The Optimise Study: Recruitment Information

The Optimise Study is now recruiting participants. We are interested in hearing about the experiences of people living in Victoria who are over 18 years and older.
Click here to register.

What is the Optimise Study about?

The Optimise Study will help us better understand how the community is managing and responding to COVID-19 and the measures introduced to stop its spread. This information will enable us to make informed decisions to reduce the direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 on people’s health, wellbeing, and livelihoods.

The Optimise Study is a social network study. This makes it unique because it tries to understand how networks of people are connected and the interplay between individual, social and community-level impacts of COVID-19.

This means that we want to recruit individuals, their close friends and family, and broader social networks to help characterise people’s social networks and assess if key groups or individuals are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.

Data from surveys and in-depth qualitative interviews will be used to help understand the impact of COVID-19 on people from different backgrounds across the community. Information will be collected on people who have been asked to self-isolate or quarantine, such as those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, as well as others from the community more generally.

Why is it important?

Despite the huge impact of COVID-19 across the world, there is still limited information on the best ways to stop COVID-19 transmission, illness and death. More information is needed about what is happening in the community to help the government develop better and more refined strategies and policies to respond to COVID-19. Without an effective vaccine, it is important we use interventions available to us to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19.

In Australia, governments have introduced a number of key public health measures:

  1. Isolation of individuals with COVID-19 (‘cases’) and quarantining of close contacts and returned travellers
  2. Physical distancing
  3. Preventive strategies such as hand washing
  4. The mandatory use of face masks in Victoria.

Although these measures have helped to reduce new cases of COVID-19 in the community, they may impact individuals’ health, wellbeing and livelihoods in critical ways.

Your involvement in the Optimise Study will:

  • Help us better understand the impact that COVID-19 is having on our community and how these may change over time.
  • Be used to both identify and solve challenges alongside the community and key stakeholders, through the Optimise platform.
  • Help generate the evidence to guide state and national policy and practice to stop COVID-19 transmission while returning to more normal levels of economic and social activity.
  • Through this evidence identify opportunities to work with community and key stakeholders to develop and test solutions to minimise the impact of COVID-19 and improve the community’s broader health and wellbeing.

Who we are

Burnet Institute and Doherty Institute are two of Australia’s leading medical research institutes working to combat COVID-19. We are leading the Optimise Study working with collaborators from the Universities of Melbourne, Monash, Swinburne and LaTrobe, the Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health, and the Health Issues Centre.

What is involved?

  • We are looking for people to participate in the Optimise Study.
  • You will be followed up for 12 months and be asked to complete a regular survey and diary every month.
  • We will also ask you to nominate members of your social network to join the study.
  • In the surveys we will ask you about your living situation, work and study, lifestyle, social engagements, COVID-19 health and exposure, physical and mental health, and attitudes and knowledge of COVID-19 measures.
  • In the diaries we will ask you about who in your social network you are in contact with (both virtual and face-to-face) and about what types of activities you are able to keep doing during COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Some participants will be asked to participate in in-depth interviews so that they can tell their own stories in detail.
  • You will receive reimbursement for your time for each activity you complete (ranging from AUD$10 to $35 per activity), with a total amount of around $500 over the 12 months follow up.

Am I eligible?

If you live in Victoria and are over 18 years of age, you may be eligible. We’re looking to recruit people from the general community as well as from specific key groups.

One of these groups that we would particularly like to hear from are people who have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine by a public health authority in the past seven days for one of the following reasons:

  • You tested positive to COVID-19
  • You were identified as a close contact of someone who tested positive to COVID-19 by a public health authority
  • You returned from overseas or interstate travel.

If you are interested in taking part in the Optimise Study click here to register.

Contact Details

Email: [email protected] Text: 0447 045 460


Participants will be followed up for 12 months.


  • Doherty Institute
  • University of Melbourne
  • Monash University
  • Swinburne University
  • La Trobe University
  • The Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health
  • Health Issues Centre


  • Victorian Government COVID-19 Victorian Consortium Clinical/Public Health Pillar
  • Macquarie Group
  • Burnet Institute

Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Burnet Institute

[email protected]