PhD Scholarship: Physical Activity/Population Health

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Physical inactivity is a global epidemic and the 4th leading cause of non-communicable deaths worldwide. Regular participation in both aerobic and resistance-based physical activity (PA) significantly reduces the risk of numerous chronic diseases and improves bone and mental health.

Physical Activity

However, approx. 50% of Australians do not meet public health guidelines for aerobic PA and alarmingly, less than 20% meet the resistance training guidelines.There is a need for scalable community-based interventions which target behaviour change at multiple levels to achieve sustainable PA change. Local Government Councils (LGCs) are ideally positioned to assist in community-based PA promotion. A main objective of LGC is to promote the health and wellbeing of all residents using multifaceted approaches that include the provision of facilities such as parks and equipment (e.g., outdoor gyms).

Although LGCs target the environment to promote PA, often these facilities are underutilised and do not address the individual and social factors that influence PA. This provides a unique opportunity to partner with LGCs to investigate innovative strategies to promote aerobic and resistance-based physical activity in the community. Building upon the findings of our recently successful efficacy RCT and in collaboration with two LGCs in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, NSW, we will evaluate eCoFit, a multi-component intervention involving the installation of outdoor fitness equipment and trails in LGC parks with a linked innovative smartphone application (App), education and social support.

We will conduct a 2-arm cluster RCT involving 14 park locations which will examine the effectiveness of eCoFit, followed by a dissemination trial, which will examine the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance of eCoFit in the same locations. This project will be highly innovative and has the potential to influence LGCs throughout Australia in the design and implementation of future outdoor fitness parks.

In addition to applicants meeting the eligibility criteria we are looking for someone who is committed and hardworking, self-directed and organised, high level of oral and written communication skills, and capabilities of working collaboratively in a team environment.

PhD Scholarship details

The most suitable candidate will be offered the position with the following conditions provided: An annual living allowance of $27,082 per annum, A relocation allowance of $1500, A full tuition fee scholarship and Overseas student health cover – single cover for International students.

Supervisor: Professor Ronald Plotnikoff

Available to: Domestic and International students

Fields of Research: Physical Activity / Population Health

Eligibility Criteria

Hold a First Class Honours degree, and/or a Master’s degree in a relevant field, including but not limited to physical education, public health, psychology, and/or health promotion; Experience in quantitative methods; Previous authorship of peer-reviewed research an advantage.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest, including scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, and a brief statement of their research interests, to by 31 March 2018 at 5pm.

Applications Close 31 March 2018

Contact Professor Ronald Plotnikoff
Phone 02 4985 4465

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