Research Supervisor Connect

What does it take to implement a new screening program?


We are seeking expressions of interest (EOI) from highly motivated candidates interested in pursuing a PhD program in health services research or implementation science within the cancer care context. This program of research will explore the potential implementation of a national lung cancer screening program in Australia. The successful candidate will be expected to apply for a PhD Scholarship through Research Training Program (RTP) University of Sydney and/or NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship simultaneous with their university enrolment and/or in the first year of their PhD.


Dr Rachael Dodd, Dr Heather Shepherd.

Research location

Camperdown - School of Public Health

Program type



There are lessons to be learned from both the implementation of the breast, cervical and bowel screening programs, as well as the de-implementation/renewal of the cervical screening program. The three current national cancer screening programs are population-based within certain age ranges - the lung cancer screening program would be the first targeted screening program in a high-risk population. For a lung cancer screening program to be effective, it is pertinent that the public are aware it is available. We need to make sure to consult with the public, get the timing right about information release of a potential program, need to make good access to information and education for both public and the health professionals, and to make the evidence behind the implementation of the program clear. Although health professionals will be responsible for discussing LCS and screening eligibility with patients, ensuring the public are aware and are empowered to approach their GP or other health professionals to discuss lung cancer screening. This would involve working with peak bodies such as Cancer Australia, federal and state health departments and institutes, as well as and consumer advocacy groups. Studies would be framed by implementation science and public health approaches and could include: 1) Focus groups - media, venues, methods for campaigns; 2) Consumers - campaign advisory boards for development of materials; 3) an RCT investigating the effectiveness of different public education strategies.

Additional information

Research Environment
The research will take place at the School of Public Health at The University of Sydney. The candidate will work under the direct supervision of four experienced academics: Dr Nicole Rankin, Dr Rachael Dodd, Dr Samantha Quaife (Queen Mary University, London) and Dr Heather Shepherd, who have extensive experience in behavioural science, implementation science and health communication. The candidate will also have access to a multidisciplinary network which comprises of expertise in lung cancer screening, primary care research, and vital connections with key stakeholders and consumer representatives, as well as further research support through Faculty of Medicine and Health and School of Nursing.
Candidate Profile
a. Applicants must have an unconditional offer of admission for full-time studies in a PhD at the University of Sydney.
b. Applicants must be willing to conduct research into lung cancer screening.
c. Applicants must hold a Honours (1 or 2A) or a Master's Degree in psychology, health or social sciences, public health, medicine, nursing or other related area.
d. Applicant must be able to demonstrate the following:
I. the ability to perform quantitative social research,
II. the ability to perform qualitative research,
III. the ability to work in a multi-disciplinary research team,
V. project management and organisational ability, and
VI. the ability to fulfil goals and deliver outcomes within a specified time period.
e. Applicants must apply for further Scholarship and/or research funds.
f. Applicants must have publications in public health or health services.
g. Applicants must be an Australian Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or New Zealand Citizen.
Essential Selection Criteria:
• Hold a relevant Honours or Master degree
• Demonstrated ability to perform quantitative social research such as surveys, experimental studies or randomised trials, and associated data analysis
• Evidence of project management and organisation ability, including the ability to fulfill goals and deliver outcomes within a specified time period
• Demonstrated interest in a career in health services research
• Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
• Demonstrated ability to work in a multi-disciplinary research team
• Demonstrated ability to analyse data using SPSS, SAS, and Excel
• Demonstrated interest in cancer screening
• Capacity to seek scholarship funds, with support from supervisors
Desired Selection Criteria:
• Demonstrated ability to perform qualitative research such as interviews, focus groups, thematic coding and analysis
• Publication(s) in public health or health services research
Amount awarded
The Research Training Program Stipend Scholarship rate (formerly Australian Postgraduate Awards), which is indexed annually 1 January. In 2020 it is $35,000.
How to Apply
Please send an email with your CV and a short cover letter outlining your background and motivation to Dr Rachael Dodd:

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2904

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