PhD and Postdoctoral opportunities

If you’re interested in making a difference to health by reducing the rates of chronic disease and improving quality of life, consider IPAN.


The benefits of PhDs and Postdoctorates with IPAN

At IPAN we focus on both nutrition and physical activity. We have a large, vibrant group of students and leading researchers from different disciplines and backgrounds.

We're well-known for fostering the next generation of young researchers in a supportive and stimulating environment, and have a dedicated focus on mentoring early career researchers.

Our research in physical activity and nutrition is ranked above world standard* and we have a strong reputation for publishing and presenting our findings at key Australian and international conferences. 

IPAN is recognised as a leader in innovative, high-quality research that translates into real-world applications. We work to maintain national and international collaborations that open the world up for the team. We've consistently secured funding to support our research from competitive research funding schemes, including the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC).

*State of Australian University Research 2015-16: Volume 1 ERA National Report, © Commonwealth of Australia 2015

Postdoctoral opportunities

While IPAN doesn't have funding to support postdoctoral positions, we work with strong candidates to help develop applications to relevant funding schemes, including:

  • Deakin University Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. These two-year fellowships are for early-career researchers. 
  • Heart Foundation postdoctoral and future leader fellowships. The National Heart Foundation of Australia offers funding for postdoctoral positions relevant to cardiovascular disease up to 10 years post PhD. 
  • Australian Research Council (ARC) Fellowships. The ARC offers both Discovery Early Career Research Awards (DECRA) and Future Fellowships.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Fellowships. The NHMRC offers a range of fellowship opportunities from early career through to senior fellowships. 
  • Endeavour Research Fellowships. These fellowships are administered by the Australian Government Department of Education, and provide funding support to non-Australian researchers from eligible countries to spend between four and six months in Australia.
  • A number of international organisations offer postdoctoral funding for non-Australian researchers to spend time in Australia.

PhD opportunities

Harnessing parks as a public resource for active living and social connectedness (Scholarship available)

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health. The PhD student will initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Harnessing parks as a public resource for active living and social connectedness' led by Dr Jenny Veitch. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus.

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Testing the projected benefits of living in a 20-minute neighbourhood (Scholarship available)

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health. The PhD student will initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Testing the projected benefits of living in a 20-minute neighbourhood' led by Dr Lukar Thornton. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus. Various projects are available for students to choose from , however only one PhD scholarship is available.

PDF PhD opportunities.pdf -131.7KB PhD opportunities relating to the 20-minute neighbourhood - Melbourne and Canberra

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Understanding eating patterns (Scholarship available)

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health. The PhD student will initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Understanding eating patterns' led by Associate Prof Sarah McNaughton. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus.

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Translating dietary patterns research into health messages for consumers (Scholarship available)

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health. The PhD student will initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Translating dietary patterns research into health messages for consumers' led by Associate Prof Sarah McNaughton. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus.

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Cognition and Ageing

Population ageing is leading to an increasing number of people living with cognitive impairment and dementia, which has been associated with an increased risk of falls and injuries. Cognitive frailty is an emerging concept which refers to the presence of both frailty and cognitive impairment. Currently the mechanisms which may link cognitive impairment to physical decline in muscle mass, strength and function are poorly understood. This project aims to improve our understanding of the risk factors and underlying physiological changes which contribute to concurrent decline to brain health and mobility. Findings from this study will help with the development of suitable interventions to target cognitive and physical decline in older people.

Applications are invited for a PhD student to work on this project under the supervision of Dr Helen Macpherson at the Institute for Physical Activity Nutrition, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Students will possess an undergraduate degree with Honours (first class, or anticipation of 1st class Honours in 2017) in a relevant Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience or Health Sciences discipline. Interested students must be eligible for enrolment in a PhD program at Deakin University and eligible to apply for an Australian Postgraduate Award or equivalent. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

Interested applicants should contact Dr Helen Macpherson

The impact of exercise combined with dietary supplementation on musculoskeletal health in older people at risk of cognitive decline

Improving management of debilitating spinal pain


Is park visitation associated with reduced stress levels?

There is increasing evidence that exposure to natural outdoor environments is associated with lower stress levels, better mood and better academic performance. We are currently undertaking research on park visitation in urban environments and we are interested in measuring the impact of park visitation on stress levels.  In this project, the PhD student will start by undertaking a systematic review of the literature on the impact of exposure to natural outdoor environments on physiological and psychological stress levels.  The student will then design and conduct one or more experiments among park users.

Within our research team, we have expertise in assessing factors influencing park visitation and in measuring self-report stress, anxiety and depression levels and in physiological and hormonal measures of stress.  Experimental methodologies used in this project may include self-report stress, anxiety and depression questionnaires and/or measurement of heart rate and blood pressure and/or measurement of hair cortisol, cortisol awakening response, diurnal cortisol levels and/or salivary alpha amylase levels.

In broad terms, the aim of this research project will be to determine whether park visitation and the behaviours engaged in during their visit are associated with reduced stress levels.

Applications are invited for a PhD student to work on this project under the supervision of Dr Anne Turner and Dr Jenny Veitch at the Institute for Physical Activity Nutrition, Deakin University, Burwood Campus.

This project would suit a student from Exercise and Sport Science, Food and Nutrition Sciences, Biological Science, Biomedical Sciences, Science or a related science-based discipline. Interested students must meet Deakin University’s PhD eligibility requirements. We will work with suitably qualified applicants to apply for scholarship funding.

Interested applicants should contact Dr Anne Turner (Principal Supervisor) or Dr Jenny Veitch (Co-Supervisor).

Contact us

Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN)
+61 3 9244 6613
Email IPAN
Twitter: @DeakinIPAN

School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Deakin University
221 Burwood Highway
Burwood Victoria 3125