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Deakin University

  • 21% international / 79% domestic

HDR Scholarship - Harnessing parks as a public resource for active living and social connectedness

Key details

Length of Support
3 years

About this scholarship

A PhD scholarship is available in Deakin'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 on the topic 'Harnessing parks as a public resource for active living and social connectedness' led by Dr Jenny Veitch. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Research topic

Physical inactivity is a global epidemic and the fourth leading cause of non-communicable deaths worldwide. Parks are a key component of liveable cities and an important public resource providing opportunities for people of all ages to engage in physical activity, connect socially with family and friends, and have contact with nature. However, parks are generally under-utilised and most park visitors engage in low levels of physical activity. To maximise use of these valuable public resources, parks must be designed or modified to be appealing and beneficial for people of all ages. However, little research exists to inform park design for people across the lifespan. 

This project will investigate what park features are necessary to promote physical activity and increase park visitation, park-based physical activity and social connectedness among children, adolescents, adults and older adults. It will be nested within an ARC Discovery Project.

This project would suit applicants with a background in exercise science, health science, health promotion, or landscape architecture and have an interest in the built environment and physical activity.

Project aim

The aim of this project is to improve physical activity and utilisation of parks by investigating what park features are necessary and what need to be modified to enhance their appeal.


  • A stipend of $27,082 per annum tax exempt (2018 rate)
  • A relocation allowance from $500 to $1,500 (2017) awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin
  • 12 weeks paid sick leave
  • 12 weeks paid parental leave
  • For international students only: Tuition fee and overseas health coverage for the duration of four years.


Three years

Eligibility criteria

This scholarship is only open to domestic and international candidates.

Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (First Class) or a master's degree with a substantial research component. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information. Applicants must have fluency in English (evidence of English proficiency is required), be highly motivated, and able to work in a multidisciplinary team

Additional desirable criteria include:

  • Previous research experience in physical activity and/or dietary behaviour is desirable but not essential
  • Having a level of competence in data analysis, data mining, or statistical analyses would be also desirable


  • Female
  • Male
Eligible Study Fields
Property & Built Environment
Medical & Health Sciences