Wood smoke air pollution: Implementing interventions to improve public health

Winter wood smoke: Developing new approaches to a persistent air pollution problem

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Wood heater smoke causes severe pollution every winter across many parts of Australia. In Sydney and Melbourne, wood heaters are the biggest source of human-made particle pollution, contributing more than traffic and industry. However, reducing wood heater pollution – and the associated health impacts – has proved a 'wicked problem', largely due to economic and cultural barriers to reducing wood heater use.

This project will involve the design, implementation and evaluation of novel community level interventions to reduce exposure to wood heater smoke in targeted locations across Australia. This will contribute to the work of the air quality theme of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP)'s Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub. NESP has a strong emphasis on collaborative and co-designed research, so this project will involve working in partnership with local governments to design and trial the wood heater smoke interventions. A key consideration will be to generate research outputs that are directly relevant to local governments and others involved in wood heater policy and practice.

Depending on applicant interests and strengths, the project could involve a health economic analysis of interventions, analysis of health symptoms in the monitored communities, and/or qualitative research regarding feasibility and perceptions.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Fay Johnston


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:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

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:

  • Experience in public health research, or related fields, such as study design, surveys, epidemiology and qualitative methods

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • A background in environmental health, air quality, health promotion or public health practice

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 Fay Johnston 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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