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2022 HDR - PhD scholarship at the Future of Work Institute on Compensation

About this scholarship

The scholarships are funded through an Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grants entitled “To use or not to use financial incentives for motivation and performance”. The research team is led by Professor Marylène Gagné and the recipients will be based at the Future of Work Institute.


For decades, compensation experts have advocated for the use of financial incentives to motivate work performance, yet organisations keep encountering performance issues caused by these incentives. Using agency, expectancy, and self-determination theory, this research will help uncover the most important motivational mechanisms that explain how financial incentives influence performance. Given that compensation accounts for an important proportion of an organisation's operating expenses and that employee engagement is on the decline around the world, this research will provide a strong empirical basis to develop more effective compensation systems. The recipients will be using different methods, including meta-analysis, experiments, and field studies, to find evidence for the motivational mechanisms responsible for the effects of incentives on performance, well-being, and moral disengagement.

Eligible courses

Doctor of Philosophy in Business and Management

Project lead


John Curtin Distinguished Professor

Future of Work Institute, Curtin University

Professor Gagné's research examines how organisations, through their structures, cultures, rewards, tasks, and management, affect people’s motivational orientations towards their work, including volunteer work, and how quality of motivation influences performance and well-being in the workplace.

What we offer you

The scholarship provides a living stipend of $28,106 p. a. indexed annually for a period of three years based on full-time studies.

  • A top up scholarship of $10,000 p. a. for up to 3 years.

  • An internal nomination for a tuition fee waiver for a successful international candidate.

  • A support package which includes a laptop, project-related travel allowance and project costs allowance

  • A rich and dynamic work environment where you will work alongside world leading academics and highly motivated researchers and PhD students on projects of international significance

  • Outstanding opportunities to engage with industry and make a real difference to people’s live

  • Opportunities to undertake paid Research Assistant roles and internships

  • Weekly development workshops

  • A dynamic city-based location

  • A fantastic lifestyle - Perth is one of the most liveable cities in the world

Eligibility criteria

The successful candidate must meet the minimum academic entry requirement for admission into the Doctor of Philosophy program including the English proficiency levels set by Curtin University.

The successful candidates will have (required):

  • Bachelor’s degree in psychology or in business/management (or closely related discipline) with First Class Honours; OR

  • Master’s degree in psychology or in business/management (or closely related discipline) with a weighted average minimum

  • 70% and at least 25% of the course completed as a thesis/dissertation.

  • An interest in organisational psychology and particularly work motivation.


Additionally, strong candidates will have (desirable):

  • Experience in survey and experimental research methods used in psychology.

  • Knowledge and experience of psychometric and statistical methods including factor analysis, regression analysis, latent

  • Variable models, longitudinal analyses, and analysis of variance.

  • Experience in field organisational research and in experimental research.

  • Relevant work experience.

  • Presentations of research work at conferences and peer-reviewed publications.

How to apply

Work on laptop
Application process

To apply, please email an expression of interest to Professor Gagné ( with:


  • Unofficial copies of University transcripts for all completed degrees (official transcripts will be required for retained candidates)

  • Copy of Honours/masters thesis/theses

  • Curriculum vitae with details on any relevant work experience

  • A brief covering letter (no more than 2 sides A4) that addresses the eligibility criteria. The letter should explain why you are interested in the project and how your skills, attributes and experience make you a good candidate for the award.

  • Contact details of two academic referees (at least one of whom was a thesis supervisor).

  • Conference presentations or peer-reviewed articles if available.

Testimonials from current students

"When I finished my Masters of IO, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to do a PhD, or get out into the workplace to solve real problems.

One of the best aspects of doing a PhD at FOWI is that I can do both of these things at the same time. I receive great mentorship and guidance to develop my own research expertise, but I also get to conduct research that is impactful, multidisciplinary and collaborative.

For example, I’ve been involved in several industry and government collaborative projects. These opportunities have allowed me to apply my research skills in practical settings to solve real problems, and develop other skills through activities like industry presentations, running of workshops and research translation. This has made my PhD journey more meaningful, interesting and varied."

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Belinda Cham

"The Centre for Transformative Work Design is a place where work design is researched, understood and practiced. You can hardly ask for a better environment in which to learn and conduct research."

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Jia-xin Tay (Jay)

Some impactful research projects our students have undertaken

  • Work Design of the Future

  • Cognitive Modelling Human Factors Issues in Future Work

  • Supporting the attraction, retention and engagement of mature workers in organisations

  • The future of recruitment and selection: The job candidate experience

  • Remuneration practices that motivate employees

  • Motivating work teams: An emergence-based process model

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