Health literacy for Older People

Health literacy development for Older People

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Health literacy is defined by the World Health Organization as:
"people's knowledge, confidence, and comfort – which accumulate through daily activities and social interactions and across generations – to access, understand, appraise, remember, and use information about health and health care, for the health and health care, for the health and wellbeing of themselves and those around them."
By this definition, older people have much accumulated wisdom and life experiences in dealing with health and health information – their health literacy assets. However, as people age, the likelihood of developing chronic conditions increases and at the same time, these chronic conditions and the ageing process can make it more challenging to access, understand, appraise, remember and use health information.

This research is focused on health literacy development which refers to the ways in which health workers, services, systems, organisations and policy makers (across government sectors and through cross-sectoral public policies) build the knowledge, confidence and comfort of individuals, families, groups and communities through enabling environments. This will involve co-designing ways to support older people to maintain and develop their health literacy assets. One part of this co-design will involve older people and the other will focus on the involvement of service providers to develop their health literacy responsiveness. This research project will adapt the Ophelia (Optimising Health Literacy and Access) process which enables meaningful engagement to understand and build on local knowledge and wisdom, as well as international evidence, to co-design, implement and evaluate health literacy actions that are accessible, sustainable, and useful for the people who need them.

Primary Supervisor

Meet A/Prof Shandell Elmer


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.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


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

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

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to applications from nursing discipline background only
  • 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.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact A/Prof Shandell Elmer 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 25 September 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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