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Early Prevention of Childhood Obesity Scholarship

A postgraduate research scholarship

This Scholarship has been established to enable an outstanding PhD scholar to work on a research project linked to the Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Translate (EPOCH-Translate).

Highlights

Value Eligibility Open date Close date
$35,950 p.a. (up to 3.5 years)
  • Commencing or enrolled domestic PhD student
  • Hold First Class Honours or equivalent
  • Undertake research in early prevention of obesity in childhood 
10 November 2021 17 January 2022

How to apply

Apply here.

Applicants must discuss their potential research program and their eligibility to undertake the planned research prior submitting their scholarship application.

Please refer to the terms and conditions section for information on the 3 broad Streams of work.

For further information on the area of research, please contact Prof. Louise Baur at louise.baur@health.nsw.gov.au

Benefits

This scholarship is valued at University of Sydney RTP Stipend value ($35,950 per annum in 2022) and is tenable for 3.5 years.

Who's eligible

You must:

  • be a domestic student
  • be currently enrolled or hold an unconditional offer of admission to undertake PhD on a full-time basis at the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Translate (EPOCH-Translate), Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney
  • hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a First Class Honours Equivalent Degree or a Master's degree with a substantial research component in public health, public health, health promotion, statistics, epidemiology, health economics, child health, child nutrition, obesity prevention, or related areas
  • be willing to conduct research in one of the 3 broad Streams of work (as elaborated in the Terms and Conditions below) in the EPOCH-Translate CRE under the supervision of one or more of the CRE investigators i.e. Prof. Louise Baur (Director of the EPOCH CRE), Clin A/Prof. Li Ming Wen, A/Prof. Alison Hayes, Dr Anna Lene Seidler and Prof. Elizabeth Denney-Wilson.

Background

The Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Scholarship has been established to enable an outstanding PhD scholar to work on a research project linked to the Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Translate (EPOCH-Translate) at the University of Sydney under the supervision of one or more of the CRE investigators i.e. Prof. Louise Baur (Director of the EPOCH-Translate CRE), Clin A/Prof. Li Ming Wen, A/Prof. Alison Hayes, Dr Anna Lene Seidler and Prof. Elizabeth Denney-Wilson.

The CRE aims to identify and translate the most effective, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable approaches to preventing obesity and reducing obesity-related behaviours in children aged 0-5 years.

1. Background

a. The Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Scholarship has been established to enable an outstanding PhD scholar to work on a research project linked to the Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Translate (EPOCH-Translate) at the University of Sydney under the supervision of one or more of the CRE investigators i.e. Prof. Louise Baur (Director of the EPOCH-Translate CRE), Clin A/Prof. Li Ming Wen, A/Prof. Alison Hayes, Dr Anna Lene Seidler and Prof. Elizabeth Denney-Wilson.

b. The new Centre of Research Excellence in the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood - Translate (EPOCH-Translate) is based primarily at the University of Sydney, with collaborative work being undertaken with other Universities. The CRE will run from 2022 to 2026 and aims to identify and translate the most effective, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable approaches to preventing obesity and reducing obesity-related behaviours in children aged 0-5 years.

c. Applicants will be able to choose one of the many potential projects summarised below:


STREAM 1: Fast tracking knowledge synthesis and translation: How can we enhance the effectiveness and translation of early childhood obesity prevention trials, particularly for priority population groups? This work is led by Dr Anna Lene Seidler from the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre and would suit students interested in individual participant data meta-analysis, behavioural change taxonomy and related topics.

STREAM 2: Efficient and equitable resource allocation for obesity prevention in early childhood: How do we best use limited resources for obesity prevention to improve child health and reduce inequities? This work is led by A/Prof Alison Hayes (Sydney School of Public Health) and will determine the costs and benefits of early obesity prevention in populations experiencing disadvantage and the budget impact of implementation and scale-up. This project would suit a student interested in health economic modelling and analysis of large population datasets.

STREAM 3: Scaling up and implementing effective approaches to early childhood obesity prevention into policy and practice: How do we most effectively scale-up evidence-based early childhood obesity interventions to maximise adoption, reach and public health impact? This covers the scale up and sustained delivery of effective interventions (A/Prof Li Ming Wen; Sydney School of Public Health) and integrating evidence-based early childhood obesity prevention strategies into routine Primary Health Care practice (Prof Elizabeth Denney-Wilson; Sydney Nursing School). These projects would suit students interested in health promotion, upscaling of interventions into routine service delivery, early childhood nutrition or aspects of primary care.

It may be possible to undertake research that falls across two of the Streams, or to propose a new area of work, as long as it aligns well with the existing Streams of work.

d. This scholarship is supported by Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarship.

2. Eligibility

a. Applicants must be an Australia Citizen, New Zealand Citizen, or an Australian Permanent Resident.

b. The Scholarship is offered subject to the applicant being currently enrolled or having an unconditional offer of admission to undertake PhD on a full-time basis at the Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood Translate (EPOCH-Translate) within the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. Applicants who don’t yet have an unconditional offer of admission can apply and be selected, however, no scholarship offer will be sent until the applicant has an unconditional offer of admission.

c. Applicants must hold an Honours degree (First Class) or a First Class Honours Equivalent Degree or a Master's degree with a substantial research component in public health, public health, health promotion, statistics, epidemiology, health economics, child health, child
nutrition, obesity prevention, or related areas.

d. Applicants must be willing to conduct research in one of the 3 broad Streams of work in the EPOCH-Translate CRE under the supervision of one or more of the CRE investigators i.e. Prof. Louise Baur (Director of the EPOCH CRE), Clin A/Prof. Li Ming Wen, A/Prof. Alison Hayes, Dr Anna Lene Seidler and Prof. Elizabeth Denney-Wilson. Applicants must discuss the potential research program and their eligibility to undertake the planned research with one or more of these investigators prior to submitting their application.

3. Selection Criteria

a. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship on the basis of:

i. demonstrated academic achievement,
ii. demonstrated research experience,
iii. curriculum vitae,
iv. area of study and/or research proposal,
v. feedback from two academic referees,
vi. excellent analysis and writing skills,
vii. exceptional interpersonal and communication skills,
viii. ability to work with researchers, practitioners and policymakers in a range of sectors,
ix. strong interest in obesity prevention,
x. interview

b. The successful applicant will be awarded the Scholarship by the Higher Degrees by Research Scholarships Sub-Committee (HDRSSC) on the recommendation of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) and Professor Louise Baur.

4. Value

a. The Scholarship provides a stipend allowance equivalent to the University of Sydney’s Research Training Program (RTP) Stipend rate (indexed on 1 January each year) for up to 3.5 years for PhD candidates. The University may approve a part-time stipend scholarship* where the University is satisfied that there are special circumstances beyond the student’s control (for example medical conditions, financial hardship, carer’s responsibilities).

*A part-time scholarship may have tax implications and students should seek tax advice from registered tax agents.

b. No extension is possible.

c. Periods of study already undertaken towards the degree prior to the commencement of the Scholarship, will be deducted from the maximum duration of the Scholarship.

d. The Scholarship cannot be deferred or transferred to another area of research.

e. No other amount is payable.

f. The Scholarship will be offered subject to the availability of funding.

5. Eligibility for Progression

a. Progression is subject to passing the annual progress evaluations, and maintaining satisfactory progress in coursework.

6. Leave Arrangements

a. Holders of the Scholarship receive up to 20 working days recreation leave every 12 months of the Scholarship and this may be accrued. Any unused leave when the Scholarship is terminated or completed will be forfeited. Recreation leave does not attract a leave loading. The supervisor's agreement must be obtained before leave is taken.

b. Holders of the Scholarship may take up to 10 working days sick leave every 12 months of the Scholarship and this may be accrued over the tenure of the Scholarship. Students with carer responsibility may convert up to five days of their annual sick leave entitlement to carers leave on presentation of medical certificate/s. Students taking sick leave must inform their supervisor as soon as practicable.

c. Holders of the Scholarship may receive additional paid sick leave of up to a total of twelve weeks during their scholarship for medically substantiated periods of illness where the student has insufficient sick leave entitlements available under Clause 6b above. Students applying for additional paid sick leave must do so at the start of absence or as soon as practicable. Periods of additional paid sick leave are added to the duration of the Scholarship.

d. Once female holders of the Scholarship have completed twelve months of their award, they are entitled to a maximum of twelve weeks paid maternity leave during the tenure of the Scholarship if she is the person who gives birth. Students applying for paid maternity leave should do so at least four weeks prior to the expected date of confinement. Periods of paid maternity leave are added to the duration of the Scholarship. Holders of the Scholarship who have not completed twelve months of their award may access unpaid maternity leave through the suspension provisions.

e. For non-birth giving scholarship holders, upon completed twelve months of their award, they are entitled to a maximum of 5 days paid paternity leave. Periods of paid paternity leave are added to the duration of the Scholarship. Holders of the Scholarship who have not completed twelve months of their award may access unpaid maternity leave through the suspension provisions.

7. Research Overseas

a. The Scholarship recipient may not normally conduct research overseas within the first six months of award.

b. The Scholarship holder may conduct up to 12 months of their research outside Australia. Approval must be sought from the student's supervisor, Head of School and the Faculty via application to the Higher Degree by Research Administration Centre (HDRAC) and will only be granted if the research is essential for completion of the degree. All periods of overseas research are cumulative and will be counted towards a student's candidature. Students must remain enrolled full-time at the University and receive approval to count time away.

8. Suspension

a. Holders of the Scholarship cannot suspend their award within the first six months.

b. Holders of the Scholarship may apply for up to 4 research periods suspension for any reason during the tenure of their award. Periods of suspension are cumulative and failure to resume study after suspension will result in the award being terminated. Approval to suspend must be given by the Head of the Department/School concerned. Periods of study towards the degree during suspension of the Scholarship will be deducted from the maximum tenure of the Scholarship.

c. Female holders of the Scholarship are entitled to up to an additional 4 research periods suspension (less any period of paid maternity leave) following each birth. The Scholarship holder should apply for the suspension within four weeks of the expected date of confinement.

9. Changes in Enrolment

a. The Scholarship recipient must notify HDRAC and their supervisor promptly of any planned changes to their enrolment including but not limited to: attendance pattern, suspension, leave of absence, withdrawal, course transfer, and candidature upgrade or downgrade. If the award holder does not provide notice of the changes identified above, the University may require repayment of any overpaid stipend.

10. Termination

a. Unless terminated according to provisions specified in earlier clauses, the Scholarship will be terminated:

I. upon submission of the thesis or at the end of the award,
II. on resignation or withdrawal of the student from their HDR program,
III. if the student ceases to be a full-time student and prior approval has not been obtained to hold the Scholarship on a part-time basis,
IV. upon the student having completed 14 research periods full-time study for a PhD,
V. if the recipient receives an alternative stipend scholarship whose value exceeds 75% of the stipend value of this scholarship,
VI. does not resume study at the end of a period of approved leave, or
VII. if the student ceases to meet the eligibility requirements specified for this Scholarship, (other than during a period in which the Scholarship has been suspended or during a period of approved leave).

b. The Scholarship may also be terminated by the University before this time if, in the opinion of the University:

I. the course of study is not being carried out with competence and diligence or in accordance with the terms of this offer,
II. the student fails to maintain satisfactory progress, or
III. the student has committed misconduct or other inappropriate conduct.

c. Stipend payments will be suspended throughout the duration of any enquiry/appeal process.

d. Once the Scholarship has been terminated, it will not be reinstated unless due to University error.

11. Misconduct

a. Where during the Scholarship a student engages in misconduct, or other inappropriate conduct (either during the Scholarship or in connection with the student’s application and eligibility for the Scholarship), which in the opinion of the University warrants recovery of funds paid to the student, the University may require the student to repay stipend amounts and any other payments made to the student in connection with the Scholarship. Examples of such conduct include and without limitation; academic dishonesty, research misconduct within the meaning of the Research Code of Conduct (for example, plagiarism in proposing, carrying out or reporting the results of research, or failure to declare or manage a serious conflict of interests), breach of the Code of Conduct for Students and misrepresentation in the application materials or other documentation associated with the Scholarship.

b. The University may require such repayment at any time during or after the Scholarship period. In addition, by accepting this Scholarship, the student consents to all aspects of any investigation into misconduct in connection with this Scholarship being disclosed by the University to the funding body and/or any relevant professional body.