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Applications open for NDARC Tobacco Research PhD scholarships

Image - Applications open for NDARC Tobacco Research PhD scholarships
Date Published:
25 Oct 2017

Stipend of $35,000 per annum over 3 years

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) Tobacco Research group is offering two PhD scholarships to carry out innovative research on one of two tobacco cessation related clinical trials.  NDARC provides a highly supportive study environment, with excellent facilities, regular training opportunities, and statistical support. The scholarships will be coupled with the opportunity for an additional day per week of paid employment. There will also be opportunities to apply for funding to attend academic conferences.

Research Area

Briefly the trials are CONSORT-adherent, randomised clinical trials aimed at:

(1) determining the cost-effectiveness of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) compared to oral forms of nicotine replacement therapy for tobacco smoking cessation in low socioeconomic status smokers. This research will examine e-cigarette use, safety and effects on users in a clinical trial, to inform policy by determining whether e-cigarettes are:

i) an effective smoking cessation aid for low-SES smokers who want to quit; and
ii) comparable in short-term safety to existing pharmacotherapies.

(2) determining the cost-effectiveness of cytisine compared to varenicline to inform Australian and international health agencies. Cytisine may offer an efficacious, affordable and cost-effective smoking cessation treatment. The research conducted has two primary aims, to determine: (i) abstinence rates in two groups of smokers receiving either varenicline and cytisine and (ii) the cost-effectiveness of cytisine compared with varenicline. If cytisine (as hypothesised) is at least as effective as varenicline, it will have substantial ramifications for future treatment approaches in Australia and internationally.


Since its inception in 1987, over 58 students have successfully completed a PhD at NDARC, at a success rate of over 90%.  Our research is of the highest quality: NDARC PhD candidates and staff publish in both general medical and health journals, such as The Lancet and the Medical Journal of Australia, and the most influential specialist drug and alcohol journals. Our research is often multi-disciplinary in nature, creating strong opportunities for research that overlaps with related disciplines, including mental health, criminal justice, and socio-economically disadvantaged and minority groups.  Our relevant and high-quality research program has meant that NDARC PhD graduates have many career opportunities in a range of organisations, including Australian and international universities, the WHO/UN and in the delivery of clinical services.

Applicants should have a strong honours degree in one of the behavioural sciences (psychology, public health or a related discipline), experience within the drug and alcohol, health, medicine or other related fields, and knowledge of EEO/AA principles and policies. Applicants must also satisfy the University of New South Wales requirements for enrolment in a PhD (http://med.unsw.edu.au/postgraduate-research).

Selection Criteria

  • Excellence – candidates must demonstrate their capability to carry out high quality research, using a combination of qualifications, experience and outputs.
  • Research plan – the proposed research plan must be of the highest quality and be closely aligned with the goals of the aforementioned clinical trials.
  • Career and Development – candidates must demonstrate a strong commitment to how they will use the resources provided to develop their careers and to engage with knowledge exchange activities.

Applicants must be an Australian citizen, or Australian Permanent Resident


To apply, applicants must submit the following to Alexandra at a.aiken@unsw.edu.au:

  • A completed application form, as well as any attachments outlined in the form (please request an application form from a.aiken@unsw.edu.au).
  • CV
  • Academic Transcript
  • A brief statement of your research interests

*Note – the student must nominate a supervisor on the application form and it is expected that applicants will have made contact with one of the supervisors prior to submission of an application. Please contact one of the academics below for more information.

Program start 

Semester 1, 2018

Closing date

18 November 2017


Dr Ryan Courtney r.courtney@unsw.edu.au


Dr Emily Stockings e.stockings@unsw.edu.au

Successful candidates are required to enrol in the PhD program through the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) in the Faculty of Medicine. 

Any enquiries in relation to the PhD program through the School of Public Health and Community Medicine should be addressed to the SPHCM Graduate Research Student Support Officer, phone: +61 (2) 9385 3588 or email: resdegree-sphcm@unsw.edu.au

The UNSW Postgraduate Research Students’ Website provides useful information on UNSW, entry requirements and information on how to apply, how to enrol and what constitutes a PhD.

Successful applicants will receive support via NDARC's PhD training and development program.