Institution (Location)
The University of Newcastle, Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition.
Start Date
June 1, 2018
$27,082 per annum
Position Description

The Priority Research
Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition (PRC-PAN) at the University of
Newcastle, Australia invites applications from motivated and outstanding
graduates to undertake a PhD as part of the Centre’s ongoing research that is
supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia

One PhD scholarship
is available under the supervision of Professor Ronald Plotnikoff, Professor
David Lubans, Associate Professor Mitch Duncan and Dr Jordan Smith in Physical Activity / Population Health.

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. 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.

Candidate’s Qualifications (who should apply)


Applicants should ideally 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 as well as previous
authorship of peer-reviewed research would be an advantage, but not strictly

Desirable attributes of applicants: Committed and
hardworking, self-directed and organised, high level of oral and written
communication skills, and capabilities of working collaboratively in a team


The most suitable candidate will be offered the position
with the following conditions provided:

annual living allowance of $27,082 per annum (2018 rate – indexed annually) for
both domestic and international   candidates

relocation allowance of $1500

  A full
tuition fee scholarship

student health cover – single cover for International students

PhD scholarships are awarded for 3.5 years

NB// If the successful applicant requires a VISA in order to
accept and undertake the position the cost will be at their own expense, not
the University of Newcastle’s.

Further information on the Centre can be found at:


How to Apply

Interested applicants should send their cover letter
(detailing your research experience to date, and the project area you would
prefer to work in) and CV to:

Professor Ron Plotnikoff – [email protected] by the 31st of March, 2018.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an
interview (in person/skype) and may be required to submit a short written piece
of work relevant to the area of study.

+61 2 4985 4465


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