Benefits of dementia risk reduction interventions

Assessing the long term benefits of dementia risk reduction interventions (ISLAND Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease)

Degree type


Closing date

30 August 2021



Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International Onshore


$28,597pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

Current estimates suggest 40% to 48% dementia is attributable to behavioural and lifestyle factors. These factors include physical inactivity, mid-life obesity, low early-life education, mid-life hypertension, depression, smoking, diabetes, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, alcohol use, social isolation and air pollution. Emerging evidence also suggests suboptimal diet, cognitive inactivity, and poor sleep quality may exacerbate dementia risk. There is growing evidence that modifying these behavioural and lifestyle risk factors can help reduce dementia risk.

Implementation research is now needed to translate experimental evidence into practice, to determine the conditions in which risk reduction interventions yield the greatest influence.

The Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease (ISLAND) is a 10-year, large sample, prospective, public health cohort study of dementia risk behaviours, and of dementia risk reduction interventions, in 5% of the Tasmanian population aged 50 and over. Research conducted through ISLAND will extend and translate dementia risk reduction evidence in real world settings and provide a vital next step toward informing public health dementia prevention policy and practice.

The ISLAND PhD scholar will evaluate ISLAND participants’ intervention engagement and changes over time in modifiable dementia risk factors at population level. The candidate will develop important public health, implementation science and behaviour change research expertise, and help translate dementia risk reduction findings into health promotion programs.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof James Vickers


The scholarship supporting this project 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 fee scholarship for up to 4 years (successful domestic applicants will be awarded an RTP Fees Offset and successful international applicants will be awarded a University of Tasmania Fees Offset)

The scholarship supporting this project is funded by the University of Tasmania and the Australian Government through the Research Training Program.


The project is open to domestic (Australia 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 PhD minimum entry requirements.

Applicants from the following disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Health, public health, health promotion
  • Medicine, psychology, neuroscience
  • Allied health, nursing
  • Epidemiology

Selection Criteria

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

Additional selection criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Community engagement, science communication and statistical analysis

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof James Vickers, 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 2 x 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 by the advertised outcome date.

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