Uni Student Wellbeing


The Uni Student Wellbeing (USW) project aims to improve universities’ capacity to support young adults’ wellbeing by investigating the educational conditions, practices and experiences that affect student mental health in Australia’s universities.

The three-year program of research (2023-2026), funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, is investigating:

  • Institutional and course-related factors associated with undergraduate students’ mental health and wellbeing;
  • Educational experiences that foster (or undermine) young adults’ mental health and wellbeing, and how these experiences vary among students from diverse backgrounds;
  • Whether, how and when diverse undergraduate students form a sense of belonging at university; and
  • Young adults’ perceptions of the economic, social and psychological benefits and costs of higher education, with a focus on how students construct and assess the value of their university studies.

In this way, USW aims to contribute new knowledge about the contextual determinants of students’ psychological distress and positive wellbeing in Australian higher education and develop a platform for sustainable collection and reporting of reliable, national data.

The project will also establish a Uni Student Wellbeing Research Hub at the Melbourne CSHE that will foster cross-national and international collaboration, harness diverse inter-disciplinary approaches, and support mixed-methods analyses of young adult wellbeing.


Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Advisory and Reference Groups

  • Expert Advisory Group
    • Professor Patrick McGorry AO - Executive Director of Orygen and Professor of Youth Mental Health at The University of Melbourne.
    • Professor Felicia Huppert - Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Founding Director of the Wellbeing Institute at the University of Cambridge, and Honorary Professor at The University of Sydney’s Body, Heart and Mind in Business Research Group.
    • Professor Richard M. Ryan - Professorial Fellow, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at Australian Catholic University and Professor Emeritus in Psychology at the University of Rochester, New York.
    • Vikki Ryall – Executive Director Clinical Practice, headspace.
    • George Habib – Clinical Psychologist and Associate Director of Wellbeing Services, Student and Scholarly Services, The University of Melbourne.
    • Professor Alison Calear – Professor at the Centre for Mental Health Research at Australian National University and External Fellow at Black Dog Institute.
    • Professor Dan Woodman – TR Ashworth Professor of Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne.
  • Student Reference Group

    Heidee Austic (she/her) - President (2023), Murdoch Student Guild

    Heidee is studying a Master of Forensic Science at Murdoch University and is the 2023 President of the Murdoch University Student Guild. She is also a Murdoch student elected Senate representative. As her role as President of the Student Guild, she represents the student body both within the University and to external organisations.

    Amelia Cotsanis (she/her) - Welfare Officer (2023), RMIT University Student Union (RUSU)

    Amelia is a (soon to be) recent graduate of a Bachelor of Youth Work and Youth Studies at RMIT University, and former Welfare Officer for the RMIT Student Union. She is passionate about working alongside and supporting young people, empowering them to achieve positive mental health and well-being outcomes.

    Riley Jones (he/they) - Queer Officer (2023), Flinders University Student Association (FUSA)

    Riley is the current Flinders University Student Association Queer Officer and is studying toward their Bachelor of Creative Industries (Writing & Publishing). They have a passion for advocacy, and particularly when working on behalf of the rural, disabled, and LGBTQIA+ communities.

    Manisha Kulasinghe (she/her) - Women's Officer (2023), James Cook University Student Association

    Manisha is currently studying Medicine at James Cook University and is the Women’s Councillor at the James Cook University Student Association. She is interested in helping women, particularly in rural and remote areas. She is also passionate about weightlifting and baking.

    Liam McLaren (he/him) - President (2023), Tasmanian University Student Association (TUSA)

    Liam is the President of the Tasmanian University Student Association for both 2023 and 2024, the peak student representative body for University of Tasmania students. Liam is also a Bachelor of Science (Honours) student conducting social research in regenerative agriculture.

    Bailey Riley (she/her) - President  (2023), National Union of Students (NUS)

    Elected as President of The National Union of Students for 2023, Bailey has been a staunch advocate for students in tertiary education. Bailey began tertiary education at TAFE Ultimo before being accepted into a Bachelor of Communications at the University of Technology Sydney.

    Tess Robb (she/her) – Welfare Office (2024), Swinburne Student Union

    Tess is studying a Bachelor of Applied Innovation/Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Swinburne University. Aside from her Welfare Officer role, she is also the current Swinburne Representative Council Chair and the elected 2024/2025 Swinburne Student Life Board Director.

    Isaac Solomon (he/him) - President, University of South Australia’s Student Association (USASA) Student Board

    Isaac Solomon has served as President of the University of South Australia’s Student Association (USASA) Student Board since 2022. He is currently studying Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts (History and Global Politics). Through his expertise in governance and community advocacy Isaac works to ensures student voice is integrated within the university’s decision making at every level.

    John Sopar (any pronouns) - Indigenous Officer (2023), Monash Student Association (MSA)

    John is a proud Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara person studying a Bachelor of Science and Arts at Monash University. John has a particular passion in empowering people’s personal stories and using these stories to bring equity

    Harrison Zheng - Ethno-cultural Officer (2023), University of New South Wales Student Representative Council

  • Higher Education Leaders, Educators and Practitioners Reference Group
    • Members TBA

Contact Us

To join the Uni Student Wellbeing Research Hub and/or our mailing list, please fill out the form below.

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More Information

For more information please contact the Project Manager, Dr Tracii Ryan tracii.ryan@unimelb.edu.au, Melbourne CSHE, The University of Melbourne.