Home Public Health Opportunities University of Melbourne PhD Position Opportunity (Ph.D. in Healthy Housing)

University of Melbourne PhD Position Opportunity (Ph.D. in Healthy Housing)

by Public Health Update

The Population Interventions Unit, headed by Professor Tony Blakely, in the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics has a PhD position available commencing early 2022. The PhD research project will involve modelling the impacts of housing interventions (e.g. mould, indoor temperature, etc.). The research questions the PhD candidate will tackle are subject to the candidate’s own input. However, we anticipate research questions to address the following:

  • What is impact of housing interventions (e.g. mould, indoor temperature, etc.) on health gains across life course and how long till the health gains accrue?
  • What impact these interventions have on health inequalities and health expenditure?
  • What is the magnitude of the health gains compared to other health sector interventions (e.g. diet, tobacco)?

The candidate should anticipate having one or two ‘main focus’ research questions from the outset and one or two ‘arising’ research questions as the PhD develops.

The PhD will allow the candidate to develop in-depth skills and experience in the following:

  • Public health – an in-depth understanding of housing and health, and general understanding of population-wide versus targeted interventions, inequalities and the issues involved in policy implementation.
  • Epidemiology – an in-depth understanding of causal inference (to select the ‘best’ studies for key input parameters to modelling) and the epidemiology underlying population futures (disease incidence, case fatality, morbidity and prevalence; life tables and mortality rates).
  • Computer simulation and data science –moving beyond the siloed approaches by embracing newer methods (e.g. simulation modeling for evaluation of health gains, and machine learning to model complexity).
  • Economics – working out an optimal policy setting for society requires getting the epidemiology ‘right’, or at least plausible scenarios with uncertainty given our collective lack of knowledge, and then weaving in costs to the health system and society for a fuller picture. For the interested candidate, there is the opportunity to take the PhD in a full cost effectiveness direction, for example using a net monetary benefit approach to determine an optimal policy.

You will be immersed in the Population Interventions Unit and Team, led by Professor Tony Blakely. Your PhD will be part of the Centre of Research Excellence on Healthy Housing (https://www.healthyhousing-cre.org/ ) led by Professor Rebecca Bentley and the University of Melbourne. The exact mix of supervisors from these teams, and elsewhere, will be negotiated with the successful candidate depending on their selected research questions and skills they wish to obtain.

You will be expected to obtain a competitive University of Melbourne PhD scholarship – meaning you will have excellent grades in your undergraduate courses and studies. The PI Unit and the Healthy Housing CRE will top up your scholarship by $5000 per annum.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Masters or Honours degree in Public Health, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Statistics, Data Science or related field.
  • Strong skills in quantitative analysis
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Publication(s) in peer-reviewed journals and/or evidence of research impact will be highly regarded.
  • Experience in data analysis and knowledge in computing languages (e.g. Python, R) are highly regarded.
  • Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are currently prioritising applications with current valid working rights in Australia and candidates who are not affected by travel restrictions. Please see the latest updates to Australia’s immigration and border arrangements: https://covid19.homeaffairs.gov.au/
  • Outstanding international applicants will still be considered.

Funding comprises of a $5,000 AUD top-up scholarship. In order qualify for a top-up scholarship,
applicants are required to meet the University of Melbourne’s requirements for a Research Higher
Degree candidature and obtain a Graduate Research Scholarship, or otherwise provide self-funding.
Please refer to:
How to Apply
Please complete the Expression of interest form and send a completed copy, along with your CV, academic transcripts from all prior study and academic references as a single PDF document to Dr Kirsti Hakala Assendelft via email. We also welcome discussions with us prior to completing an Expression of Interest. For further enquiries please contact Prof Tony Blakely via email. Applications will be reviewed as received so please apply as soon as possible.


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