PhD scholarship - Understanding dietary patterns and behaviours in adults

A PhD scholarship is available at Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN). The PhD student, under the guidance of the Chief Investigator, will initiate and conduct research on the topic of ‘understanding dietary patterns and behaviours in adults’, led by Associate Professor Sarah McNaughton. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Project aim

This scholarship is aligned with research in the area of dietary patterns and may focus on either of the following specific research topics:

Understanding temporal eating patterns

Temporal eating patterns refer to the timing and distribution of food intake or distribution of eating occasions across the day. 

Increasing research suggests that the timing of food intake, not just the total amount of nutrients or foods, may be important for health and wellbeing. This research may examine how eating patterns are associated with sleep, learning from the eating patterns of shift workers using national and international data sets.

Translating dietary patterns research into health messages for consumers

Nutritional epidemiology plays a significant role in highlighting diet-disease relationships and underpins food-based dietary guidelines worldwide. Nutrition science has traditionally taken a reductionist approach and has focused solely on nutrient intake. 

Food-based approaches (such as dietary patterns and meal patterns) recognise that foods are consumed in complex combinations. Using qualitative and quantitative research methods, this work will focus on how dietary patterns research can be translated into dietary guidelines and how consumers and health practitioners understand the concepts of dietary patterns.

Value and duration


  • A stipend of $26,682 (2017 rate) per annum, tax exempt.
  • A relocation allowance up to $1,500 (2017 rate) awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin
  • Paid sick, maternity and parental leave.


Three years

Important dates

opening date

12 September 2016

closing date

24 February 2017

Eligibility criteria

  • Domestic candidates  only (Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Resident or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • 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.

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 Associate Professor Sarah McNaughton via email.