Research requests

We provide an opportunity for members to become involved as volunteers in research studies offered through various organisations such as local universities and institutions.

The listings are provided as a free service and without recommendation by U3A Hawthorn. Members’ participation is entirely as their own undertaking.

Ageing and eyes: identifying moving objects against their background

My name is Pooja Nandagopal and I am a PhD student at the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, supervised by A/Prof Andrew Anderson and Prof. Allison McKendrick. I am currently conducting a study examining how healthy ageing affects our ability to identify moving objects against their background.  I am actively seeking participants aged between 60 and 80 years who are in good health. Participants who volunteer will undergo a short series of eye tests to check their eligibility, followed by a series of computer-based tests over two sessions. All the tests in the study are non-invasive and present no risks greater than home computer use.

Contact details:
If you wlsh to participate in our study or require more details, please contact Pooja Nandagopal via email:

Download a flyer here for more details

listed on 27 October 2023

Healthcare literacy and medical outcomes

RMIT logo

My name is Eman Rafhi, a Pharmacist and PhD researcher from RMIT University. 

My current research involves completing a survey in older adults who are 65 years or above. This research is looking at whether beliefs and health literacy influence medical outcomes in this population. To participate in this research, participants are kindly asked to complete a 10-minute survey which can be accessed through the QR code presented on the flyer or by completing a paper copy of the survey and posting this back to RMIT free-of-charge.

Download the flyer here for more details

listed on 24 May 2023

Plastic use at home

University of Sydney logo

Hello, I’m David Reynolds, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology undertaking research on how plastics are useful in everyday life, with a view to reducing plastic waste.
We are seeking participants aged 60+ who have lived mostly in Australia. If that’s you, please consider participating in a 30 min interview to share memories of plastic at home throughout your life. Interviews are by phone or video call, at a time that suits you. A modest thank-you voucher of $40 is available to participants.
You can contact me at for further information or with any questions.
With kind regards, David Reynolds.

listed on 1 April 2023

Mind Your Nose

The study currently being conducted is exploring smell-based memory and is led by Associate Professor Alex Bahar-Fuchs at the University of Melbourne. The study will compare smell-based memory training to visual memory training in older adults who are concerned about possible changes in their thinking and memory abilities (cognition). The training intervention will last four weeks and can be done from home.

For the Mind Your Nose Study, we are looking for people who:

Are aged 65 years or older
Have concerns that their cognition has declined
Live in metropolitan Melbourne

Here are some links to previous media coverage about the study.

Link to article in the conversation
Link to interview on ABC radio
Link to 9 News media coverage

For further information, download a flyer here

listed on 1 April 2023

Exercise and Cognition

Monash University logo

This research team is currently recruiting participants for a study that investigates how exercise can benefit the brain in healthy older adults. They are looking for adults between the ages of 50-75 years old.

The study will involve being onsite at Monash campus and a payment is offered per session.

Further details are available in the flyer, available for download here.

listed on 17 May 2022

Body Awareness and Self-Regulation

You are invited to take part in this research project called “Body Awareness and Emotional-Regulation in Community-dwelling Adults and Tai Chi Practitioners.

This project aims to examine Tai Chi’s role in self-regulation and body awareness. This research could help to understand the benefits of Tai Chi and may assist in the development of physical activity programs to increase mental health.

The results of this study will be used by the research student Ms. Ana Lea to obtain a Master of Clinical Psychology. This research may also be published in a scientific journal, reported at a scientific conference or discussed in the form of scientific journalism.

The study is currently seeking people who are willing to participate in a 5-10 minute anonymous survey.

Full details and survey link are available by clicking here.

listed on 16 March 2022

Relating brain neurochemistry to visual perception

What is this research about?
You are invited to participate in a research study designed to assess whether non-invasive neuroimaging of the brain is related to behavioural measures of visual perception. Participants must be aged between 20 and 79 years.
Previous research suggests that certain measures of visual performance can be used as indirect measures of brain status – specifically, the balance between inhibitory and excitatory processes in visual cortex. In this study, we will test that hypothesis directly, by conducting a series of measures of visual performance and brain imaging on the same day. Brain neurochemistry can be investigated noninvasively through a brain imaging technique known as magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Visual performance is measured by a series of computer tests. It has been proposed that differences in performance on these tasks between people might arise due to differences in brain neurochemistry, and, that such neurochemistry might change in older adults. Hence, we are interested in testing healthy individuals across a wide range of ages.

For full details download the project statement here

listed on 21 February 2022

Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences

Research involving virtual volunteer patients in developing interpersonal skills of optometry students.

This study requires volunteers aged 50+ to participate in a study to develop the interpersonal skills of optometry students.
The study involves a brief phone/email screening to ensure eligibility for the study (English-proficient and access to a device with webcam and microphone), one or more recorded ‘virtual visits’ that will be akin to a telehealth consultation (no more than1 hour each session) and online questionnaires to gather feedback about students’ interpersonal skills and the teaching and learning initiative.
This project has received approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee at The University of Melbourne. A $10 e-voucher will be provided after each session of participation.
If you are interested in participating in this study or would like further information, please contact Dr Bao Nguyen on (03) 9035 8553 or

Download a flyer here

listed on 7 February 2022

This is a music therapist-supported pilot study – a free 10-week online music-based community program that aims to address the need to explore new ways of promoting social connectedness, participation, and wellbeing in older adults, particularly in the context of COVID-19.    

Group members will have the opportunity to share music, stories and experiences, interact and socialise, and develop further knowledge, skills and confidence in using music and technology as a resource in daily life.

We have now completed the first round of the program with participants all reporting they greatly enjoyed and benefited from the experience. Please download this flyer detailing the study.  Participants can register their interest and find out more by contacting us at;

Download the flyer here

listed on 22 January 2022

The Tinnitus Project

My name is Michelle and I work for the Bionics Institute located in East Melbourne.

We are a non-for-profit research organisation that develops medical devices, therapies and diagnostic tools for unmet patient needs.

One study we have at the moment is called the Tinnitus Project which aims to develop an objective measure of tinnitus (see:

We are currently recruiting participants over 50 without tinnitus.

I have attached a recruitment flyer outlining the project and the requirements for participants. Please consider assisting us by volunteering to be part of our control group..

Download the flyer here

listed on 22 January 2022

Care partners of people with Dementia

Melbourne University is running this program to investigate the effects of music and reading activities for people living with dementia and their family caregivers.

More details of the program are available in the flyer, available for download here.

You can learn more by watching their recruitment video

listed on 28 November 2021

Care partners of people with Alzheimer’s

Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health has a project which is a pilot study entitled ECLIPSE: An early intervention to empower and support care partners of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

This newly designed, weekly, small group-based intervention will be provided over a four week period to care partners of individuals recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to the weekly sessions, interviews will also be conducted to discuss their experience of being a care partner and completion of some questionnaires.

All sessions and interviews will take place remotely (i.e over Zoom).
The eligibility criteria is as follows:
1. Are aged 18 years or older
2. Identify as being a care partner of an individual with mild Alzheimer’s disease
3. Engage in at least four hours of contact care per week
4. Have been a care partner for no longer than five years
5. Are competent to consent based on their ability to provide a spontaneous narrative description of the key elements of the study
6. Have not participated in a care partner support intervention within the past six months.

For further information contact:
Melanie Emonson, (03) 9805 4346 or email

You can download a flyer here

listed on 11 November 2021