Current PhD Opportunities – Apply Now!

Are you passionate  about children’s health? Interested in the growing field of implementation science? And looking for an opportunity to work with leading global researchers?

The National Centre of Implementation Science (NCOIS), in partnership with Hunter New England Population Health Research Group (HNEPHRG) are seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from highly motivated candidates interested in pursuing a PhD in implementation research.

About Our Research Centre

The programs of research will be undertaken as part of the NCOIS, a NHMRC funded Centre for Research Excellence.  Comprising of world leading Australian and international researchers, the NCOIS executes research to improve the implementation of chronic disease prevention programs in community settings. NCOIS also builds research capacity in implementation science and facilitates knowledge translation and collaboration.

HNEPHRG is co-located with Hunter New England Population Health (HNEPH), Australia’s largest population health unit, conducting applied chronic disease prevention and health services research. The group collectively supervises 20 PhD students undertaking complex interventions in a range of community and health care settings.

The opportunity to work across both centres provides students with a dynamic research environment at the intersection of research, policy and practice, providing access to specialists in implementation science and behavioural medicine.


We encourage applicants with a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate degree with an interest in population health to apply. Relevant degrees may include but are not restricted to; psychology, teaching, dietetics, nursing, physiotherapy, sports science, medicine or other allied health. Whilst graduates who have completed an Honours project is advantageous it is not essential. Students in their final year of study are eligible to apply.


These scholarships are available for domestic students only. The successful applicants will be offered a 3.5 year full-time scholarship at the value of $28,092 per annum (2020 rate – indexed annually). In addition, and in accordance with the scholarship rules, the successful applicants may also be offered the opportunity to be employed one day per week through the research group on a commensurate HEW scale. For additional information about undertaking a PhD at UoN see


The students will be members of a multi-disciplinary team and co-located at HNEPH providing an opportunity work alongside and engage with leading public health researchers, health psychologists, dietitians, education consultants and health promotion practitioners. The students will have access to administration support, statisticians, IT and be provided with office space. The positions will also be supported by the research environment of The University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and the appointed students will be encouraged to join in staff development, meetings and other opportunities. Students will also be eligible for membership of the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre. These projects are all externally funded through the NCOIS or grant funding including NHMRC funding and as such all project costs are covered.


The positions are for seven (7) PhD students commencing second semester 2020 or first semester 2021 (by 01 March 2021). Please refer to the admission eligibility criteria for minimum academic requirements. In addition the successful applicant must be able to meet the following criteria:


  1. Excellent organisational, time management, written and verbal communication skills;
  2. The ability to work both independently and in a team environment;
  3. Demonstrated ability to write reports or peer-reviewed manuscripts
  4. Commitment to Indigenous health


Interested applicants should select the PhD opportunity of interest from the list below, check the details for each, including the closing date, and e-mail a one page letter outlining how they meet the above eligibility criteria, a brief (2 page) CV and copies of academic transcript to the relevant contact, as listed below. IMPORTANT: Closing dates may vary for each opportunity.


(For full position descriptions and application form, visit:


Assessment of the translation and impact of public health implementation research

This PhD is in the area of impact assessment which applies economic and non-economic principles, methods and tools to encourage, optimise and measure translation and impact from investments in health and medical research to i) increase the likelihood of impact being generated, ii) reduce the time to impact and iii) identify the benefits and returns from this research investment. This work is underpinned by the Framework to Assess the Impact of Translational health research (FAIT) which was developed by Health Research Economics staff at the Hunter Medical Research Institute.

This PhD will apply FAIT within the implementation science research program, concentrating specifically on implementation of chronic disease prevention programs, policies and practices in community settings. The two main arms of this work will be: The retrospective application of FAIT to Good for Kids (a Hunter region-based program designed to support schools, childcare centres and sporting clubs promote healthy eating and physical activity policies and programs targeted at children).

More information can be found here or contact Penny Reeves

This program is seeking one (1) PhD student.

To Apply:  send your application Penny Reeves

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 5th December 2020

Related publications

  1. Searles A, Doran C, Attia J, Knight D, Wiggers J, Deeming S, et al. An Approach to Measuring and Encouraging Research Translation and Research Impact. Health Research Policy and Systems 2016;14(60).
  2. Reeves P, Deeming S, Ramanathan S, Wiggers J, Wolfenden L, Searles A. Measurement of the translation and impact from a childhood obesity trial programme: Rationale and protocol for a research impact assessment. Health Research Policy and Systems. 2017;15(1).

‘Identification of evidence-based practice gaps to determine international and national priorities for school-based chronic disease prevention

The specific focus of this PhD scholarship is to identify international evidence-based practice gaps in school-based programs targeting nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use under the guidance of international leaders in implementation science, chronic disease prevention and evidence synthesis (including Emeritus Professor Adrian Bauman and Associate Professor Luke Wolfenden). This research will involve engagement with policymakers, health practitioners and education partners, with the aim of providing international guidance regarding which school-based programs should be prioritised by governments for future implementation.

For more information see:

This program is seeking one (1) PhD student.

To Apply:  send your application to Dr Rebecca Hodder:

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 18th November 2020

Exploring the potential of secondary school-based programs that address multiple health, educational and psycho-social outcomes.’

The specific focus of this PhD scholarship is to investigate the health (e.g. nutrition, physical activity, tobacco/alcohol initiation), educational (e.g. academic achievement, absenteeism), and psycho-social (e.g. mental health) co-benefits of school-based chronic disease prevention interventions and identifying strategies to improve the implementation of school-based chronic disease prevention interventions at scale.

For more information see:,-educational-and-psycho-social-outcomes

This program is seeking one (1) PhD student.

To Apply: send your application to Dr Rebecca Hodder:

APPLICATIONS CLOSE: 18th November 2020

Related publications


  1. Embedding researchers in health service organizations improves research translation and health service performance: the Australian Hunter New England Population Health example (