Towards a digital platform for promoting health behaviour change - PhD Scholarship

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin University's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences. The PhD student, based at the Burwood campus and under the guidance of the Chief Investigator, will initiate and conduct research on the topic of ‘Towards a digital platform for promoting health behaviour change’ led by Prof Ralph Maddison and Alfred Deakin Professor Kylie Ball.

Research topic

Secondary prevention is the term used to describe the targeted treatment of many non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. There is clear and definitive evidence and clinical guidelines that document the treatments patients should receive after a heart attack; however 33% of people a year after their heart attack are not taking evidence-based medications or participating in centre-based cardiac rehabilitation. Innovative, cost effective and practical solutions are needed to address this gap. 

Given the challenges of engaging people face-to-face, digital interventions, in particular mobile health, offer promise for improving cardiovascular risk-factors. While a number of such interventions have been developed in the Australian context, no central platform brings these together for enhancing self-management. Work is required to develop a digital platform for the delivery of theory-and evidence-based self-management interventions, offering people the opportunity to pick and choose from a suite of programmes that meets their needs. This PhD will explore technological solutions for improving self-management in people with heart disease.


This project will use new technologies for improving access and delivery of self-management behaviours in people with heart disease.

Value and duration


$26,288 per annum


3 years


  • Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full-time and hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a Master's degree with a substantial research component in a related field. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.
  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree with Honours or a Master’s degree with a substantial research component, or equivalent, in exercise science, health sciences, public health, epidemiology, engineering (data mining), statistics.
  • Previous research experience working in clinical settings is desirable but not essential.
  • Fluency in English (evidence of English proficiency is required), highly motivated, and able to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • Previous research experience in physical activity and/or dietary behaviour is desirable but not essential.
  • Having a level of competence in data analysis, data mining, or statistical analyses would be also desirable.
  • Applications are open to Australian/New Zealand citizens and Australian permanent residents.

How to apply

Please refer to the how to apply for a research degree page for application information.

Further information

If you wish to discuss your research interests and project proposal before applying, please contact Professor Ralph Maddison via email or phone +61 4 2023 2459.