Restorative Places: Nature and dementia

Restorative Places: A mixed methods study to improve understanding of the relationships between nature connection, stress and dementia risk

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Contact with nature and nature connection have been shown to reduce stress and improve stress recovery. People that score highly in nature connectedness tend to score highly on measures of eudemonic wellbeing, suggesting that they are performing well psychologically, happier (positive affect) and more satisfied with life.

Nevertheless, little is known about the relationship between nature connection, perceived stress, physiological stress parameters and dementia risk.  For those living in cities, greater tree canopy cover is associated with lower dementia risk  highlighting the potential benefit of nature connection in dementia risk reduction. To realise this benefit, we need to better understand the impacts of nature connection on stress levels, health and cognition, and the mediators of these across rural and urban gradients. This applied, constructivist research study utilises mixed methods (survey data, journaling, walk-along interviews and cortisol monitoring) within the ISLAND Resilience Initiative, a longitudinal research project involving ~1400 participants aged 50 years+ across Tasmania.  This project will shed light on how nature connection might minimise psychological distress and promote social connection and physical activity for people at risk of and living with dementia. It will suit someone with a strong interest in nature-based preventative interventions for dementia.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Pauline Marsh


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.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

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:

  • Some familiarity with quantitative and qualitative research methods

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Familiarity with dementia studies, the ISLAND project, and outdoor health principles

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Pauline Marsh to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • 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.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 27 March 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the 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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