HDR Scholarship - Co-creation and implementation of interventions in Food Retail Environments

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Co-creation and implementation of interventions in Food Retail Environments'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervisors

Dr Jill Whelan (Deakin University) and A/Prof Julie Brimblecombe (Monash University)


Geelong Waterfront Campus

Research topic

The Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Food Retail Environments for Health (Re-FRESH) is the first National Health and Medical Research Council Centre (NHMRC) for Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health. It aims to transform the environments in which we buy food and beverages in order to improve population diet and health. Food retail environments incentivise and promote unhealthy food choices, leading directly to poor health outcomes. New solutions that are compatible with retailers and the reality of the large and complex food system are needed. The CRE brings together world leading researchers in food systems, food policy and healthy food retailing from Australia, New Zealand and Canada to demonstrate how the retail setting can shift to healthier food and drink provision. It seeks to build research and policy capacity in this area and has an explicit objective to support PhD students and early career researchers.

We are seeking a highly motivated leading thinker to join CRE-REFRESH and undertake studies for a PhD. Joining this world leading team, the PhD is positioned within a supportive team to develop and test innovative methods for co-development and implementation of interventions to create healthier food environments across different retail settings. The PhD candidate will sit within the Global Obesity Centre, at the Waterfront Campus Geelong, a research group based in the Institute for Health Transformation at Deakin University. This PhD is also supported by the Remote Stores Research Collaborative. The PhD student will gain practical experience in evidence-based food systems planning, implementation and evaluation and develop strong skills in community and stakeholder engagement, systems thinking, statistical and qualitative evaluation. The PhD program seeks to develop a strong and capable future leader in co-design of food environment interventions.

Project aim

The successful candidate will utilise a community-based participatory approach to co-create interventions in food retail environments and/or food service settings in regional and rural areas of Victoria and Australia. The project will specifically focus on the elements needed for the successful adoption, implementation and sustainability of these co-created interventions. This may involve undertaking a systematic review of implementation frameworks relevant to public health food supply interventions, and testing different frameworks in different settings (remote Indigenous, remote Victorian, rural, regional and urban).

This PhD will aim to identify both the common and unique ways communities influence food availability in retail environments. Data may come from a systematic review of the literature, an analysis of the variables identified by each community (through the participatory design), supplemented by interviews with consumers and retailers. This PhD may result in a new advocacy intervention linking with and learning from existing advocacy groups (for example Parents Voice).

The candidate will work closely with two interventions currently underway within GLOBE, namely:  Whole of Systems Trial Of Prevention Strategies for childhood obesity (WHOSTOPS) and Reflexive Evidence & Systems interventions to Prevent Obesity & Non-communicable Disease (RESPOND) which will provide access to a number of local government areas across regional and rural Victoria. The PhD candidate will also work closely with other investigators in the Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health (REFRESH).

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Thursday 2nd January 2020.


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $27,596 per annum tax exempt (2019 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas
  • International students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of 4 years

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate
  • 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.

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Basic expertise and experience in public health nutrition, health promotion, food systems or related disciplines.

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 Dr Jill Whelan or Prof Steven Allender

Dr Jill Whelan
Research Fellow
Email Dr Jill Whelan
+61 3 5227 8039

Prof Steven Allender
Email Steven Allender
+61 3 522 78305