PhD Scholarship strength training and ageing

Victoria University, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) is offering a PhD Scholarship to work on a project related to strength training among older adults. Applications close on Friday 29 May 2015.

Australia’s population is ageing and although an active lifestyle has health benefits across the life span, most people do not participate in sufficient physical activity for health benefits. In particular, very few older Australian adults participate in strength training (e.g. weight or resistance training). Research from exercise interventions has shown that strength training has beneficial outcomes which are critical for the health and wellbeing of older adults, for example, improvements in physical functioning and the prevention of cognitive decline. However, little is known about the key influences on strength training among older adults, and data on patterns, trends and correlates of strength training among older adults are limited.

This project will focus on people aged 65+ years and will result in increased knowledge about the effects of strength training participation for health and wellbeing in this important population group. The project will make use of mixed-methodology and will use the socioecological model as a framework to examine the multiple levels of influence on strength training among older adults. Including individual factors (e.g. cost, motivation, intentions), social environmental factors (e.g. social support, perceived norms, modelling) & physical environmental factors (e.g. access to facilities) associated with strength training participation among adults aged 65+ years.

We envisage a series of studies including a systematic literature review, analysis of existing data on strength training and ageing, a focus group study and a survey study. This will provide the successful applicant with an excellent range of research skills. The exact series of studies will be developed with the successful applicant.

The scholarship is funded by ISEAL. It is commensurate with Australian Postgraduate Awards (2015 stipend rate: $25,849 per year) for 3 years with a possible extension of 6 months contingent on performance. The successful candidate will be based at the Footscray Park Campus of Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. The principal supervisor will be Dr Jannique van Uffelen, Senior Research Fellow in Active Ageing, with co-supervision from Dr Jason Bennie, Research Fellow in Active Living and Public Health and Professor Stuart Biddle, Program Leader in Active Living and Public Health. The project will be embedded in the Active Living & Public Health Team to provide a supportive, multidisciplinary research environment.

Eligibility criteria

  • Undergraduate degree (with a research component) in the field of public health, health promotion, sport and exercise science, psychology, or another relevant field (required).
  • Experience in conducting research in physical activity and/or other health-related field (required).
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including capacity to communicate effectively with researchers, older people and people in the industry (required).
  • Capacity to prepare reports and publications (required). 
  • Strong planning and organisational skills, with the ability to work systematically, prioritise tasks and set and meet deadlines (required).
  • Experience in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies (desirable).
  • Well-developed computer skills, including experience with quantitative or qualitative data analysis techniques and software such as SPSS, NVIVO (desirable).

Further information and how to apply

We aim to start this scholarship in September 2015, although the starting date can be negotiated.

To apply please submit your cover letter, including information about the eligibility criteria, and resume as a single document (Word or pdf only) to [email protected] by 5 p.m. on Friday 29th May 2015. Applications without ‘PhD Scholarship at Victoria University, Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)’ in the email subject field may not be assessed.

Closing date: Friday 29th May 2015


ISEAL has as its mission to make important contributions to society through innovative research in Sport, Exercise Science and Active Living.

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