Speech pathologist Georgia Burn awarded PhD scholarship

Scope’s partnership with the University of Melbourne enables Communication Access research

Over the past 8 years, people with communication disability have been central to Georgia Burn’s work.

Georgia is a speech pathologist in Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre. She’s passionate about the access and inclusion of people with communication disability.

Thanks to the Strategic Research Scholarship from the University of Melbourne and support from the Jack Hogan Family Foundation, Georgia will now explore the features of Communication Access for people with communication disability as she completes a PhD.

Partnering for research that improves the lives of people with disability

Since 2015, Scope and the University of Melbourne have collaborated to improve the lives of people with disability through research, learning and teaching, staff exchanges, and engagement activities.

One of the professional development opportunities for staff is the Strategic Research Scholarship. It’s a unique PhD scholarship and research collaboration provided by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne.

This allows a Scope staff member to undertake a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) over 3 years of full-time study. This opportunity is further supported by the Jack Hogan Family Foundation and in-kind support from Scope.

“This opportunity is such a gift, and I am so incredibly grateful to the University of Melbourne, Scope and Jack Hogan for investing in research about communication access,” says Georgia.

“I want to use my research to make a worthwhile contribution to the lives of people with communication disability and create a more inclusive and accessible community for all.”

As a Director of the Jack Hogan Family Foundation, Jack Hogan explains why the Foundation wanted to enable the scholarship.

“The support for the Strategic Research Scholarship originated from a desire to assist Scope to expand its research capability,” says Jack.

“Research is an important means of building new skills and knowledge, which can be leveraged to deepen Scope’s capability and integrated to expand and enrich its range of client offerings.”

Stephanie is making the most of rare opportunity

Fellow speech pathologist Stephanie Weir was the first recipient of the Strategic Research Scholarship.

While she is further along in her PhD journey, she’s no less passionate about the possibilities.

Stephanie began her research in April 2019, exploring communication, behaviours of concern, and restrictive interventions in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who have little to no functional speech.

She says the philanthropic funding has made her PhD possible.

“The support has given me a unique opportunity to focus on the research almost full-time. This scholarship has allowed me to undertake a program of research that I’m passionate about.”

Stephanie also appreciates the flexibility she has while completing her doctoral research.

“Over the past year, my research approach has changed a lot – I’ve been supported to take it in different directions to suit the research, and that’s not an opportunity you always get when you undertake a PhD.”