HDR Scholarship - Engaging and supporting first-time fathers in the promotion of healthy eating and active play from the start of life

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Engaging and supporting first-time fathers in the promotion of healthy eating and active play from the start of life'.

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus OR Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

This research project focuses on engaging and supporting first-time fathers regarding healthy eating and active play from the start of life and forms part of the broader INFANT (Infant feeding, active play and nutrition) effectiveness and implementation trial being conducted across Victoria.

The INFANT intervention has traditionally targeted first-time mothers, and has been shown to be efficacious in improving maternal and infant diet quality (infants aged 18months, 3.5y and 5y), but not father’s diets. Interviews with fathers identified that they believed that healthy eating and physical activity are important in early childhood, and that these positive behaviours can be promoted and supported through appropriate parental role modelling.  Further research however is needed to enhance the engagement of fathers and to maintain/improve paternal self-efficacy in the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity in early childhood.

This postgraduate research project will assist in translating research into practice by exploring how evidence-based parenting programs can be tailored to the needs of Victorian first-time fathers.

Project aim

This research project provides opportunities to explore the health information needs of Victorian first-time fathers and to develop and pilot test evidence-based, engaging health promotion materials around infant feeding and active play.

Research Questions:

What information and resources do Victorian fathers need to support infant feeding and active play for their children during the first 18 months of life?

What modes of delivery of early childhood infant feeding and active play information/ resources are most likely to ensure initial and ongoing engagement for Victorian fathers?

To what extent is INFANT (group-based program and/or a mobile application) a viable approach and what adaptations might be needed to engage and support Victorian fathers around early childhood infant feeding and active play?

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Thursday 25th February 2021


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,092 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)

This three-year position (or equivalent part time) offers:

Mentoring and supervision from a team of public health researchers and practitioners Networking opportunities with other public health and nutrition students through the Institute of Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Prof Karen Campbell

Prof Karen Campbell
Professor (Faculty of Health)

Prof Karen Campbell
+61 3 522 78414

Dr Rachel Laws
Senior Lecturer in Publich Health Nutrition

Dr Rachel Laws
+61 3 924 45574