are required to complete the agreed work placement. If your circumstances change and will impact your ability to complete your work palcement please contact the Fellowship Program Manager.

Am I guaranteed a full time permanent position with my host organisations after placement?

Work placements are an excellent way to demonstrate to potential employers your skillset, attitude and work ethic. While you are not guaranteed to secure a full time permanent position it is an opportunity to connect with, and impress, future employers.

Can previous work experience be counted as a work placement in the Fellowship by Training Program?

You must complete your Work Placement once you have been accepted into the Fellowship Program. Previous work experience will not be counted as part of your work placement requirement however you may be able to accrue points as part of the Recognition of Prior Learning process.

Can I choose my work placements?

You can nominate in your application which organisations you would prefer to work with however this is not guaranteed.

We do encourage you to look for your own suitable work placements but they do need to be approved by ACHI prior to commencing.

It works best if you come into the Fellowship by Training Program with an open mind about the opportunities that may be presented to you.

Who owns the Intellectual Property (IP) for any work that I do during my work placement?

As you will be entering an employment agreement with your host, details of IP rights will be outlined in the contract. It is standard practice that the IP will remain the property of the host organisation. Please note that if you bring in the IP from your PhD it will become the property of the Host organisation so you need to think carefully about this.

Supplementary learning

The supplementary learning program is an important component of the Fellowship by Training Program and is designed to:

  • facilitate discussion of current trends and best practice in health informatics and leadership
  • expose candidates to a broader professional academic experience
  • enable candidates to learn from and interact with multidisciplinary Health Informatics though leaders
  • prepare candidates for workforce leadership

Attendance and participation in the supplementary learning program is compulsory.

For more information see here.

Additional information

Click here to view a copy of the Candidate Information Guide

Click here to download a Student Fact Sheet

Click here to download sample Job Description Selection Criteria

Click here to download this sample work placement job description – Australian Digital Health Agency Digital Health Officer



Applications will remain open on an ongoing basis and assessed for intake in June and December each year.


If you are ready to proceed with an application, click below to open the application guide.