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Meet the next generation of behavioural experts

Monash University’s innovative Graduate Research Industry Partnership (GRIP) program brings high-achieving PhD candidates together with industry partners to solve real-world problems.

In 2017 Monash identified the need for behavioural experts worldwide and, with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute and BehaviourWorks Australia, it launched the first-ever Behaviour Change GRIP. 

Eighteen talented students were initially offered scholarships, which today involves seven industry partners (below), who are working with 15 candidates on a range of important social, environmental and organisational challenges (see below).

The candidates, who are aiming to meet their 2021 milestones (which may be extended due to COVID-19), are supported by 43 supervisors from a range of Monash faculties. The support structures and professional training opportunities that have been developed and offered to the students have helped to make this into an award-winning program. We are always open to working with new partners, so please contact us if you would like to get involved. 

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Melissa Hatty

Industry partner: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)

Topic: Encouraging Victorians to connect with and protect nature.

Aim: Encouraging Victorians to connect with, and protect nature.

Short bio: Melissa is a Registered Health Psychologist with a passion for the natural environment and the ways humans interact with it.

Melissa is now working with DELWP to investigate ways of encouraging Victorians to get out and enjoy nature and act to protect nature, in line with Victoria’s new Biodiversity Plan.

Melissa has worked as a psychologist in public and private health settings, helping clients with chronic health conditions to live well with and despite illness/disability, and providing psychology-related consultancy and education to health professionals and post-graduate students. She has also worked as a researcher and research assistant in academic settings and private industry. Her research interests include the health and psychological benefits of contact with nature, the psychology of environmental conservation, and how interaction with the natural environment can influence pro-environmental behaviours. 

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Alexandra Waddell

Industry partner: Safer Care Victoria

Topic: Utilising the healthcare system to help doctors and patients share decision-making

Aim: To investigate what gets in the way of the healthcare system supporting patients and clinicians participate in shared decision-making.

Short bio: Alex holds a BSc in Psychology and Exercise Science from Washington State University and a Master of Public Health (majoring in Health Economics) from the University of Melbourne, she has a passion for the intersection of health, behavioural economics, and implantation.

She is fascinated by developing behavioural interventions and using policy and programs to achieve health outcomes in the public sphere. Alex hopes her research can add to the field of shared decision making by utilising multiple parts of the healthcare system to support clinicians and patients through behaviour change.

Alex is also a member of the Social Systems Evidence Team, a continuously updated repository of systematic reviews, economic evaluations and policy briefs about pressing challenges faced by government and other organisations, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Dominique McCollum-Coy

Industry partner: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)

Topic: Empowerment to the people: communities and the energy transformation.

Aim: To explore how to empower communities through renewable energy.

Short bio: Dominique holds a BSc (Hons I) in Psychology and Neuroscience from the Australian National University, as well as a Masters of Environment from Griffith University. Dominique’s research interests include the exploration of how human behaviour relates to the environment. Her PhD will seek to understand the role of behaviour, and behaviour change, in energy transformation.

Dominique has previously conducted research on community perceptions of pro-environmental behaviour and created/evaluated a tool for assessing pro-environmental behaviour. She is passionate about translating academic research into real-world applications and also has experience working in the community advocacy sector in climate change communication.

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Fareed Kaviani

Industry partner: Department of Transport (formerly VicRoads).

Topic: Smartphones are making us dangerous drivers.

Aim: To see which deterrents work and if new techniques are needed to stop illegal phone use while driving.

Short bio: Fareed holds an MA in Arts from Deakin University, specialising in literature and communications, and a BA with first-class honours from La Trobe University, majoring in politics and sociology. Fareed is now working with the Department of Transport on a project examining the efficacy of interventions designed to encourage drivers to stay focused on the road. The project will also investigate how the distractions caused by mobile phones and touchscreens are being exacerbated by longer journey times.

For the past few years, Fareed has been working as a freelance writer, with his work appearing in a variety of national and international print and online publications. His work has primarily focused on tattoo and body modification, while his intellectual passion extends into the study of pain and identity in liquid modernity.

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Wing Hsieh

Industry partner: Australia Post

Topic: Reducing prejudice against migrants.

Aim: To design an intervention with the potential to scale to reduce prejudice against migrants.

Short bio: Wing studied development economics at the University of Adelaide and behavioural law and economics at Harvard University. She has worked as an economist in both public and private sectors and is now working on an Australia Post project seeking to make Australia a more inclusive society.

Wing is curious about understanding “what works” in programs and policies and is interested in social inclusion and unconscious bias.

She has worked with many different employers and clients and lived in five different cities. By participating in the BC-GRIP she hoped to consolidate and extend her skills and make a personal contribution in the field of behaviour change.

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Joel Edwards

Industry partner: Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Topic: How to maximise the compliance of small and medium businesses with a duty of care for the environment. 

Aim: To understand what motivates these businesses to do the right thing and adjust the design and application of regulatory tools to leverage those motivations.

Short bio: Joel graduated from the University of South Australia with a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (first-class honours). He is supporting the EPA on a project looking at how the regulator can ensure the successful implementation of a new general duty to prevent harm in Victoria.

Joel has previously been employed as a strategic policy planner with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure in South Australia and was seconded to the Office of the Minister for Planning in the role of Ministerial Liaison Officer, Planning and City of Adelaide.

In 2017, Joel joined EPA Victoria in a similar planning role, allowing him to focus on his core interests in the environment, human health and the ability of settlements to respond to the risks. He is interested in how Government policy, particularly planning, can create safe, healthy, inclusive and sustainable places.

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Corina Crisan

Industry partner: WorkSafe Victoria

Topic: Community organisations can help prevent mental injuries.

Aim: To determine the structures for promoting community programs that can help improve workers’ mental health knowledge, coping strategies and help-seeking behaviours.

Short bio: Corina is a seasoned project and change manager with wide international experience across a range of industry sectors including television, health, regulation, education and the not-for-profit sector. Her experience is coupled with tertiary qualifications in business administration, social psychology, communication and political science. Corina’s PhD, with WorkSafe, is investigating how to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace and how to encourage communities to take greater ownership of wellbeing and safety outcomes.

Corina is passionate about making a difference and using behavioural science and co-design techniques to develop interventions that achieve social impact. She is also interested in brokering partnerships across government, industry sectors and communities and using strength-based approaches to improve performance.

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Madeleine Thomas

Industry partner: Environment Protection Authority Victoria

Topic: Government risk communication for chemical pollution.

Aim: To explore the context, structures and practices that influence and comprise these communications.

Short bio: Madeleine graduated with a BSc (Hons) in environmental chemistry from The University of Adelaide. She has since gained extensive experience in the environmental assessment and management of land, groundwater and soil vapour, undertaking work for private industry and various government agencies.

Madeleine currently works as a Senior Environmental Scientist in the human health and environmental risk assessment team of an environmental consultancy. From working in the human health risk assessment space, she developed an interest in science communication, which led her to undertake this PhD.

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Kim Borg

Industry partner: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)

Topic: Media and turning the social tide on plastic pollution.

Aim: To understand how media can change social norms to encourage single-use plastic avoidance.

Short bio: Kim completed her BA (Hons.) at Monash University, specialising in Behavioural Studies and Anthropology in 2008. Through her PhD, Kim is exploring the role of mass media and social media in shaping social norms surrounding single-use plastic avoidance, in partnership with DELWP and with additional support from Sustainability Victoria.

Kim has over ten years of experience working in social and behavioural research, specialising in best-practice survey design and data collection. She joined BehaviourWorks Australia as a Research Fellow in 2016, where she has worked with a number of large organisations and departments such as Australia Post, DHHS and The Shannon Company on a variety of behaviour change challenges.

Kim is particularly interested in the impact of human behaviour on the environment.

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Rebecca Stewart

Industry partner: VicHealth

Topic: Rewriting the rules of what it means to be a man.

Aim: To explore what strategies work to engage men and boys in programs aimed at challenging outdated masculine stereotypes.

Short bio: Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Criminology with Honours, and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. Rebecca’s Honours project looked at normative attitudes and beliefs around stalking, drawing from the rape myth and intimate partner violence literature. Rebecca’s PhD will explore what it means to be a ‘real man’ – and how ‘healthier masculinities’ can influence attitudes and behaviour.

She has previously worked in administration in the corporate sector (architectural, law and engineering firms) and the education sector. Her core professional skills include project management, communication and stakeholder engagement.

Rebecca seeks to align her professional skills and expertise with her passion for social justice in addressing how behaviour change can influence and reduce violence against women.

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Kathie Pawluk De-Toledo

Industry partner: Department of Transport (formerly VicRoads)

Topic: Reducing car use in our car dependant city (Melbourne).

Aim: Get people out of one habit (cars) and into another (anything but cars).

Short bio: Kathie has a Masters in Third World Development Evaluation and Management from the University of Antwerp, a Bachelor of Public Relations at RMIT and Hons., in Public Policy and Management at the University of Melbourne.

Kathie is interested in big data and how new technologies are impacting travel behaviour and transforming road congestion. Kathie has previously held roles within the Victorian Department of Education, from policy development to specific task force operations, and was part of the organising group for both Victoria’s chairing of the national Ministerial meeting and education summit, before becoming the departmental liaison officer for the Tertiary Education Minister. Kathie’s background and experience are naturally extended by understanding behaviour change.

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Jennifer Dam (currently on leave)

Industry partner: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)

Topic: Fostering knowledge translation between VicHealth collaborators.

Short bio: Jennifer recently completed a Bachelor of Social Science at Swinburne University of Technology with a combined major of psychology and sociology. 

Jen’s career has spanned a number of different industries, including vocational training and education, as well as support services for a mental health care provider.

Jen believes social and structural inequalities are powerful determinants of health outcomes and is passionate about applying health psychology to develop interventions that empower individuals to consider rewarding health and lifestyle choices.


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Michaela Lang

Industry partner: Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria)

Topic: Landlords aren’t very energy efficient with their rental properties.

Aim: To get more landlords to take on energy efficiency; we can’t leave it up to tenants to demand change.

Short bio: Michaela studied anthropology and Asian studies before completing a Masters of Public Health. She is now working with DEWLP to investigate how to encourage landlords to improve the energy performance of their rental properties.

Michaela spent over 15 years delivering health and sustainability projects in local government, with a focus on engaging communities on climate change, water and sustainable transport.

Michaela has delivered sustainability training through Monash’s Green Steps program and Think Eco, a small sustainability consulting firm. In 2008, she co-founded Just Change, a non-profit organisation that provides retrofits, research, training and advocacy to improve the uptake of energy efficiency in low-income rental homes.

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Lisa Wheildon

Industry partner: Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS)

Topic: Driving policy change on gender-based violence.

Aim: To explore how victim-survivors can most effectively (and safely) inform public policy to prevent gender-based violence.

Short bio: Lisa has been the Director of Stakeholder Relations and Communications at Australia and New Zealand School of Government since 2016.

Prior to that, she played a key role in establishing Our Watch, the national foundation to prevent violence against women. Before joining Our Watch, Lisa spent ten years in senior communications roles in the Victorian public sector and completed the Executive Masters in Public Administration with ANZSOG in 2010.

Prior to joining the public sector, Lisa worked in consulting and was with ABC TV in public relations and marketing roles for over six years. Her early career was in radio journalism. Lisa is committed to initiating behaviour change in relation to the issues of violence against women and gender equality and has overseen several research projects in these areas for Our Watch.

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Eunice Wong

Industry partner: Safer Care Victoria

Topic: Improving patient-centred care in public health services.

Aim: To explore the barriers and enablers for health professionals in providing patient-centred care.

Short bio: Eunice holds postgraduate qualifications in clinical psychology and public health. She has a life-long fascination with human behaviour or “what makes us tick”.

Her PhD, with SaferCare Victoria, seeks to identify behavioural change approaches for partnering with consumers to achieve better health outcomes.Eunice has worked within the government, community and private sectors to develop, implement and evaluate policies and programs for impact.

Her national and international experience includes piloting new programs with Queensland Health, developing prison in-reach programs in the UK and setting up a government-funded psychology diploma in Singapore. She has also implemented a nationwide community mental health masterplan with the Ministry of Health in Singapore.

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Bodhi Weaver

Industry partner: WorkSafe Victoria

Topic: Preventing mental injury in police employees.

Aim: To reduce the impact of mental stress in a workforce that can’t avoid it.

Short bio: Bodhi holds a Masters in Psychology and is currently undertaking a registrar program to become an endorsed clinical psychologist. Bodhi’s PhD, with WorkSafe, will explore how to increase help-seeking behaviour, cultivate preventative approaches to psychological injury and add to the growing body of prevention-based mental health research with emergency services personnel.

Bodhi has previously worked across the private and public sectors and with Victoria Police on shifting mental-health culture through the provision of individual and workplace-level psychological interventions.

Through clinical practice and organisational consultancy, Bodhi has gained valuable knowledge and insights about the inherently stressful aspects of policing. Bodhi’s research interests emerged from the need to translate these learnings into transformative evidence-based mental health interventions for police employees and employers.

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Lisa Broker

Industry partner: Currently being re-negotiated.

Topic: The impact of public sector training on behaviour back in the workplace

Short bio: Having worked for over 15 years in and with the public sector, Lisa’s experience includes policy analysis and development, strategic investment, project management and governance. This has been gained primarily through her work at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Lisa has an MA in Public Policy and Management, qualifications in Philosophy and Project Management, and most recently studied Psychology.