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PhD Research Excellence

Congratulations to the 2023 PhD Research Excellence finalists.

Dr Mehrdad Aghamohamadi

Flinders University

Dr Mehrdad Aghamohamadi’s PhD research proposes a model that will help Australia to achieve its 2050 net-zero emission targets by increasing the share of renewables and battery systems. Dr Aghamohamadi’s model removes the limitations for developing additional renewables and battery storage systems, resulting in cheaper electricity, less congestion in the grid, lower reliability events, and lack of reserve notices in the market. It also incentivises investors to invest in renewables, as they have a clearer understanding and certainty around renewable and battery projects.

These contributions would result in saving millions of dollars in operation of the energy market, with the majority of this saving passing on to end users with cheaper electricity. Dr Aghamohamadi’s study shows that investing in energy transition on this scale can improve investment efficiency in Australia's energy sector, and will contribute to a greener Australia.


Dr Stephen Bacchi

Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Dr Stephen Bacchi’s PhD research addresses a significant problem facing society today: how to improve the efficiency of our public health systems while still offering patients and their families high quality care. Bringing together two fields of academic excellence - clinical care and artificial intelligence -  Dr Bacchi’s research shows that artificial intelligence algorithms may assist with predicting outcomes for hospitalised patients, particularly with respect to discharge timing.


His evidence demonstrates that machine learning models, including deep learning, can successfully predict clinically significant outcomes in stroke and general medicine patients – an approach that may also prove applicable to other specialties, and assist with audit and quality improvement activities in clinical care settings.

Dr Hayley Leake 

University of South Australia

Dr Hayley Leake is a scientist and physiotherapist dedicated to improving the management of chronic pain in adolescence. Up to a third of adolescents experience chronic pain, which often carries into adulthood with significant health and economic costs.


Dr Leake’s PhD focused on optimising the treatment of chronic pain in adolescence by integrating pain science education. Dr Leake championed highly successful collaborations with experts in pain science and rehabilitation fields in the UK, Canada and the US to produce world-class research, leading to changes in patient care and clinician education.


Dr Leake disseminated her research to the public through podcasts, magazine articles, news, and presentations, and is now working on further integrating and testing interventions to improve outcomes for adolescents with chronic pain.

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