CQUniversity PhD Scholarship 'Examining the effectiveness of an innovative technology-based health behaviour change intervention'

An opportunity is available for a new PhD scholar to participate in National Heart Foundation (NHF) funded research that involves examining the effectiveness of an innovative technology-based health behaviour change intervention, under the supervision of Professor Corneel Vandelanotte.

Scholarship Value: $26,628 (indexed)

Length of Scholarship: 3 years (Doctoral Candidates)

Number Available: One

Opening Date: 27 July 2017

Closing Date: 08 September 2017

Study LevelPostgraduate (Research)
Year of StudyFuture/First Year
CitizenshipAustralian Citizen; Permanent Resident; Permanent Humanitarian Visa; International; New Zealand Citizen
EthnicityAboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; South Sea Islander; Non Indigenous
Study RegionRockhampton
Study ModeOn-campus
Study LoadFull time

Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible for the Scholarship, an applicant:

  • Must have completed a Bachelor Degree with Honours I or IIA, a Master’s Degree or be regarded by CQUniversity as having an equivalent level of attainment. The degree should be in the field of public health, psychology, sport and exercise science, social science, or another relevant field.
  • Can be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of Australia.
  • Can be an international student
  • Must be approved for admission and enrolling in, a Doctor of Philosophy program at CQUniversity.
  • Must enrol full-time and be an internal candidate at CQUniversity’s North Rockhampton campus.
  • Must not be receiving an equivalent award, scholarship or salary providing a benefit greater than 75% of the Scholarship stipend rate to undertake a research higher degree .

Selection Criteria

The Scholarship will be awarded by the University through a competitive selection process.  Individual applications will be ranked on the basis of merit and responses to the selection criteria.

Selection Criteria  

Applications are invited from candidates who have

  • experience with qualitative and/or quantitative research
  • experience with statistical analysis
  • demonstrable abilities to review and critique literature extensively
  • strong academic writing skills
  • excellent communication skills and who are able to engage with study participants and community organisations
  • strong planning and organisational skills, with the ability to work systematically and independently to prioritise tasks and meet deadlines
  • well-developed computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, Endnote, and SPSS or similar statistical software

Expertise in health psychology, health promotion, public health and/or chronic disease prevention is essential.

The successful applicant will be required to publish scientific and peer-reviewed papers related to their thesis during the period of candidature.

The successful candidate may potentially travel for data collection purposes around Australia, and/or to (inter)national conferences.

The successful applicant must commence their candidature in 2017.

Additional Information

The PhD Candidate will be part of the vibrant Physical Activity Research Group at CQUniversity’s North Rockhampton campus. The research group includes 15 staff with a strong focus on innovative interventions to improve health behaviours for the prevention of chronic disease. The Group hosts the world-renowned 10,000 Steps Program, a web- and smartphone-based physical activity program with over 340,000 registered participants and over 50,000 app downloads. It also works with the University’s Population Research Laboratory, conducting annual population surveys (telephone, online) in health and social behaviours. In the last 5 years, the Physical Activity Research Group has secured over $5M of funds (mostly through NHMRC, ARC and NHF grants, as well as through Queensland Government support). The Group has secured 7 competitive Fellowships (4 Early Career NHMRC, 1 NHF post-doc, and 2 NHF Future Leader Fellowships) and was involved in securing 6 Project Grants (NHMRC, ARC, NHF). In the last two years, researchers have published over 60 peer-reviewed papers in high quality journals. The Physical Activity Research Group collaborates with a number of internationally renowned research groups based in Australia, Europe and North America (e.g., The University of Newcastle, Ghent University, University of Alberta). This scholarship will provide the PhD Candidate with a strong research environment with ample opportunities for research collaborations at the national and international level.

Project Summary

The majority of people do not meet the health guidelines for a range of health behaviours (e.g., physical activity, diet, sleep, sitting time, weight). Due to the scale of the problem it is not possible to offer support and guidance to improve health behaviours on an individual basis. Therefore, we need methods that can effectively reach large numbers of people at low cost. Technology-based (e.g., websites, smartphone apps, activity trackers) interventions offer such opportunities, and while many such interventions have demonstrated good improvements in adopting healthy behaviours, people often don’t engage with the interventions for very long. Therefore, we need to develop new interventions that are more engaging for people to use so that long-term behaviour change can be established. Such interventions are usually theory-based and may include interactive components that provide social support, individual feedback (i.e. computer-tailoring), connect with social networks, offer options for self-monitoring and goal setting or other elements. In consultation with Prof Vandelanotte, the applicant will be free to choose a preferred population (e.g. office workers, older adults), health behaviour (e.g., physical activity, sleep) and technology to work with (web/app/tracker, within budgetary constraints). However, the proposed research must be significant, relevant, innovative and advance the field of research.

The student will gain key skills and training in fundamental higher degree research including systematic literature searches, study design, qualitative and quantitative research methods, data collection and analyses, project management, statistics and scientific writing.

The student will be hosted by CQUniversity, North Rockhampton campus, with opportunity to collaborate with researchers of the other universities. Selection of applicants will be based on merit.

The successful applicant will work under the supervision of Professor Vandelanotte and one or more co-supervisors.

Supporting Documentation

How to apply

Submit your Application:

  1. The candidate should be able to commence in the position as soon as they are available, in 2017. The application should be submitted by e-mail to (c.vandelanotte@cqu.edu.au) no later than close of business (5.00 pm AEST) on 8 September 2017. The commencement date is negotiable.

  2. Please include: 
  • A letter of motivation describing your skills and research expertise
  • Your current resume and a list of your publications and projects
  • A list of three references together with contact information

For more information, contact Professor Vandelanotte at: c.vandelanotte@cqu.edu.au or Ph: +61 (07) 4923 2183.

How will I know the outcome of my application?

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application after the closing date.

Donor details