HDR Scholarship - Social Network Analysis in Obesity Prevention

Applications now open

A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Social Network Analysis in Obesity Prevention'.

Project Supervisor

Associate Supervisor / Groups


Geelong Waterfront Campus

Research topic

The Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE) in the Institute for Health Transformation have over 15 years’ experience developing and implementing cutting-edge approaches to preventing obesity in partnership with communities. These interventions include actions by multiple stakeholders at many levels across many areas of community systems to create lasting, sustainable changes to promote healthier behaviours. One critical question surrounds the ways in which community characteristics and networks contribute to the success of complex community-based interventions. The application of systems science, including social network analysis, systems dynamics and agent-based modelling can contribute to a greater understanding of these factors, allowing us to better tailor interventions to communities, and better support communities toward successful outcomes.

The PhD scholarship will involve working with social network data collected over a number of years (ongoing) from >20 communities to explore the impacts of interventions on network characteristics and the impact of network characteristics on intervention adoption, implementation and effectiveness. This scholarship is funded in connection with a NHMRC joint-funded Partnership Project (RESPOND) and the candidate will work alongside a large group of researchers and community participants to complete the project. The project will be based at Deakin University and be jointly supervised by obesity researchers at Deakin University and experts in Social Network Analysis at Swinburne University.

Project aim

The aims of this project will be to

  1. Use social network analysis techniques to better understand the adoption, implementation and effectiveness of complex community-based obesity prevention interventions
  2. Develop new techniques and approaches to analyse longitudinal, multi-level, multi-community social network data in a community setting
  3. Develop recommendations for optimisation of complex community-based interventions based on insights gained network science

Important dates

Applications will remain open until a candidate has been appointed


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:

  • Skills in social network analysis
  • Strong background in public health and quantitative methods (epidemiology / biostatistics/ mathematics)

How to apply

Interested applicants should email their CV to Dr Melanie Nichols

Applicants invited to submit a full application should follow the instructions on our How to Apply page.


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Melanie Nichols or Prof Steven Allender

Dr Melanie Nichols
Senior Research Fellow
Email Melanie Nichols
+61 3 522 78446

Prof Steven Allender
Email Steven Allender
+61 3 522 78305