PhD Scholarship Opportunity: Healthy Food, Healthy Planet, Healthy People - Centre of Research Excellence

Job No: GEORGE413
Location: Newtown

The George Institute is 700+ people around the world, all focused on improving the health of millions of people worldwide. As a medical research institute affiliated with leading universities and with projects in approximately 50 countries, we are challenging the status quo in healthcare to:

  • Find better treatments for the world's biggest health problems
  • Transform primary health care to support better health for more people
  • Harness the power of communities, governments and markets to improve health

Our innovative commercial enterprises help maximise our impact.

Please visit our website to read more about how we are addressing the world's biggest health problems.

The Opportunity

A PhD scholarship is now available for a suitably qualified individual to undertake research studies related to improving the healthiness and environmental sustainability of the food system, to be completed at UNSW Sydney.

The PhD opportunity is situated within a new Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) on ‘Healthy Food, Healthy Planet, Healthy People.’ The CRE brings together investigators from 12 organisations, four Australian states, and four countries to develop and deliver world-leading innovations in scoring foods based on nutritional and environmental criteria. Outcomes will be of interest to consumers, governments, and food industry stakeholders, and will support the development of policies to promote healthier, more sustainable population diets. The CRE is funded by the National Health and Medical Research.

The PhD student will be under the academic supervision of Professor Jason Wu, Dr Alexandra Jones, and Dr Eden Barrett and will work closely with other CRE collaborators. The scope of the PhD should broadly relate to improving methods for scoring the nutritional quality of foods and applying these scores to influence government policy and industry practices. The candidate will have access to the FoodSwitch Database of labelling and food composition information for more than 100,000 foods, which can be used to generate insights for individual products, categories and/or food manufacturers over time. The candidate will also have access to a large commercial household grocery purchasing dataset to monitor and model the potential impact of relevant government policies.

The research may involve significant quantitative and/or qualitative elements and should be designed to generate evidence to support policies and/or regulations to improve the healthiness and sustainability of Australian diets. By utilising the above datasets to measure the positive or negative impact on health of different food industry actors, the work may also fall within the growing field of research known as the commercial determinants of health.

In addition, the student will have the opportunity to participate in other research initiatives as part of the broader Food Policy team and the Healthier Societies Strategic Pillar at The George Institute for Global Health. This could include involvement in our new strategic programs of research and advocacy in Planetary Health and the Commercial Determinants of Health. There will also be opportunities to collaborate with other nutrition and public health researchers in Australia and globally.

The student will gain valuable training and have opportunity to interact with a diverse research team with expertise in nutrition science, food policy, public health law, epidemiology, clinical trials, and population-based modelling. The impact of their work will also be supported by The George Institute’s communications and government relations teams.


Professor Jason Wu, Dr Alexandra Jones, and Dr Eden Barrett.


Candidates must hold a First Class Honours or Masters degree in Nutrition, Public Health, Biostatistics, Public Policy, Sustainability, Law or other related field, or have equivalent experience

Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens or Australian permanent residents are eligible to apply.

Award Amount

The PhD Scholarship is at $35,000 per annum (tax exempt) for three years subject to satisfactory progress.

Application Guide

Applications must include:

  • A cover letter
  • Current resume
  • Copy of academic transcripts
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent residency, and
  • The names and contact details of at least two referees.

Candidates are recommended to highlight in their application:

  • Prior research experience
  • Evidence of scientific writing skills
  • Knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • Relevant policy or advocacy experience
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Organisational and time management skills
  • Other applicable indicators of excellence.

Closing Date

Midnight, 30th April 2023.

Apply Now

Privacy Acknowledgment

The George Institute for Global Health, together with its subsidiaries and associated companies worldwide (“The George Institute”, “we” and “our”) is committed to handling personal information (including health and other sensitive information) in accordance with applicable privacy laws, including the Australian Privacy Principles (“APPs”) set out in the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

When you apply for a job at the Institute you will be asked to set up an account and apply for any of the jobs posted in the system. You may be asked to submit personal information including, but not limited to: a) your name; b) your address; c) your email address; d) your telephone number; e) and other personal and sensitive information.

Any personal information you submit to our recruitment system will be used to process your application and is retained in the database to match your skills against any future job opportunities. We may contact you about your current job application/s and any future job opportunities that match your criteria.

The George Institute works with people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds with varied life experiences, physical abilities and interests and we seek to employ people who reflect the great diversity of people. We may ask personal questions regarding your identity, which will be used to inform our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging strategies with regards to recruitment. You may elect to not disclose this information.

I consent to The George Institute of Global Health to collect, use and disclose my personal information for the purpose of assessing and facilitating my application for employment.

Please see following link for more information on how the George Institute may collect and use your data:

Personal Details * Required field

  1. Digits only or add + for international numbers


Why work at the George?

We are committed to attracting, developing, rewarding and retaining the best people in their fields to conduct and support our innovative and highest quality research programs.