PhD Scholarship on Healthy Ageing in Migrant Communities

Study Area(s): Health
Scholarship Level: Doctoral
Closing Date(s): 30 September 2020
Tenure: Three years
Number offered: One
Value: Stipend of $27,500 per annum plus tuition fees


The overall research programme will produce a framework for understanding multicultural ageing that is culturally sensitive, ethical, and has a lifespan focus. The research has three main objectives. First, it explores the role of life-course experiences and the challenges of cultural adaptation in migrants’ ageing trajectories. Further, it seeks to identify individual and social resources as well as systemic and structural barriers to multicultural ageing. Finally, it aims to uncover empowering cultural identities. The research programme draws on a range of qualitative (narrative and dyadic interviews, photovoice) and quantitative (life history data and longitudinal surveys) methods. The research will focus on older adults from large immigrant communities in Aotearoa New Zealand, including British, Chinese, Indian, Samoan, and South African, that differ in terms of cultural dimensions and migration history.

The scholarship is for work to explore 1) meanings associated with ‘ageing well’ for older migrants in Aotearoa New Zealand, 2) how these meanings are created through the migration experience, and 3) whether and how meanings and values associated with ‘ageing well’ as a migrant differ across cultural groups. This PhD project will ideally focus on the ageing experiences of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand. However, applicants who have competence working with other migrant groups will also be considered. The successful applicant will be involved in qualitative research, collecting narrative accounts of older migrants (aged 65 years or older) using interviews or other, culturally appropriate research methods (e.g., talanoa), and quantitative research including analysis of survey data.


This scholarship is offered as part of a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship project awarded to Dr Ágnes Szabó to conduct novel research on ageing among migrants in Aotearoa New Zealand (entitled: Growing old in an adopted land: Cross-fertilizing ageing and acculturation research). The PhD scholarship is available for a three-year PhD position to work alongside Dr Szabó as she establishes this research programme on healthy ageing in migrant communities in Aotearoa New Zealand. This is a unique opportunity to work on a topic of enormous importance both in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally, and to contribute to scholarly discussion in an emerging area of research.


Applicants must have a BA/BSc with a first-class Honours or Master’s degree in Psychology, Public Health or another related field, and relevant research experience. Experience with qualitative research methods is preferred but not essential. Cultural competence and experience working with diverse communities is an advantage. The successful candidate would ideally start before the end of 2020 but the start date can be negotiated. Both domestic and international candidates are welcome to apply, but the successful candidate must be based in New Zealand to conduct the research.


  • Applicants must have BA/BSc with a first-class Honours or Master’s degree in Psychology, Public Health or related disciplines.
  • Applicants must be intending to enroll full-time.
  • Preference may be given to applicants competent in working with Pacific peoples.
  • Experience with qualitative research methods is an advantage.

Application process

To apply, please email Dr Ágnes Szabó ( and include the following documentations in the email:

1. CV
2. Cover letter (describing your interests and what motivates you to study ageing)
3. Academic transcript
4. Sample of academic writing
5. Contact details of two references

Selection process

The successful recipient will be selected by Dr Ágnes Szabó.

Regulations and conditions

Any scholarship offer made to the successful candidate will be conditional on the candidate gaining admission into the PhD programme at Victoria University of Wellington.


Please send enquiries to