Study with us – Bionics Institute

Study with us

The Bionics Institute is passionate about developing the careers of researchers and engineers of the future. We provide opportunities for both short term student research projects and internships, and major graduate research projects for PhD and MSc degrees. We can accept students who are enrolled in all the universities in Melbourne. All of our projects are multi-disciplinary in nature, so whether you come from a life sciences, physical sciences, engineering or clinical background, we have projects that will suit your interest.

Short research projects that are undertaken as part of coursework degrees

Examples of these degrees are BSc(hons), Masters in Audiology, Masters in Biomedical Science, Capstone projects (Engineering), and MD research projects. If you are interested in completing such a research project in the Bionics Institute, please check out the projects available on your course web site or course internal communications. You should then contact the specific supervisor listed for the project you are interested in for further information, providing a CV and a copy your university subjects with results so far.

For general enquiries about these courses, please email


Students seeking a placement for research or professional experience should email, providing a cover letter, CV, and university subjects with results so far. We will then match you with potential projects and supervisors. Please note that students doing an internship at the Bionics Institute work on a voluntary basis and must fully cover their own expenses.

PhD RMIT University Scholarships

RMIT University and the Bionics Institute offer scholarships to highly motivated individuals to complete a PhD in the field of medical bionics. 2021 scholarship applications will open late 2020 and will be advertised on this website.


The following supervisors are currently offering PhD projects for new students. Please visit their profile page (links below) to read about their research areas. If you are interested in a specific project or working with a particular supervisor, please email the supervisor directly, supplying a cover letter, CV including official university transcripts, and contact details of three academic referees.

Please cc enquiry to the student coordinator

Professor Hugh McDermott leads our Parkinson’s disease research program, which aims to improve deep brain stimulation treatment for this disorder. This program also develops new clinical tools to accurately measure movement in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.

Professor Colette McKay leads our clinical hearing research program, which aims to improve the benefit that hearing impaired people of all ages obtain for their hearing instrument. This program is currently developing a new clinical system that uses brain imaging to provide detailed diagnostic and prognostic information to clinicians.

Associate Professor James Fallon leads our pre-clinical hearing research program, which aims to improve the performance of cochlear implants by understanding how the nervous system responds to electrical stimulation, and by exploring new electrode materials and stimulation strategies. He also leads our inflammatory bowel disease research, which is developing a bionic device to treat gut inflammation.

Associate Professor Rachael Richardson leads our optogenetics research program, which is exploring the use of light in combination with electrical stimulation to improve the performance of cochlear implants and other bionic devices.

Associate Professor Andrew Wise leads our hearing therapeutics research program, which is developing novel ways of introducing therapeutic agents into the inner ear to reverse neural damage and restore hearing.

Dr Thushara Perera leads our monitoring movement research program, which is developing novel clinical instruments to detect and objectively measure the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.

Dr Matt Petoe leads the bionic eye psychophysics team, which is investigating the relationship between the visual perceptions experienced by bionic eye recipients and the electrical stimuli being applied to the electrode array implanted within the retina.

Dr Sophie Payne is a key member of the inflammatory bowel disease research team that is developing a bionic device to treat gut inflammation.

List of all student projects

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