Population-level dementia prevention

Can we prevent dementia at population level in Tasmanian via public health behaviour change measures?

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

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. Started in 2019, the ISLAND cohort contains over 7000 Tasmanian residents aged 50 and over. The objectives of ISLAND are based on evidence that more than 40% of dementia is attributable to behavioural and lifestyle factors, such as 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.

The ISLAND PhD scholar will analyse multi-year ISLAND data relating to these modifiable dementia risk factors, collected annually since study commencement, to identify patterns in demographic, modifiable risk factors and behaviour change indices, over time and by intervention exposures. This project will generate a deeper understanding of what, how and for whom an online, cohort-based public health risk reduction program can improve quality of life in ageing, and reduce the future risk of developing dementia. The candidate will develop important public health, implementation science and behaviour change research expertise. The work conducted will help extend and translate dementia risk reduction evidence in real world settings and provide a vital next step toward informing local, national and global public health dementia prevention policy and practice.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Larissa Bartlett


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 $31,500 per annum (2023 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.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project

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 essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Passion for advancing knowledge about improving brain health and preventive medicine
  • Demonstrable data analysis, interpretation and reporting experience
  • Evidence of proficiency in academic writing (e.g. contribution to peer reviewed journal articles, thesis)
  • Prior work in a related industry or academic field
  • Works autonomously, contributes to team goals and outputs

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Familiarity with the R computing environment for conducting analyses
  • Interest and/or experience in data visualization techniques
  • Experience working in multidisciplinary teams

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, Dr Larissa Bartlett to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. 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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