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HDR Candidate Wellbeing Program

Wellbeing Program Information

Applications for Semester 1, 2023 open on Thursday 19 January and close on Sunday 19 February.


The HDR Wellbeing Program began in 2021 as a pilot program. It offers a range of activities designed for HDR candidates, structured around proactive supports for mental health and physical wellbeing. It has been informed by the Australian Council of Graduate Research Mental Health and Wellbeing forum and webinars, mental health and wellbeing programs offered at other universities and research literature. The Program has been designed to address specific domains of HDR wellbeing: social interaction, work-life relationships, and psychological and physical. The program offers a range of activities for maintaining healthy minds and bodies to support HDR candidate wellbeing. These include: physical exercise/fitness or related activities; wellbeing webinars; and mindfulness or meditation practice.

Candidates who have participated in the program in the past 12 months are not eligible to participate in semester 1, 2023. However, they are encouraged to attend the wellbeing workshops (an eight-part fortnightly webinar series) and other community building activities such as monthly lunch on the lawn and weekly Shut Up and Write sessions listed in Inkpath and on the HDR Development webpage.

HDR Candidate Wellbeing Program Structure

The HDR Wellbeing Program is structured around a core of wellbeing components that we recognize as a dynamic and flexible foundation for the wellbeing of our Higher Degree Researchers. We appreciate that these components have a variety of meanings and ‘levels of importance’ between every individual. We also understand that all components are interrelated and that the ‘offshoots’ of these components could be expanded on or could fit into more than one category depending on the individual. There are various ways of framing and categorising wellbeing and wellbeing programs, with elements generally aligning with similar themes. The UC HDR Wellbeing program includes the following eight pillar components: social, physical, emotional, career, mental/cognitive, financial, environmental, and meaning/purpose.

Research data collected from participants in 2021 and 2022 has informed the current program offerings.

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Program options Semester 1, 2023

Participants in this program will commit to attending at least 80% of the workshops:

  • All participants - 8 Wellbeing workshops (fortnightly webinar series)
  • Your choice fitness - Gym/fitness membership (physical or online options)
  • Your choice extras - Up to two personalised options of your choice

Wellbeing Workshop Series: Wellbeing workshops focussed on aspects of the eight wellbeing pillars. Sessions are offered every two weeks. Any HDR candidate can attend any of these sessions, although program participants are expected to attend most of the sessions.

Workshops will be held online on Wednesdays 12:30pm – 1:30pm - 1 March, 15 March, 29 March, 12 April, 26 April, 10 May, 24 May, 7 June

If there is sufficient interest, there will be a fortnightly coffee catch-up on-campus for participants of the HDR Candidate Wellbeing Program to build a supportive community where participants can share their experiences and discuss the workshops.

Choose one:

UC FitX Gym 6-month 50% subsidised membership: providing you with access to the UC gym and all classes, a fitness assessment and gym plan.

Online fitness app subscription: online world class workouts 12-month membership


Choose two:

CALM app: Calm is a meditation, sleep and relaxation app, available in both the App Store and Google Play store. We are dedicated to introducing our world-wide Calm Community to the amazing benefits of mindfulness. The heart of Calm is digital, but Calm is also expanding offline in various ways that bring more peace, clarity, and perspective into people’s busy lives. Subscription is for 12 months.

Mental Health First Aid Australia Certification Training: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses teach people simple, practical first aid skills for helping a family member, friend, co-worker or other person who is experiencing mental health problems. Certification lasts for three years, after which you can participate in a refresher course. Training dates to be advised.

Mindfulness Journal: to track and note wellbeing (nutrition, exercise, sleep), mindfulness and self-care journey.

Breathe Magazine Subscription: to engage with current literature about different aspects of health and wellbeing. Subscription is for 12 months/6 issues, posted to your nominated address.

Semester 1, 2023 timeline

Thursday 19 JanuaryApplications open
Thursday 9 February Information session for interested HDR candidates 
1:30pm – 2:00pm. Register here
Thursday 16 February  Applications close at 11:45pm AEST
Wednesday 22 February – Friday 24 FebruaryApplicants advised and welcome packs distributed

Comments from past participants

“I wanted to be really selfish about [accessing] something that would give me tangible skills for managing my wellbeing. Like something that I thought I would really, really useful. That's why I chose the options that I did. Thank you again, they’ve been great.”

“I was really interested in this program. I see what support is provided to other and the support provided UC is quite high. It really is particularly for the students. [The program has] got the physical stuff in there and the resources for mental health stuff. Everything that I would think of is covered, which is good.”

“I'm learning everything I can [from the Mental Health First Aid training]. I was really grateful for that.”

“I used the Les Mills app and I was addicted. I loved it…. Most of their challenges are 20 to 30 minutes and that's what I was looking for, so I love this app.”

“The Calm app has been a delight and I will be purchasing another year subscription with my own money. My children use it as well. I find that this study songs are really good.”

“The food/sleep/exercise diary really helped me to control what I'm eating. Thank you for that.”


For more information contact