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Dr Ryan Courtney


image - Ryan Courtney

Dr Courtney is currently a Research Fellow and Lecturer in Health Behavior science at the University of New South Wales’s (UNSW), National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC). His prior appointment was an Australian Rotary Health PhD Scholar (2008-2012) at the Priority Research Centre Health Behaviour, University of Newcastle. Recently he was promoted (effective January, 2015) to Research Fellow and Lecturer at the UNSW and commenced a highly prestigious Cancer Institute New South Wales (CINSW) Early Career Research Fellowship (effective July, 2015).


Dr Courtney has authored or co-authored 17 scientific peer reviewed journal articles (10 as first author) in the medical, public health and health behaviour literature. His published work includes research on smoking cessation, in particular tobacco smoking in low socio-economic status (SES) and disadvantaged populations. His research has a strong focus on the relationships between social disparities, including socio-economic inequalities and health behaviours and outcomes. 


Dr Courtney has attracted over $6 million in competitive research funding, in which $4.8 million is from Category 1 funding agencies i.e. the most competitive health and medical research grants in Australia. Dr Courtney is currently Project Coordinator on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC/ $2 million) funded randomised controlled trial (RCT). This study aims to test the efficacy of financial education and support at improving prolonged abstinence rates among socio-economically disadvantaged smokers. He is Chief Investigator B (CIB) and was responsible for the conceptualisation and design of a world-first head-to-head trial between cytisine and varenicline for smoking cessation that recently received funding from the NHMRC (APP1108318/$1.9mill/4years). He is also CI on an NHMRC-funded project (APP1106451/$1.6mill/5years) examining the impacts of vaporized nicotine products on youth smoking. In addition, Dr Courtney is CI on other research projects including: NIHR/NHMRC (APP1095880/$913k/4years) collaborative grant funding to test the efficacy of electronic cigarettes for relapse prevention; and CINSW-funded (14/ECF/1-46/$559k/3years) RCT on the cost-effectiveness of technology-based interventions to increase treatment adherence and smoking cesssation; and Department of Health-funded (H1516G012/$771k/2years) RCT of a smoking, nutrition, alcohol and physical activity (SNAP) to prevent  smoking relapse for Indigenous Australian prisoners.


Dr Courtney received the Dean’s Rising Star Award in 2013, in recognition of his achievements as an early career researcher, from the Dean of Medicine at the UNSW. Dr Courtney was the inaugural recipient of the UNSW, NDARC Margaret Hamilton Award for Research Excellence (December, 2015). This award is open to all Level A (Associate Lecturer) and Level B (Lecturer) researchers and the Award is determined by research support scheme points (measured via research outputs including papers and grants). Recently he received the 2016 Global Forum on Nicotine Young Investigator Award in recognition of notable achievement in the field of nicotine science and/or policy.      

University role: 
Senior Lecturer
Teaching & Supervision