How do Clinical Exercise Services affect health outcomes?

Degree type


Closing date

29 October 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore

About the research project

Physical inactivity is an important contributor to the alarming incidence many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and there is substantial evidence of the effectiveness of exercise training for a wide range of chronic diseases. This evidence has led to the Australian Government including referrals to and treatment by Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) under Medicare for people with a range of chronic medical conditions. However, a limitation of the existing evidence for exercise as a treatment comes from laboratory studies that are highly controlled and often do not reflect clinical practice outcomes. Additionally, this research may not readily translate to beneficial outcomes beyond the conclusion of the prescribed intervention period/research study. To date there have been few assessments of the benefits of exercise services delivered as part of usual clinical practice on physical activity participation and health outcomes in people with chronic disease.

AEPs are allied health professionals trained to prescribe exercise and facilitate long term behaviour change in sub clinical and clinical populations. The first part of this project will assess the effectiveness of AEP led lifestyle interventions for type 2 diabetes mellitus in clinical practice settings. It will examine the effect of EP services on physical activity, clinical measures and behaviour change over a six-month period. It is the first study to assess the effectiveness of this type of health treatment using real patient data. This is a multi-centre project which requires collaboration with other institutes and may involve opportunities for interstate travel. The study is currently underway, and it is anticipated that the candidate will help complete the data collection, analyse, and report the results. The second part of the PhD project will be negotiated with the successful candidate based on outcomes of the first study and the candidates background and interests.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Andrew Williams


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,597 per annum (2021 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


The project is open to domestic (Australian and New Zealand) and international applicants who are already in Australia (onshore) at the time of submitting their application.

Due to current Australian COVID-19 travel restrictions the University cannot accept applications from international applicants who are currently overseas.

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements and the following additional eligibility criteria specific to this project:

  • Applications are open to applicants from a Health Sciences background only

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Ideally be an Australian registered Allied Health Professional

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select the project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, A/Prof Andrew Williams, if you have any questions about the project; and
  3. Click here to submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including contact details of two referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email.

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