HDR Scholarship - Understanding eating patterns

Applications now open

A PhD Scholarship is available in Deakin University'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 in 'Population Nutrition: Understanding eating patterns at a population level' led by Professor Sarah McNaughton.

The successful applicant will be based at the Deakin's Melbourne Burwood Campus and the project is expected to commence by 28 February 2019.

Research Topic

Nutritional epidemiology has primarily focused on individual nutrients and foods, and more recently overall dietary patterns. A little explored area is the issue of eating patterns. Foods are consumed together, not just as whole diets, but also as eating such as meals and snacks.

We know little about how foods are eaten together in particular eating occasions. Increasing research suggests that the timing of food intake, not just the total amount of nutrients or foods, may be important for health and well-being. Temporal eating patterns refer to the timing and distribution of food intake or distribution of eating occasions

Project aim

There are a number of important research questions that could be examined in this project including:

  • examining intakes of core food and discretionary foods at meals and snacks to identify opportunities for intervention and potential messages
  • the role of snacking in eating occasions and meeting dietary guidelines
  • the relationship between eating patterns and other health behaviours such as physical activity and sleep
  • the relationship between temporal eating patterns and health outcomes
  • understanding drivers of timing of eating using qualitative research questions
  • developing and testing messages based around modifying eating occasion to move people towards the dietary guidelines

This research will use existing national and international datasets to answer these research questions, and may use also data from the MEALS study and a new ARC Discovery project led by Professor McNaughton, depending on the specific research questions.

Value and duration


  • A stipend of $27,082 per annum tax exempt (2018 rate, AUD)
  • A relocation allowance from $500 to $1,500 awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin


  • 3 years

Important dates

Opening date


Closing date


Eligibility criteria

This scholarship is open domestic candidates.

Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full time and hold an Honours degree (First Class) or an equivalent standard Masters degree with a substantial research component. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.

How to apply

People interested in applying for these scholarship in the specified area of research are invited to lodge an expression of interest in the first instance. Candidates may be interviewed by phone or in person.

Please send an expression of interest via email to Professor Sarah McNaughton including:

  • a brief curriculum vitae with qualifications, research experience and any publications
  • an indication of the area of research that you are interested in undertaking
  • details of two referees
  • current contact details

Further information

For further information please contact Professor Sarah McNaughton.